DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 6, 2020) — After overcoming two incidents that damaged the right side of the No. 17 Fastenal Ford, Chris Buescher finished 26th at Darlington Raceway on Sunday evening.
Buescher rolled off the grid 20th, and was running 19th when the competition caution came out on lap 25. The team pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. At lap 71, the team pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Back on track 25th, the driver wasted no time getting caught back up and was back in 17th just a few laps later. He took the green-white checkered flag for stage one in 16th.
The team visited pit road at the stage break for fuel, fresh tires and another air pressure adjustment. After a quick stop, Buescher got back on track to restart 14th. When the green flag waved, Buescher gave it all he had but was shuffled back to 21st. At lap 133, the No. 17 machine tapped the wall, resulting in some damage and tire rub on the right rear side. Before the right rear tire would expire, Buescher brought his Ford down pit road at lap 167. The team was able to fix the damage on pit road and give the driver four fresh tires, an adjustment and fuel. Timing worked to the 17 team’s advantage as the caution flag waved at lap 179, allowing time to make further changes. The team pitted for a few minor adjustments, fuel and tires to get back on track in 17th. With about 20 to go in the stage, Buescher ran into the wall and sustained damage to the right side. He was able to maintain track position with the damage for a while until the right rear tire went down at lap 224. Buescher made an emergency pit stop for right side tires and finished the stage in 30th and two laps down.
After a long pit stop to fix damage to the right side of the No. 17 Ford, the team restarted 30th and two laps down. The Prosper, Texas native did what he could to gain track position and was up to 29th when a caution flag waved at lap 245. The team did not pit and took the wave around, restarting 27th and only one lap down. The laps continued to wind down and soon it became time for another round of green flag pit stops. Buescher pitted at lap 287 for fuel, tires and a small adjustment to help the car’s handling. The driver got back on track in 26th and two laps down. At lap 320, a caution flag waved for debris on track but the team elected to stay out, saving fuel and taking the wave around to restart 25th and one lap down. Strategy came into play as the team hoped for a quick caution in order to gain another lap back and not run out of fuel. Unfortunately, luck was not on the No. 17 team’s side as the race remained green which forced them to pit for tires and fuel at lap 254. Without enough laps to rectify the situation, the team was able to only maintain position and finish the race 26th and four laps down.