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Buescher: "That sucks to be that close" after Kansas photo finish

For a few brief moments, Ford Performance’s disappointing winless streak to the start the 2024 NASCAR season appeared to be over thanks to Cup driver Chris Buescher – even the scoring monitor said so.

Although the monitor listed Buescher the winner by 0.001 seconds at the checkered flag following a side-by-side battle with Kyle Larson on the final lap of Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR officials immediately said the finish would be reviewed on video.

NASCAR has the ability to review any finish – for a race off pit road, the end of a stage or end of a race – by video when the outcome may be in question.

And unfortunately for Buescher and Ford, the video showed Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet at the finish line measured by the camera inches ahead of Buescher’s No. 17 Ford.

One celebration that had already started by Buescher’s RFK Racing team quickly turned to stunned silence while another began with the No. 5 team.

“I don’t know what to say right now. I haven’t seen a replay, other than just a picture. I just can't see it in that picture,” an exasperated Buescher said after the race. “That sucks to be that close.

“It was a great finish for us, a really strong day. A lot of speed in this Mustang, and we really needed that. Needed a win more, and I thought might have had that one.”

Ford remains winless

After winning championships in all three last year, Ford teams remain winless in all three NASCAR national series this season – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.

Buescher was a contender for much of the race but his opportunity for a victory developed when a late-race caution disrupted Denny Hamlin’s run to a second consecutive win.

All the lead lap cars elected to pit with most taking just two new tires and fuel. Hamlin was first off pit road, but Buescher quickly rocketed to the lead on the restart to the two-lap overtime ahead of Larson.

Larson quickly caught back up with him with Buescher pulling back ahead briefly exiting Turn 2 on the final lap. After the two briefly made contact, Larson ended up on the inside and the two raced side by side to the checkered flag.

“We were really good really all day, and I’m really proud of that,” Buescher said. “Had some good strategy to get us back up there and tried to cover what I could and gave him half a lane too much, I suppose.

“But it was a good hard race right there down to the line. But yeah, just it hurts.”

Buescher’s runner-up finish is his best this season and first top five of his career on any intermediate (1.5-mile) track. He is now 11th in the series standings and remains in the hunt for a playoff spot.

“The speed is good. Wins are better. Need to be in that situation again. Need some trophies,” he said. “Need some checkered flags and put ourselves in a much better spot.”

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