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NASCAR Cup Darlington II

Buescher: "It hurts a little bit to be that close to a win"

Chris Buescher’s hot streak continued into the opening round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs, but it was another win the RFK Racing driver was really looking for.

Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang

Buescher, who entered Sunday night’s playoff opener at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway with three wins in the five previous races, found himself well positioned for another victory in the final stage.

Over the final 31-lap green flag run which ended the race, Buescher remained in frustratingly close striking distance of leader Kyle Larson and runner-up Tyler Reddick before he settled for a third-place finish.

Buescher has now finished seventh or better in five of his last six races and is fourth in the playoff standings entering this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway.

“It just goes to show that what we’ve been doing at RFK the last several months is doing a good job, working hard and getting the results,” Buescher said after the race. “It hurts a little bit to be that close to a win.

“We had a little bit more speed a couple times there and then (William) Byron was really fast, and we had to start defending that and that actually checked us up a little bit in the process, but it was a really strong day for us.

“I’m really proud of that and a heck of a start.”

Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Fastenal Ford Mustang

Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Fastenal Ford Mustang

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Buescher said he watched as Larson and Reddick repeatedly made contact with the wall in the final laps as both were rim-riding through the turns.

He hoped one or the other – or both – would slow from damage and open the door for him to make a pass for the lead.

“We made a lot of really good time up (against the wall), but I felt like we were in a good spot,” he said. “Even though we made speed up there, you really needed to go somewhere else to be able to pass and at the end there just wasn’t any other options.

“To be this close and watch it right there in front of us and to watch (Reddick) go up there and slap the fence over and over I’m like, ‘Man, surely we can get by.’ And (Larson) didn’t make any mistakes.

“It ended up being a hard day to pass, for sure.”

Buescher said he and his No. 17 RFK Racing Ford team just need to maintain the “status quo” and they will advance through the playoffs.

“The things we’re doing are getting us opportunities to win races,” he said, “and we’re capitalizing on the best days and capitalizing on great days like (Darlington).”

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