Buescher ends 222-race winless streak with shock Bristol win

Chris Buescher provided a third consecutive playoff surprise, holding off Chase Elliott to win Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Listen to this article

On a final round of pit stops on Lap 438 of 500, Buescher was the first off pit road thanks to a two-tire pit call but he also got a little help.

Two of the top contenders for the win – Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin – both had problems during their respective stops that shuffled them back in the field.

On the restart with 57 laps to go, Buescher got a big jump on Elliott and quickly cleared him for the lead. He then deftly navigated lapped traffic before clearing Elliott by 0.458 seconds for the win.

The victory ends a 222-race winless streak for Buescher, whose last victory – and first of his career – came in a rain-shortened race at Pocono Raceway in 2016.

Buescher, 29, becomes the 19th different race winner of the 2022 season, tying a NASCAR record. He also is the third straight non-playoff driver to win in the first three races of the 10-race playoffs, also a first.

“It’s so special here. I love this race track,” Buescher said. “I love the fans. I love every time we come here. It’s so special. It’s pretty awesome.”

Asked if he was worried about the two-tire call on his final stop, Buescher said, “I wasn’t a bit. It was up to me at that point. I made it work and we had a really fast (car). We knew we had a really fast race car in practice and didn’t quite get the job done in qualifying – but what a race car.

“We got (Roush Fenway Keselowski) Racing for the first time. I don’t know what all to say right now. I’m out of breath. This place will wear you flat-out and I love that about it.

“It’s just a special night.”

Four drivers – Kyle Busch, Harvick and both Richard Childress Racing drivers, Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick – were eliminated from further contention for the series championship.

Advancing to the Round of 12 which begins next weekend at Texas are Christopher Bell, William Byron, Hamlin, Elliott, Larson, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric.

Byron ended up finishing third in the race, Bell was fourth and Larson rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Chastain, A.J. Allmendinger, Cole Custer, Hamlin and Harvick.

Read Also:

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, several lead-lap cars pit but Bell remained on the track and in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 260. He was followed by Elliott, Byron, Larson and Harvick.

On Lap 270, smoke began pouring out of the No. 18 Toyota of Busch. He hit the wall and then drove his car directly to the garage, brining an early end to his night.

The race returned to green on Lap 277 with Bell still in command.

Entering Turn 3 on the restart, Suarez got loose and hit Ricky Stenhouse Jr. which triggered a multi-car wreck that also collected Austin Dillon, Reddick and Bowman.

The race returned to green on Lap 287 with Bell once again out front followed by Larson and Byron.

With 200 laps to go, Bell held almost a 1-second lead over Larson as Brad Keselowski moved into third.

Erik Jones had a flat and tagged the wall on Lap 352 to bring out the 10th caution of the race.

All the lead-lap cars pit with Larson first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 361, Larson was followed by Bell, Keselowski, Harvick and Logano.

On Lap 168, Keselowski finally ran down Larson and returned to the lead.

With 102 laps remaining, Logano was forced to pit under green for a flat right-front tire. He returned to the track in 23rd and three laps down.

On Lap 414, Bell inherited the lead when Keselowski was forced to pit under green with a flat tire.

While leading, sparks began pouring out of the back of Bell’s car on Lap 436 and he tagged the wall with a flat right-rear tire, which brought out the 11th caution of the race.

The lead-lap cars pit with Buescher first off pit road. Harvick had a left-front wheel come off during his stop and Hamlin overshot his stall and had to back up on pit road before completing his stop.

On the restart on Lap 444, Buescher was followed by Elliott, Byron and Larson. Harvick lined up 10th and Hamlin 11th.

With 30 laps to go, Buescher maintained about a half-second lead over Elliott as Byron ran third.

With 10 to go, Buescher remained on track to become the 19th different winner of the 2022 season.

Stage 2

Bell cleared for the lead on a restart with 10 laps to go and held off Chastain to take the Stage 2 win.

Briscoe was third, Elliott fourth and Busch rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most of the lead-lap cars pit with Briscoe first off pit road.

Buescher was among those who stayed out and inherited the lead. He led the way on the restart on Lap 134 followed by Harvick, Hamlin and Bubba Wallace.

Harrison Burton spun down the frontstretch on Lap 139 to bring out the fourth caution of the race. Buescher remained on the track and in the lead on the restart on Lap 146.

On Lap 176, Wallace was forced to pit under green with a power steering issue.

Ty Gibbs, Wallace’s teammate at 23XI Racing, was forced to pit under green on Lap 186 also with a power steering problem.

Burton had another tire go down and hit the wall on Lap 196 in an incident that also collected Erik Jones.

Several lead-lap cars elected to pit with xx first off pit road. Buescher remained on the track and in the lead. Under the caution, Martin Truex Jr. was forced to take his No. 19 Toyota to the garage, also with a power steering issue.

On the restart on Lap 206, Buescher continued to lead followed by Harvick, Hamlin and Chastain.

With 30 laps remaining in the stage, Buescher held about a half-second lead over Harvick as Hamlin ran third.

Hamlin had a right-front tire go down on Lap 234 and hit the wall to bring out the sixth caution of the race.

Most-lead lap cars pit but Bell remained on the track and inherited the lead. On the restart on Lap 241, Bell was followed by Chastain, Briscoe, Busch and Elliott.

Stage 1

Keselowski edged Bell by 0.335 seconds to take the Stage 1 win, his first stage victory of the 2022 season.

Busch was third, Briscoe fourth and Larson rounded out the top-five.

Aric Almirola started on the pole and quickly moved out to the lead as Hamlin took over second.

On Lap 36, Blaney got around Almirola to move into the lead as Hamlin ran second and Almirola dropped to third.

NASCAR displayed a caution on Lap 43 for debris on the backstretch after both Burton and J.J. Yeley scrubbed the wall.

Most of the lead-lap pit with Hamlin first off pit road. Keselowski was among those who stayed out and led the way on the restart on Lap 50. Hamlin lined up seventh.

With 50 laps remaining in the stage, Keselowski maintained about a 1-second lead over Buescher as Wallace ran third.

On Lap 85, Cindric was forced to pit under green with a flat right-front tire that sent him into the wall. He returned to the track in 36th and three laps down.

On Lap 92, Blaney hit the wall and Almirola spun to bring out a caution. While Blaney was on pit road, the left-rear wheel came off his No. 12 Ford and went rolling down pit road – which will likely be a costly penalty.

 

Several cars elected to pit but Keselowski remained on the track and in the lead when the race resumed on Lap 100. He was followed by Reddick, Bell and Briscoe.

Blaney was forced to pit under green on Lap 112 to address continued issues with the rear-end of his car.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 500 3:01'06.717     169
2 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 500 3:01'07.175 0.458 0.458  
3 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 500 3:01'08.384 1.667 1.209  
4 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 500 3:01'08.526 1.809 0.142 143
5 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 500 3:01'10.405 3.688 1.879 34
6 1 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 500 3:01'10.823 4.106 0.418  
7 16 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 500 3:01'12.711 5.994 1.888  
8 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 500 3:01'14.365 7.648 1.654  
9 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 500 3:01'14.601 7.884 0.236  
10 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 500 3:01'15.138 8.421 0.537  
11 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 500 3:01'16.121 9.404 0.983  
12 31 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 500 3:01'16.572 9.855 0.451  
13 6 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 499 3:01'20.199 1 Lap 1 Lap 109
14 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 498 3:01'09.032 2 Laps 1 Lap  
15 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 497 3:01'07.454 3 Laps 1 Lap  
16 21 United States Harrison Burton Ford 497 3:01'08.098 3 Laps 0.644  
17 51 United States Cody Ware Ford 497 3:01'09.317 3 Laps 1.219  
18 38 United States Todd Gilliland Ford 496 3:01'16.793 4 Laps 1 Lap  
19 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 494 3:01'07.738 6 Laps 2 Laps  
20 2 United States Austin Cindric Ford 493 3:01'22.855 7 Laps 1 Lap  
21 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 492 3:01'09.791 8 Laps 1 Lap  
22 77 United States Landon Cassill Chevrolet 492 3:01'14.210 8 Laps 4.419  
23 15 United States J.J. Yeley Ford 491 3:01'18.859 9 Laps 1 Lap  
24 78 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 491 3:01'21.966 9 Laps 3.107  
25 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 469 3:01'13.611 31 Laps 22 Laps  
26 42 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 457 2:53'24.432 43 Laps 12 Laps  
27 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 437 2:52'03.251 63 Laps 20 Laps  
28 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 418 2:36'38.962 82 Laps 19 Laps 36
29 45 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 408 3:01'17.482 92 Laps 10 Laps  
30 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 338 3:01'07.330 162 Laps 70 Laps 9
31 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 279 1:59'17.730 221 Laps 59 Laps  
32 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 277 1:48'35.909 223 Laps 2 Laps  
33 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 276 1:48'03.098 224 Laps 1 Lap  
34 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 269 1:42'34.767 231 Laps 7 Laps  
35 23 Ty Gibbs Toyota 265 2:30'16.097 235 Laps 4 Laps  
36 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 198 1:10'36.433 302 Laps 67 Laps  

shares
comments

Related video

NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 playoff grid
Previous article

NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 playoff grid

Next article

Kyle Busch "flabbergasted" as playoffs end with engine failure

Kyle Busch "flabbergasted" as playoffs end with engine failure
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021