RELATED: Updated standings Chris Buescher gambled at Bristol and almost came up big. The key word in the previous sentence: 'Almost.' The 22-year-old Roush Fenway Racing driver took the lead at the .533-mile track after electing not to pit on Lap 192 of 300. Buescher paced the field for the next 106 laps, but a fuel pick-up issue on the penultimate go-around of the race ended any hopes of triumph. Buescher was relegated to 11th, while Ty Dillon finished third, cutting Buescher's NASCAR XFINITY Series points lead to 19. If Buescher didn't go for the win, he wouldn't have lost as many points to Dillon. "We had the speed, but it wasn't meant to be," Buescher said. "I'm glad we took the chance. I wouldn't change it if we could do it over again, but unfortunately it knocked us right out of a top-10 and out of a win." RELATED: Buescher : 'I'm glad we took the chance' Buescher and Dillon will continue to battle for the points lead in Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (3 p.m. on NBCSN) -- the third and final XFINITY Series road course race of the season. The two drivers are the only competitors who finished in the top five of the previous two road course races. A natural on road courses, Buescher won at Mid-Ohio last year in addition to his two top fives while turning left and right this year. He placed 18th in his lone start at Road America last season. " Road America is a very difficult and unique road course," Buescher said. "I love road racing and look forward to the challenge." Dillon finished 19th in his first-ever series start at Road America last year. He enters Saturday's race riding a streak of four top-five finishes. "Our team is looking at the big picture and sometimes we have to take a step back and realize that this is a long season; to take it little by little," Dillon said. "This past weekend in Bristol was a perfect example -- we struggled the first part of practice but (Crew Chief) Nick (Harrison), (Race Engineer) Danny (Efland) and the team just took a step back and reevaluated. We have a championship to win here and it won't be easy. "We have 11 races to go and we're not going to let up."
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Chris Buescher ’s Roush Fenway Racing team gambled twice during Friday night’s Food City 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Staying out under caution put the series points leader in front of the field, where he stayed for 106 laps around the high-banked, 0.533-mile track. But the decision to remain on the track also meant Buescher would need to manage his fuel mileage. And when the caution flag appeared for the eighth time, sending the race two laps beyond its scheduled distance, Buescher ’s good fortune ended. On a race-ending green, white, checkered restart, Buescher ’s No. 60 Ford sputtered on the backstretch shortly after the green flag appeared, handing the lead and the victory to Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch while leaving Buescher with an 11th-place result. “Honestly, we were really good on fuel mileage,” Buescher said afterward. “We felt like we were good to the end, especially if that caution didn’t come out. (It’s) just a matter of getting fuel into the pickup. Once I shook it around enough we got fuel back in it and ran to the end, but as much banking as we have here at Bristol it’s hard to keep fuel in the pickup. “It’s my fault. I needed to do better.” Ty Dillon ’s fourth-place finish, combined with Buescher ’s 11th place ending, allowed Dillon to close to within 19 points in the battle for the series championship. Defending series champion Chase Elliott (seventh) is third, 23 points behind the points leader. While disappointed, Buescher said he would make the same decision under similar circumstances if the opportunity presented itself. “I wouldn’t change the call if we could do it all over again,” he said. “I’m all for taking chances and winning these races. If it would have worked out, we’d have won this thing and we’d be talking about how good of a call it was for our points situation.” Buescher was able to pull away from the field on three of the four restarts that took place after his move to the front. And he appeared on his way to doing so a fourth time before his car began to slow. “We were faster than a lot of guys we were racing around all day and once we got track position we showed we could run away from these guys,” he said. “We had the speed, but it wasn’t meant to be. “I’m glad we took the chance. I wouldn’t change it if we could do it over again, but unfortunately it knocked us right out of a top-10 and out of a win.” Buescher is a two-time winner this season, with victories at Iowa Speedway and Dover International Raceway.
Points leader Chris Buescher runs out of gas in the final laps, allowing Kyle Busch to grab the checkers in the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Chris Buescher talks about how he believes not pitting on Lap 195 was the right call for him and his team, even after running out of fuel in the final laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Team owner Jack Roush sparked rumors that XFINITY Series points leader Chris Buescher could soon be competing for a Sprint Cup Series title in a Wednesday night interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, noting that the 22-year-old is "ready" for Cup racing and there's consideration for putting him in a car "sooner, rather than later." This was all news to Buescher . "(We've talked about) absolutely nothing. That has caught me so off-guard," Buescher said Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, site of Saturday's Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). "My dad called me and asked me about it and I said 'I don't know what you're talking about right now.' And then the radio interview … came up, and it's nice to hear. It's awesome being recognized or being considered to move up." It's easy to see why Buescher would garner consideration from the longtime Roush Fenway Racing owner, given that his career has taken off at a tremendous rate since picking up his first career national series victory in this very race a year ago. A 2014 season that started with him failing to qualify for the season opener at Daytona hit its stride midway at Mid-Ohio with a win, sparking a streak of dominance that has seen him lead the series' regulars with an average finish of 8.4 in 2015. RELATED: Buescher seeks separation in standings at Mid-Ohio While it's hard to resist the temptation to think about where he could be racing next year, Buescher is keeping his expectations tempered. "Sooner rather than later is a very broad statement," said Buescher , the only XFINITY regular with multiple wins this year. "I don't know when that would be, by any means. My progression has typically been a little slower than a lot of the guys that I've grown up racing around, when you look at a lot of the guys that are in this series, they typically don't spend as much time in each series as I have. I'm OK with that, though. I like the fact that I've been able to get a lot of seat time in each division that I've run and been able to move up when I feel like I'm ready." Set in motion from Kyle Busch 's injury to start the season, Buescher has six Sprint Cup starts under his belt this year, which have mostly come when he hopped in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports ride previously inhabited by David Ragan , who filled in for Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18. His average finish in six races is 26.7, but he's managed to finish better than where he started in every race except last weekend at Watkins Glen. Buescher also mentioned there are no current plans for him to get any more Cup seat time this year, but didn't rule out spot starts as necessary. Either way, he knows the extra laps behind the wheel amidst the stronger competition are just as important as finishing position right now, and he's willing to put in the time to learning the ropes. "I've had a lot of fun doing the Cup races with Front Row Motorsports . I think it has been a very big learning experience. I've learned a lot going through it. I realized it's not a 'drop in, good to go, go win a race,' it's going to be a learning curve for me," Buescher said. "I'm ready for the challenge, but it will be a challenge and lot of learning that will go along with it, whenever it may be ... I think I'll be ready for it. We'll find out sooner than later." For now, Buescher is focused on pursuing a championship in the XFINITY Series. In that regard, the series points leader says that the on-track incidents with teammate and championship hopeful Darrell Wallace Jr . are a thing of the past. "We've got everything rolling along pretty smooth right now," he said. "We've taken care of all of our issues. We feel like, or we know that the best way to make all of our teams competitive is to work together and we've had meetings to to basically very firmly say that and get that out there. It's all good and we've all been over-working on sim before this race; watching video, trying to review; going around on some pace car rides this morning with all of our teammates. We feel good about where we're at right now. "Obviously it wasn't so much fun earlier, but it's on the right path. We feel like we're focused on going out there are getting more wins for our organization. This year's been really good for us on the XFINITY side. We're the only organization that has any XFINITY regulars with any wins, which is pretty special to me, I would say."
He has the best average finishing position overall, and the points lead. Now he hopes to build a little separation between himself and the rest of the field. Heading back to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he scored his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series win last year, Chris Buescher likes his chances. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has been atop the series points standings since earning career win No. 2, at Iowa, in a span of near one dozen races. Next up is Saturday's Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). It's the second of three road-course stops in the span of a month for the series. Given his success at Mid-Ohio, and a third-place run this past weekend at Watkins Glen, it's little wonder Buescher , 22, is looking forward to the next few weeks. "I really hope that road courses will be a strong point for us," Buescher said. "I feel really comfortable going back to Mid-Ohio obviously. Road America (where he finished 18th a year ago) was the one where I needed a little bit more work. "I think we should be able to run top 10 very easily there. I like road racing ... I seem to hang in there and we seem to be able to put fast Roush Fenway race cars on the track." Road America, coming up at month's end, falls later on this year's schedule than in recent seasons when the race there was held in June. Buescher doesn't lead the series as far as average finish on road courses is concerned. In the past two seasons, he ranks fourth (12.8) along with Ty Dillon . Chase Elliott (5.3), Elliott Sadler (7.8) and Brian Scott (8.8) have been a bit more consistent. But Buescher , crew chief Scott Graves and his No. 60 crew have been getting better. Not that there haven't been hiccups, but the team has yet to finish outside the top 20 this season. They've been good, but not great, as the Watkins Glen finish attests. "I like where we’re at right now," Buescher said. "We have speed in our road course cars. The (Team) Penske cars showed up better than us (at Watkins Glen) though. They were very fast, class of the field. That being said, they always run fast at that particular track. "Mid-Ohio, I don't feel like there was a car there that really had something better than us last time around. If we can repeat that, maybe we can improve on it a little bit. I’m pretty comfortable where we're at." Elliott, the defending series champion, trails Buescher by 24 points (724-700). Dillon (also 24 back), Regan Smith (minus-57) and Sadler (minus-58) round out the top five.
Chris Buescher will be extra busy this weekend. The No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing driver gets to pull double-duty, running in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Watkins Glen International before making his sixth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start for Front Row Motorsports in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). RELATED: Buescher to drive No. 34 Ford at Watkins Glen "I really enjoy road racing and I am excited to get back to Watkins Glen," Buescher said. "It is a very fast course and we had a really good car last year. I think we have some great notes to build on from last season. It will be a good weekend for us to get a top five and gain some more points." Buescher ’s XFINITY Series standings lead over Chase Elliott has dwindled from 36 points to 20 over the last three races. He has failed to record a top-10 finish in the last five events. Luckily for the 22-year-old Texan, three of the next four series races take place at road courses -- Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Road America. It’s rare for young drivers to succeed at road courses, but last year, Buescher won at Mid-Ohio and ran in the top 10 at Watkins Glen before a mechanical issue and contact with a competitor relegated him to a 29th-place finish. In five road course starts in the ARCA Racing Series, Buescher earned one win (Road America, 2013) and three top-five finishes. "I’m not a road course specialist by any means, but I really enjoy it," Buescher said. "And each time we go out, we learn a lot, have a lot of fun and seem to do pretty decent at the same time." Buescher hasn’t piloted a Sprint Cup car since May 3, but believes he’s ready for Sunday. "I’m really excited to go racing again in the Cup car," he said. "I had some success on road courses last year, and I think Watkins Glen was a good track for us. I didn’t get to do Sonoma earlier this year, but I feel like we can get back into it at Watkins Glen and have a good day."
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- No big deal, says Bubba Wallace. Not an issue, according to teammate Chris Buescher . Move along folks, nothing to see here. There may or may not be some lingering ill feelings but no one’s talking payback. Last week’s late-race contact between the two Roush Fenway Racing drivers has been talked out and put away, both said Friday at Watkins Glen International, site of Saturday’s Zippo 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). Buescher , the series points leader for the past 10 weeks, finished outside the top 10 for the fifth straight race after contact between he and Wallace sent the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway into overtime last Saturday night. Wallace, sixth in the points standings, finished 11th. "We’ve been able to show up competitively to a lot of these race tracks and our teammates have done the same thing," the 22-year-old Buescher said Friday morning at WGI. "We’ve been racing around each other a lot and it’s tough, but we’ve got it handled and we’re looking forward to getting into this stretch (of races). "We have it to the point where we’re going to be able to race around each other and not have to worry about anything." Wallace, 21, agreed. Any ill feelings or issues from last week’s finish, he said, have been dealt with and "the focus is on this weekend’s race." Saturday night’s incident was the second of the season for the RFR teammates. At Dover earlier this year, a similar late-race get-together left Wallace with a flat tire and Buescher celebrating in Victory Lane. A five-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Wallace is still chasing his first XFINITY Series victory. Buescher has three career wins in XFINITY Series competition. "I love seeing that (conflict). I don’t know where it stands this week," JR Motorsports driver Regan Smith said Friday when asked about on-track issues among teammates. "It’s always difficult to race a teammate. We did it last year with myself and Chase (Elliott) running 1-2 for the majority of the season. You want to beat them for pride within your own shop but then you also know the picture, to gain points. … It doesn’t make it any easier. We’re all competitors and … selfish individuals." But, he added, "If it takes one ounce of focus away from what they’re doing, then it’s helping us out and I’m fine with that." Smith is fourth in points. Elliott, the defending series champion, is second.
Chris Buescher talks about the disagreements between Roush Fenway drivers last week at Iowa Speedway and how he believes everything will be fine moving forward in the 2015 season.
Jack Roush joins SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and explains his hopes for Chris Buescher in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series