Chris Buescher wins FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

NASCAR: Buescher goes back-to-back in Michigan

Chris Buescher made it back-to-back NASCAR Cup series wins by out-dueling Martin Truex Jr. Monday in the rain delayed FireKeepers Casino 400.

Chris Buescher wins FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan
Chris Buescher wins FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

After winning on the Richmond Short Track a week ago, he backed it up with a win on the Michigan SuperSpeedway.

Buescher’s No. 17 RFK Racing Ford led a race-high 52 of the 200 laps in the FireKeepers Casino 400, which began Sunday and was pushed to a Monday finish because of inclement weather. Buescher’s second win of the season was his first at the 2-mile Michigan track and the fourth of his Cup Series career.

Truex led 47 laps and came home in second place, ending up just 0.152 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Denny Hamlin wound up third, with Brad Keselowski fourth and Kyle Larson completing the top five.

Three contenders were sidelined during the early going Sunday, with 74 laps completed before rain forced the postponement. Among them were Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and William Byron — all of whom retired with damage after contact with the outside retaining wall.

Byron finished 35th, Elliott 36th and Busch was last in the 37-car field after incidents in the opening stage. Busch completed 14 laps before his contact with the No. 12 Ford of Ryan Blaney sent his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet into the outside barrier. Twenty laps later, Elliott was out after a tire issue on his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Byron — his teammate — exited after a wall scrape on the last lap of Stage 1.

Xfinity Series regular Josh Berry finished 34th as a substitute for the suspended Noah Gragson after a crash early in Stage 2. Berry was making his ninth Cup Series start this season and his first in Legacy Motor Club’s No. 42 Chevy.

The victory was Ford’s ninth consecutive at Michigan.


Chris Buescher

Brad said earlier this week that’s the next step, multi-wins. Did you honestly expect it to come this weekend?

CHRIS BUESCHER: Yeah, yeah, that was our plan, right? That’s what we come to do every weekend.

Thank you for all at fans that hung out here on Monday with us. It’s awesome. Glad we got to get this whole thing in. I know it’s been a long weekend.

No, this Castrol Mustang was so good in practice, qualifying. Gave me a great car again. Had to work for that one too, hard racing at the end. Martin was very clean with me. I appreciate that.

Get to go to Victory Lane two weeks in a row. That’s pretty awesome.

I think these fans thought this was Martin Truex Jr.’s race. How did you make the car better and hold him off after two hard charges from the 19?

CHRIS BUESCHER: I think that’s the same thing I said yesterday (smiling). Came by us a few times, was flying.

Some really good changes. Got this Mustang in a good place to win here at Michigan for Ford, for Jack. Brad’s home track. It’s everybody’s home track on the team but me.

Cool victory here. I got to say, missing my wife. She hasn’t been at the last two wins now – three wins. We’re going to have to get her to a racetrack soon. I didn’t thank her last week. I know she puts up with a lot. I wish she was here. We’ll get to celebrate now.

Brad finishes fourth day, your boss. What kind of statement is that? Is RFK saying we’re the best Ford team in the garage now?

CHRIS BUESCHER: I mean, results will do it, right? We’ve got work to do yet. That’s massive progress right there for us to do at two vastly different racetracks. We got road races coming up. I’m excited for those, too. And Daytona. I look at the schedule we have ahead of us. This is a heck of a time to get turned on and get rolling.

Martin Truex Jr.

Martin, after a great battle with Chris Buescher, we saw the side draft, breaking up your air. What more did you need? Could you have done anything differently there in the closing laps?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: No, not really. I think we needed maybe a little bit longer run to wear the tires some more. I feel like we were a little better. It’s hard to pass the leader on equal tires.

We had an unbelievable car today. Hats off to everybody that puts in the work on these things. Toyota TRD, Bass Pro, Reser’s, everybody that supports us.

It was a rocket. The leader in clean air is really, really hard to pass. Just didn’t quite have enough. All in all, a good day.

What is the big takeaway as you get closer to the Playoffs?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: We’re excited. Every week we feel like we have a shot to win. That’s all I can ask for. Exciting coming to the track every weekend knowing what these guys are going to bring me.

Hopefully we can keep it up. It would have been nice to get a win today, but all in all it was a good day. Strategy kind of shook us up a little bit. We were luckily able to get our track position back all day just because of our speed.

Man, that one more stinks. Tough to get a win here. We’ve been really good in the past. Just can’t get it done. Hopefully, I don’t know, maybe next year.

Brad Keselowski

When you mentioned the multi-win per year thing on Saturday, I don’t think you thought it was coming this weekend, did you?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: You hope, right? Yeah, it seemed like most of the race the 19 and 11 car were just dominant. Right at the end we made some adjustments on both of our cars, found some speed. Chris was able to hold off Martin, running all of them down.

Really happy for all the folks at Castro, RFK. There’s a lot of work going on here. We’re digging deep, getting the results. I’m so thankful and proud for everyone at RFK.

Seems to be a bit of a statement win for RFK, to be able to do it on a short track eight days ago, now a two-mile racetrack. Is RFK saying that we’re the best Ford team in the garage area?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: We’re letting our results speak for themselves. Chris has done a heck of a job driving the car. When you get win, it feels really good.

We got to keep some humbleness and keep our head down. There’s some great competition out here.

Second most points earned for you. It was a big one.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I scored a lot of points. Obviously we want to win. The speed we showed at the end was enough to win the race, but at the beginning and early part of the race we were only really good enough to run 10th. We went for our points mode. The speed showed up. Dang, maybe we shouldn’t have gone for points. That’s part of how it always plays out.

All in all a really strong day for both teams at RFK. Really proud.

Race Results




17 3 52
19 6 47
11 1 1
6 1 15
5 1 2
99 1 12
1 1 16
12 1 1
54 1 1
20 2 2
23 2 21
3 1 2
77 1 2
45 1 7
78 1 1
48 3 19




1 14 #8 Spin Turn 2 / Competition
2 34 #9 Incident Turn 2
3 45 Stage 1 Conclusion
4 50 #42 Spin Turn 4
5 64 15 #20 Spin Turn 2
6 73 15 Precipitation [Red Flag: Lap 76, 19:05:18]
7 74
8 102 15 Debris Turn 2
9 120 3 Stage 2 Conclusion
10 126 #34, 38, 48 Incident Backstretch
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