But after the last few weeks Buescher has had, second ought to feel like a win.
The last time Buescher was in a racecar, he was upside down on the frontstretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway after a freak accident in the Coca-Cola 600 (coincidentally, Suarez was the one who sparked that crash).
And if that wasn’t good enough to rattle him, Buescher tested positive for COVID-19 in the week following the race, sidelining him from competing at the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Zane Smith made his first Cup start to fill in.)
After being cleared to race at Sonoma, Buescher rebounded well. He qualified his No. 17 Ford Mustang in third place and did not fall out of the top five much throughout the course of the event. The 29-year-old led four laps en route to a second-place finish, but for a moment, it looked like he might win.
Following a restart with 23 laps to go, Buescher would not leave the rear bumper of Suarez. He stayed within a half-second of the No. 99 Chevrolet for a majority of the run before finally falling off in the last couple of laps, finishing five seconds behind the first-time Cup winner.
Despite picking up his best finish of the season, Buescher still wanted more. Missing a race leaves him 22nd in points, 105 behind the playoff cutline even with this runner-up result. It’s clear Buescher and the No. 17 have to win in order to make the postseason.
“I’m just disappointed in myself — didn’t get the job done there,” Buescher said after the race. “I apologize to these guys, because they put an awesome Fifth Third Bank Mustang under me. Heck of a return.”
“… Everybody back at RFK [Racing] is doing a great job. It hurts to be that close.”
Speaking of RFK Racing, the team had a great day as a whole, something the team has desperately needed this season. The team’s other driver (and part-owner), Brad Keselowski, managed to finish 10th — his first top-10 result since the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February.
RFK Racing looks to ride the momentum into the off week before attempting to capitalize when the Cup Series returns to Nashville Superspeedway on June 26.
About the author
Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. He is an editor and co-authors Only Yesterday (Wednesdays) and Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer and dabbles in SRX coverage too. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is currently pursuing a master's degree. He is a theatre actor and fight choreographer-in-training in his free time. He's a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.
You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.
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