Race Weekend Central

Chris Buescher Confronts Tyler Reddick After Late-Race Contact at Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. — With a three-wide move to take the lead from Tyler Reddick and Brad Keselowski with 30 laps to go, Chris Buescher looked to be on his way to victory in Sunday’s (May 12) Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.

But Reddick had the dominant car of the day, winning the pole and leading 174 of the first 263 laps. He quickly made up that ground, and with 10 laps to go, he was right in the No. 17 car’s tire track.

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In turns 3 and 4, Reddick dived to the inside in an attempt to draw even with Buescher, but the move didn’t work, and both of them ended up in the outside wall. Reddick had a flat, Buescher had a flat and Keselowski sailed on by to break a 110-race winless drought and score his first win as an owner of RFK Racing.

Buescher and Reddick went on to finish two laps off the pace in 30th and 32nd, respectively. Buescher was furious, and he stormed down pit road to give Reddick a piece of his mind after the race.

“I’m sorry. I f–ked up, I f–ked up,” Reddick said.

“It doesn’t work for me,” Buescher said. “… I don’t have that [winner’s] sticker on my door. This means more. I need you to be better. We’ve raced each other just fine for so long.”

“I know,” Reddick said. “I’m sorry.”

Reddick took full responsibility for the incident post-race.

“Too aggressive,” Reddick said. “[Buescher’s] still outside, and I tried to check up, but it was too little, too late and I slid right into him. Popped my tire, popped his tire. It sucks.”

“I completely understand [his frustration]. If I just would have took myself out of it and I had a flat, that’s a different story. …

“Just hate that it took him out of the race too, he should have won the race. If I take myself out going for it, I can live with that. But he didn’t deserve to get caught up in it too.”

With a frustrating result and a near-miss, Buescher just didn’t understand the thought process behind Reddick making the move that he did.

“Clean racing until it wasn’t,” Buescher said. “[Reddick and Keselowski] got side-by-side and got checked up, and we got by completely clean, and I was trying to take care of stuff but run hard.

“[Reddick] just went for a move that was never going to happen there. I just don’t get it. He wiped us both out. We wheel hopped into the fence, it’s not just door-to-door contact and a little push and shove, it just ruined both of our days. Really frustrated by that, really pissed off about it. We’ve been able to race clean for how long?

“… For another week to miss out on it, it’s starting to hurt.”

Buescher lost by .001 seconds the prior week at Kansas Speedway, and Kyle Larson door-slammed while both were racing to the line. With zero wins, late-race contact two weeks in a row and just a 15-point cushion above the playoff cut line, will Buescher change the way he races going forward?

“It about has to, we keep getting run into without hitting somebody else first,” Buescher said. “I guess if that’s the way we got to go about it, then that’s it. I mean, last week [Larson] had a run on us, and I was going to try and cover it and tried to slide up and take it, and I realized it wasn’t going to work and left the lane. No one hit anything until the frontstretch and then we still got slammed in the door there.

“At least we both made it to the line [at Kansas]. This one here, just to ruin both of our days on something like that, I’m struggling to understand the reason.”

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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Drew

I hope that Chris Buescher will get fined after this incident with Tyler Reddick for this.

Mike

Im sure chris would get fined if he had taken a swing at tyler. But im sure things will work themselves out. Just two drivers doing all they can to win and one went to far. Uncharacteristically of Tyler. Imo normally a a good fair driver.

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