With virtually every driver in fuel conservation mood, Chris Buescher had just enough gas in his tank to not only win — but also by nearly 12 seconds — in Saturday’s Buckle Up 200 Presented By Click It Or Ticket at Dover International Speedway.
Buescher won by running an unheard of 98 laps on the final tank of fuel to earn his second Xfinity Series race of the season (also won at Iowa three weeks ago) and third of his career. Matt Kenseth finished second.
Buescher had actually held more than a 16-second lead with two laps to go, but backed off to save the last few remaining drops of fuel he had in his tank, assuring that he’d make it to the finish line.
“I can’t believe how slow we were having to run to do it,” Buescher told Fox TV. “It was just such a slow pace there at the end. We’re clutching it before the start-finish line and just letting it role. They’re just telling me to stay off the gas, stay off the gas, but we made it to the end and had enough for a burnout.”
Regan Smith was third and earned the first of four $100,000 Xfinity Dash For Cash prizes. Austin Dillon finished fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Brendan Gaughan, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones and Jeremy Clements.
How Buescher won: Buescher did a magnificent job of saving fuel, going the final 98 laps on one tank of fuel. He did his job in textbook fashion, by saving fuel along the way and then moving to the point for the first time with 10 laps to go, passing teammate Bubba Wallace Jr., while his fellow competitors had to slow down and save fuel themselves. It was Buescher’s second win in three races and allowed him to open up a 15-point edge in the points standings, the largest the spread has been this season.
Who else had a good day: Even though he finished third, Regan Smith had a very rewarding day – to the tune of $100,000 – by having the highest finish in the first of four Xfinity Dash 4 Cash events this season. “That certainly takes the sting away from that third. I don’t know how the 60 car (Buescher) made it all the way (to the finish). I don’t know how they did that. … We’ll take some of Xfinity’s money as a consolation prize, that’s okay, we’re always happy about that. We’re going to keep fighting hard. I want to win so freakin’ bad right now, it’s about to kill me, so we’ll keep battling.” Smith also moved up one spot, from fifth to fourth, in the Xfinity points standings with his third-place finish.
Who had a bad day: Brian Scott was hoping to repeat his win at Dover from six years ago (in the Truck Series). But on Lap 64, Scott and Ryan Blaney tangled, sending both drivers into the wall. As Scott’s crumpled car rolled down the track, Jamie Dick was unable to avoid it and slammed hard into Scott. While Blaney was able to continue on, Scott’s and Dick’s day were both over. “The 22 was kinda out of control,” Scott said of Blaney to Fox TV. “He got real loose out of (Turn) 4, so I got a run on his inside going into Turn 1. I just felt he didn’t give me any room, I feel like he was stuck to my door and it caused me to spin around.”
Notable: Erik Jones led a race-high 70 laps, and was hoping to celebrate his 19th birthday with a win. But a costly mistake coming onto pit road on the final pit stop cost him what had been a 20-second lead and ultimately relegated him to a ninth-place finish. “I just missed it, I screwed up, just trying a little too hard,” Jones told Fox TV. “I wanted to make sure we could get out ahead of everybody. Clean air was so big today. I thought that’s what we needed. It’s just tough to get on pit road here. I should have practiced it. I didn’t think about it during the day. We fought hard all day and put ourselves in position to have a shot and led a lot of laps, but it didn’t work out at the end.” … In post-race inspection, the 33 car of fourth-place finisher Austin Dillon was found to be too low. Any penalties will likely be issued this Tuesday or Wednesday.
Quote of the day, Part 1: “It’s my teammate so I can’t really say much. … He ran over me and winds up winning. It should be interesting Monday morning (in team meetings). We just got run over. It sucks that it was my teammate. … I would say I’m happy Roush won, but I’m not.” – Darrell Wallace Jr. on how he and teammate James Buescher got into each other late in the race, allowing Buescher to go on and win.
Quote of the day, Part 2: “Bubba and I were on the same (pit) strategy and we were able to run a quicker pace, still. I couldn’t do anything with him at the end of the straightaway. It is what it is. We got a win. It’s hard when somebody runs you down that close. I don’t know. It was a fun day, Ford did a great job. … It was quite the day for us.” – James Buescher responding to Bubba Wallace’s comments.
What’s next: The Xfinity Series enjoys an off-weekend next week. It returns to action on June 13 at Michigan International Speedway in the Great Clips 250 Benefitting Paralyzed Veterans.