If it wasn’t for quite a bit of fog, last weekend’s slate of NASCAR action likely wouldn’t have been that different from many race weekends the last two decades.
Fog forced NASCAR to halt the Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway 22 laps from its scheduled distance, giving the win to Chris Buescher, one of the Rookie of the Year contenders. That sealed a milestone that had never been accomplished since the Camping World Truck Series debuted in 1995.
Buescher’s win meant Rookie of the Year contenders in all three national series – Sprint Cup, Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series – swept the weekend.
The feat was started by William Byron, who won in the Truck series. It was his fifth win of the year, which set a Truck series record for rookies. Later Saturday night, Erik Jones led 154 laps at Iowa Speedway en route to winning his third race of the year.
Then Buescher’s team gambled on Monday during pit stops, putting his No. 34 Ford out front just in time for fog to cover all of Turn 1.
Buescher was the first rookie contender to win a Sprint Cup race since Joey Logano did at New Hampshire in 2009. Before that it had only been four times since 2005: Kyle Busch at Phoenix (2005), Denny Hamlin in Pocono I and II (2006) and Juan Pablo Montoya at Sonoma (2007).
Buescher’s win was also his first Sprint Cup top-10 finish, which came a week after his career-best finish of 14th at Indianapolis. The Prosper, Texas, native is one of just five drivers to have earned their first top 10 via a win.