Chris Buescher has yet to enjoy his first Sprint Cup Series win

2 Comments

After winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Monday at Pocono Raceway, one would have expected Chris Buescher to bask in its glory until duty called at Watkins Glen International.

Instead, the only celebrating the Front Row Motorsports rookie got to do was in victory lane.

Friday morning Buescher met with the media for the first time since he won rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 and revealed he spent this week practicing his road course skills and handling additional winner’s obligations.

“We left Pocono and didn’t celebrate the slightest bit,” Buescher said. “Got back to the bus and it was TP’d, and we cleaned the toilet paper off after it got rained on, then we went to Utah for the next day and a half  and then came back.

“I’m pretty sure I spent Wednesday and Thursday on the phone just doing interviews straight through to the next one. It has been wild how everything has played out, and I haven’t had time for it to settle in and feel like we won a race. It has been so crazy.”

Sunday will be Buescher’s second Sprint Cup start at Watkins Glen and his third overall road course Cup race. However, he does have six Xfinity Series road course races under his belt, which includes a win at Mid-Ohio in August of 2014.

But Buescher admits neither he nor his teammates are road racing experts, which is why he along with Landon Cassill, Trevor Bayne, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spent time in Utah at a driving school to prepare for Watkins Glen. The Cheez-It 355 is even more important for Buescher, who is six points shy of being in the top 30 in points and eligible for the Chase.

“We are heading in the right direction now and heading toward that top 30 in points and getting in the Chase,” Buescher said. “We are going to get there. We have been on the right trend and working toward getting out of that hole we have been in for quite a while knowing that we wanted to get in the top 30 in case something did come up.”

According to Buescher, No. 34 team has gone through quite a bit of bad luck in 2016, but the last few weeks have been trending upward. He was running well at Kentucky Speedway before being caught up in an accident, followed by a 29th-place finish at New Hampshire and then what been a career-best 14th place at Indianapolis the week before Pocono.

As for getting to enjoy his win when it finally does sink in, Buescher knows he has to wait just a little bit longer.

“I really haven’t had time to just relax and settle in yet,” he said. “I haven’t really gotten to see any of my friends that would usually be talking about it or pumped up about it. It has been from one outing to the next and all about trying to make sure we are better for the Glen here this weekend.”

Follow @KellyCrandall

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick still No. 1 after quiet Vegas

Leave a comment

Kevin Harvick didn’t have a flashy night Sunday in Las Vegas, but it didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

After winning the Bristol night race, Harvick finished in the top 10 in the first two stages in Vegas before placing 10th at race’s end.

Kurt Busch’s win at his home track vaulted him into the top 10 as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Las Vegas

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): In the last eight races he’s won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5): Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races.

3. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.

4. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked): Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.

5. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked): Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3): Finished sixth after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond.

8. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2): Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10.

Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

Leave a comment

Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

 

Xfinity Series playoff standings after Las Vegas

Leave a comment

Chase Briscoe opened the Xfinity Series playoffs by earning his second consecutive win.

His victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives him 57 playoff points and an automatic spot in the Round of 8.

Harrison Burton holds the final transfer spot. He has a two-point advantage over Ross Chastain.

Behind Chastain below the cutline are Michael Annett (-10 points), Riley Herbst (-14) and Brandon Brown (-20).

Below is the full Xfinity Series playoff standings going into Saturday’s race at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance. Drivers in yellow are in the remaining playoff spots.

Xfinity Series playoff standings

Cup playoff standings after Las Vegas

Leave a comment

Kurt Busch flipped the script on the Cup playoff standings with his win Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings, but is the first driver to clinch a spot in the Round of 8.

Replacing Busch in the bottom spot of the playoff standings is Austin Dillon. He is 32 points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final cutoff spot.

Behind Bowman is Kyle Busch (-9 points), Clint Bowyer (-20), Aric Almirola (-27) and Dillon.

“Obviously, the 1 car (Kurt Busch) was not a car that we needed to win a race,” Clint Bowyer said after Sunday’s race. “It’s been a hell of a battle back there with cars that are kind of in the same wheelhouse as far as points-wise. (Kurt Busch) winning changes that landscape quite a bit, but we’re only 20 points out.”

Here is the full playoff standings entering Sunday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. Drivers in yellow hold the remaining available playoff spots.

Cup playoff standings