On Monday afternoon at Pocono, Chris Buescher proved a win is a win, no matter how it happens – especially your first win.
Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and 1999 Rookie of the Year Tony Stewart agreed.
"It doesn’t matter how you get your first win,” said Stewart while the race was red-flagged for fog. “You just want to get your first win.”
The weather-shortened race awarded Buescher his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and all of a sudden, Buescher is now in the hunt for a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Buescher has five races to make up the six point deficit that would put him in the Top 30 of the point standings and gain a berth into the Chase.
While he may not be as well-known as some of the other young drivers on the Sprint Cup circuit, Buescher has proven himself as a winner in every series he has raced.
Buescher’s winning ways can be traced back to Kansas Speedway as he claimed his first major stock car championship at the track in 2012. After finishing eighth in the Kansas Lottery 98.9, Buescher clinched the 2012 ARCA Racing Series Championship, becoming the second youngest champion in ARCA history. The previous year, Buescher finished second at Kansas, which solidified him as the ARCA Rookie of the Year.
After transitioning to the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Buescher won the XFINITY Championship in his second full-time season in the series.
This year, Buescher became the sixth quickest driver in the last 10 years to get his first win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by capturing the checkered flag in just his 27th Sprint Cup start. Before Monday, his previous best finish was 14th at Indianapolis the week before.
The last rookie to win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was Joey Logano in 2009, who’s win was also a weather-shortened race. Considering Logano’s prowess in the sport, Buescher now holds some good company.
Last week’s victory could be exactly what Buescher needs to get to the next level. If he can manage to make up the six point deficit to get into the Top 30 of the point standings, he would become the first rookie driver since Denny Hamlin (2006) to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the format was created in 2004.
If he can win another race in 2016, Buescher would also join Hamlin as the last rookie to win multiple races in a season. Perhaps the Hollywood Casino 400 on October 16 could be that opportunity, where he’d become the second Buescher to visit Gatorade Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway. Chris’ cousin, James Buescher, won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas in April 2012.
You can see Chris Buescher race in the Hollywood Casino 400, the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, in less than 75 days by calling 866.460.7223 or logging on to www.kansasspeedway.com to purchase a ticket. Tickets are also available for the Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Oct. 15 and the Kansas 100 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season finale on Oct. 14.
Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans can bring in one 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and beverages.
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