Chris Buescher Strikes on Late Restart to Claim 3M 250 Victoryby Kyle Pokrefky May 17, 2015 0 comments
NEWTON, Iowa – Sitting third on a green-white-checkered restart, Chris Buescher was going to have to bring his ‘A’ game if he was going to grab the win in the 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
Restarting second on the bottom behind Chase Elliott and teammate Ryan Reed – who were both on old tires – the driver of the No. 60 Roush Performance Parts Ford utilized fresh tires as he dipped below both right at the drop of the green flag and found himself clear in the lead off of Turn 2.
It was smooth sailing from there for the 22-year-old out of Prosper, Texas as he went on to cross the checkered flag ahead of Elliott by 0.523 seconds.
The win at Iowa made for the second of Buescher’s career and first of the season and helped last year’s seventh-place finisher in the points assume the points lead from Ty Dillon.
Already off to a hot start in 2015, Buescher said this win was to be expected considering the roll his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing team has been on.
“…We’ve been running extremely well this season picking up right where he left off at the end of 2014,” Buescher said. “We have 90-percent of the same guys on our team and everybody’s working well together and it’s really starting to show.
“It’s been a great beginning to the year and we’ve had some really solid runs and we knew and we talked about it ‘we just keep getting these runs and we keep being right there in that top-five, we’re going to get one of these things.’”
Second-place Elliott led a majority of the race – spending 114 laps in the lead compared to Buescher’s total of 94 laps spent at the front.
Holding a lead of over four seconds with two laps to go, the defending XFINITY Series champion appeared as if he was set to claim his first win of the season yet a caution before the white flag erased his sizable lead.
The driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet elected to stay out on the track, the rest of the leaders – save for Reed – opted to head down pit road to grab fresh tires for what was to be the final restart.
When asked if he was a sitting duck with whatever decision he made regarding pit road, Elliott said that there were plenty of pros and cons to either choice as he only could put on used tires on his car.
“It’s hard to say,” Elliott stated. “If we came down pit road, we had some used tires we could have put on. There’s pros and cons to that and pros and cons to staying out. We had the lead, the car was fast and we made a decision to at least control the restart.
“If you stayed out, you knew you were going to have the lead instead of coming in and you come down pit road and you could have a good pit stop or a bad pit stop and you could lose the lead. A lot of things could happen. You’re still putting on used tires…
“That’s racing. I’ve watched a lot of races go like that and a lot of races go the other way too.”
Completing the top-10 of the finishing order were Erik Jones, Brian Scott, Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ben Rhodes, Brandon Jones, Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan.
Jones’s No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota started on the pole for today’s race thanks to the help of Saturday practice driver Drew Herring, who substituted for Jones as this year’s Texas winner was in Charlotte on standby for Kyle Busch; but, as Jones was not the driver to qualify the car, he was forced to start the race from the rear of the field.
Carving his way to the front all the way from the back of the field, Jones sat second in line on the high side for the final restart behind Elliott – the perfect position for the restart.
While the top line was the best line for restarts throughout the day, the bottom was the line to get their tires to hook up on the green-white-checkered, spoiling Jones’s chance for his second XFINITY win of the season.
“It’s not bad,” Jones said of his day. “Just a little bit short all weekend on both ends at here and Charlotte. Not a bad day, we had a good Interstate Batteries Camry, it just wasn’t quite enough to run with the No. 60 and the No. 9 under a green-flag run.
“We gave ourselves a shot, I felt the top would be the way to go on the last restart, but unfortunately the bottom lane rolled and the No. 60 was able to get to the bottom, pass everybody, and get clean air which was pretty big all day.”
Nine lead changes among five different drivers occurred at Iowa on Sunday as Daniel Suárez, Blaney and Reed each were scored in the lead throughout the race along with Buescher and Elliott.
Nine caution flags flew throughout the race, including a competition caution on Lap 60.
Only three multi-car incidents occurred in the race with Eric McClure and Boris Said tangling on Lap 164 while J.J. Yeley and Brennan Poole brought out two cautions for incidents involving themselves.
The No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet of Poole was sent into the outside wall on the backstretch after contact was made with Yeley’s No. 28 Toyota on Lap 11, sending Poole behind the wall.
After returning to the track later in the race, Poole retaliated against Yeley on Lap 153 by making deliberate contact identical to what sent him into the wall earlier in the race. Poole was subsequently parked by NASCAR for the remainder of the race.
Heading into next Saturday’s Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Buescher will take an eight-point points lead over Dillon into the 11th race of the season.
Top-10 Finishers of the 3M 250
- 60 – Chris Buescher – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
- 9 – Chase Elliott – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 20 – Erik Jones(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 2 – Brian Scott – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
- 22 – Ryan Blaney – Ford – Team Penske
- 6 – Darrell Wallace Jr.# – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
- 88 – Ben Rhodes – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 33 – Brandon Jones(i) – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
- 1 – Elliott Sadler – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
- 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
Top-1o in the Drivers Standings after Round 10 of 33
- 60 – Chris Buescher – Roush Fenway Racing – 368 | Leader
- 3 – Ty Dillon – Richard Childress Racing – 360 | -8
- 9 – Chase Elliott – JR Motorsports – 337 | -31
- 6 – Darrell Wallace Jr.# – Roush Fenway Racing – 331 | -37
- 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 326 | -42
- 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 320 | -48
- 1 – Elliott Sadler – Roush Fenway Racing – 317 | -51
- 16 – Ryan Reed – Roush Fenway Racing – 288 | -80
- 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing – 283 | -85
- 18 – Daniel Suárez# – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing – 281 | -87
# = Rookie, (i) = Ineligible for NASCAR XFINITY Series points.
Featured Image Photo credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images