Chris Buescher Wins At Bristol Motor Speedway With Two-Tire Pit Strategyby Hunter Thomas September 18, 2022 1 comment
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Chris Buescher became the 19th different winner of 2022 on Saturday after he won the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on a two-tire strategy.
Since the NASCAR Playoffs kicked off at Darlington Raceway, all three races of the Round of 16 were won by non-Playoff competitors. On Saturday, Buescher led a race high of 169 laps en route to winning his first race of the season and the second of his career. While Buescher held on for the win, the winning move came on the last pit stop, when crew chief, Scott Graves put two sticker tires on the RFK Racing No. 6 Fastenal Ford and placed Buescher into the lead.
“That’s just — the first Cup win for Fastenal for a points-based race, so that’s awesome,” Buescher said. “Glad to have Fastenal on board tonight. Just so special here, Bristol. I love this racetrack. I love the fans. I love every time we come here. It’s so special to me.
“Lost one that really broke our heart back in 2015 on the Xfinity side with Graves on top of the box, so this makes up for that. That’s pretty awesome.”
Chase Elliott finished second in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet. In the closing laps, Elliott could see Buescher, but he just wasn’t able to keep up and challenge for the win. Following the race, Elliott believed that he needed to search around the track better for different lanes.
“I just needed to be able to do a better job getting in some different lanes,” Elliott said. “And then being second there, the top had gotten so dominant there at the end. The bottom was pretty good there early in the night and you could run down there for a long time, and then as the night went on the top got better and better and better, and that momentum was hard to beat.
“Unfortunately for me, we never got to any lap traffic to make him move, but we were starting to there in those last three or four laps. I felt like we were gaining, but it was — I wasn’t close enough to do anything with him. But I appreciate the effort.”
William Byron, Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five. Ross Chastain finished sixth, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Cole Custer, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.
Throughout the 500-lap race, there 11 cautions for 80 laps. The only multicar accident occurred on Lap 278, when Daniel Suarez got loose out of Turn 2 and crashed into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. A total of 12 cars were involved in the accident, including Playoff contender, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Chastain and Chase Briscoe.
All throughout the race, many of the Playoff contenders had to deal with adversity. One of the most notable drivers to drop out was Kyle Busch who experienced his second engine failure in three races.
“I’m flabbergasted,” Busch said. “I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot. They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low – down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through. Two engine failures in three weeks, that will do it to you. I really feel bad for all of Rowdy Nation, everybody at M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy, all of the partners that get us going every week. This is not our normal.”
Tyler Reddick missed out on the Round of 12 by a mere two points. Austin Dillon finished 11 points behind the cutline, and Harvick, who looked as if he was going to be a contender for the win until a pit road mishap, missed the Round of 16 by 24 points.
Advancing to the Round of 12 are Christopher Bell, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric.
The Round of 12 will get underway on Sunday, September 25 at Texas Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the AutoTrader EchoPark Autimotive 500 will broadcast on USA and PRN at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Tyler Goodson/TheFourthTurn.com