Buescher edges Truex to win delayed Cup Series race in Michigan

Buescher edges Truex to win delayed Cup Series race in Michigan

Buescher battled off a charging Martin Truex Jr. in a long, thrilling and nerve-wracking green-flag sprint to the finish to win his second career Cup Series race.

All 200 laps at Michigan International Speedway were completed over the course of two days on Sunday and Monday, with Chris Buescher winning the FireKeepers Casino 400.

Buescher showed he was a formidable opponent lap after lap as he held off Truex, whose No. 19 Toyota was possibly the quickest car in the race, eight days after winning his first race of the year on the.75-mile Richmond Raceway short circuit.

Buescher’s victory, the seventh straight triumph for Ford drivers at the 2.0-mile speedway, and team co-owner Brad Keselowski’s fourth-place finish give RFK the distinction of being the top Ford team in the Cup garage.

It’s RFK Racing’s No. 17 Ford’s second consecutive victory, giving Buescher four Cup Series victories overall. His other victories were at Pocono in 2016, Bristol last season and Richmond last week.

It wasn’t an easy victory for Buescher as he had to hold off two quick Toyotas driven by Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 and Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 19, who had won the first two stages.

After extending his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing earlier in the weekend, Truex Jr. was strong all day and confirmed it at the end of Stage 2 during which, he was able to overtake Daniel Suarez despite pitting and win the stage after conquering Stage 1 before the Sunday downpour.

During the final six laps, Truex closed the gap between the cars, but Buescher sped out Turn 4 and crossed the finish line first 152 seconds ahead of the second contender.

Truex Jr. passed William Byron for second position when Byron pulled out of the race on Sunday and now holds the top spot in the driver standings, 57 points ahead of Hamlin.

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Kyle Larson finished fifth, followed by Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.

Kyle Busch was also eliminated, falling from fourth to ninth with Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, and Brad Keselowski ahead of him.

Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet was not on the track when the race started again at lap 75 on Monday after being delayed from Sunday due to rain. Elliott had fallen out in 36th place on lap 35 the previous day.

In order to avoid missing the postseason for the first time in his career, Elliott’s deficit to the Playoff cut line went up to 55 points; practically, the 2020 series champion will have to win one of the upcoming three races.

After numerous trips to pit road for repairs, Bell, the Michigan pole winner, managed to salvage a 13th-place finish despite seriously damaging his car when a spin into the wall on lap 65 of the race on Sunday.

All of this season’s single-race winners secured Playoff spots on Monday after Buescher won his second race and qualified for the postseason, they include: Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Chastain, Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Ryan Blaney fell from eighth to tenth, and Buescher is still in eleventh. While Tyler Reddick, who was leading when the race was delayed, slipped from 10th to 13th, Joey Logano fell from ninth to 12th. Rickey Stenhouse Jr. slid from 13th to 15th, but he is safe with a win in hand since Bubba Wallace improved from 15th to 14th, which boosted his playoff hopes.

With three races remaining, Ty Gibbs currently sits three points ahead of Michael McDowell, who dropped out of the top-16 for the final playoff position.

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