Chris Buescher gives funny response amid dramatic photo finish in Kansas

Buescher gives funny response amid dramatic photo finish in Kansas

Chris Buescher turned out to be on the receiving end of NASCAR Cup Series history Sunday night at Kansas Speedway after he lost to Kyle Larson in a dramatic photo finish.

Buescher finished second by 0.001s but before NASCAR had reviewed its high-speed camera at the finish line, Buescher and his RFK Racing team thought they were going to victory lane in the AdventHealth 400 and started celebrating in the pit box and over the No. 17 team radio.

NASCAR reviewed the camera and declared Larson the winner despite the track scoring pylon at the racetrack incorrectly listing Buescher as the winner.

The two were so close that the gap between the two cars was hardly distinguishable even in the final photo taken at the finish line.

During his post-race interview, Buescher sounded somewhat bitter about the final result.

“We were celebrating down the backstretch and looked at the pylon, and we were P1 up there,” Buescher said. “Everything we had said we had gotten it. Obviously not.

“The only thing I have to go off of is a grainy photo right now, and at this point it just sounds like I am complaining — and I guess I am because I don’t see it in that. I don’t understand how the timing system can read it out one way and not the other. We just got to understand it better.”

Buescher’s crew chief Scott Graves went to the NASCAR hauler to get clarification and admitted to Fox Sports after the visit that he wanted to know if it was the painted start/finish line that the scoring goes by, but NASCAR showed the high-speed camera picture and explained the finish.

Buescher led Larson at the white flag after taking the lead on the restart. He had lined up outside Denny Hamlin and cleared the field as Larson put them three wide going into Turn 1. On the final lap, Buescher led the way going into Turns 3 and 4 and tried to move up and crowd Larson, who went to the outside with a run to put them side-by-side coming through the corners.

The two were side-by-side down the frontstretch and hit doors as they moved toward the bottom of the racetrack. Larson won the race, crossing the finish line above the white line as Buescher continued his charge on the apron.

“It was a great restart for us,” Buescher added. “Our Mustang was really good firing off, and I certainly could have blocked more, but at the end of the day, I felt like I was pretty defensive on it. I felt like I was going to make a drag race out of it coming to the finish line.

“We got to banging doors there a little bit and lost some momentum and I was aggressive trying to cover it. I just needed a draft to keep speed up down the straightaway. I am really proud of that work.

“I just watched the replay and I just can’t see it right now. It hurts to see the pylon say we get it and then not.”

Buescher was the best of the Ford contingent, winning the second stage and leading four times for 54 laps. But at the end of the second stage, it appeared his chance to contend for the victory had disappeared. Buescher’s team was penalized for going over the wall too soon, and he was sent to the rear of the field.

A rash of cautions in the final stage aided Buescher’s climb back to the top. He was back in the top five when the team stayed out under caution with 70 laps to go. He moved to second off the ensuing restart behind Denny Hamlin.

With 30 laps to go, Hamlin and Buescher were in fuel-save mode. Buescher lost second position to Martin Truex Jr. with eight laps to go before the final caution flew a lap later. The team maintained its position off pit road, and Buescher lined up outside Hamlin for the final restart.

Kansas Speedway marked the second runner-up finish for Buescher this season.

“It sucks to celebrate on the backstretch and then pull up to the front straightaway and be told no,” Buescher said. “I don’t know how everything transpired, honestly. Not right now. It sucks in a lot of ways.

“Second hurts a whole lot worse than third. To be that close a couple of times this year now and not be able to get the win — the speed is great and we did a good job today and was a good recovery from the end of Stage 2 there. But we don’t have a trophy right now.”

However, after letting himself cool off, Buescher had some fun with his second-place finish as he referenced the movie “Cars” in a post on X.

The 2006 animated film’s protagonist, Lightning McQueen, forced a three-way tie by extending his tongue to finish a race. Given how slim the margin was between Buescher’s No. 17 Ford Mustang and Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro, one tongue could have very well been the difference.

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