The Bristol night race was always going to be a big test for Chris Buescher and his hopes of making the Chase for the Championship. After all, the rookie winner from Pocono Raceway is now receiving additional support from Roush Fenway Racing and the Ford team has always been good at Bristol. In fact, the organization has posted several top 10s in recent years and its last victory with Carl Edwards in 2014.
So naturally, Buescher and Front Row Motorsports capitalized on these circumstances and qualified 12th on Friday – marking their first appearance in the pole round of Sprint Cup qualifying. Buescher is on loan to FRM by Roush and previously only received support for select speedway events.
“Our Love’s Travel Stops Fusion is pretty good,” Buescher said upon climbing out of the car. “I’ve been happy since we unloaded off the truck. I love Bristol. The team has done an excellent job and that’s about all you can ask for right there is to keep making progress. This is the first time this year that we’ve made the third round, so that’s pretty exciting for our team.
“We just keep plugging along here and we’re getting to where we need to be and this is definitely a good start for what we need in the point standings.”
Buescher can make the Chase by cracking the top 30 of the point standings by the end of the regular season as a result of his rain-shortened victory. He entered the weekend three points behind David Ragan for the decisive spot and believes his team has shown new life since their unexpected triumph.
“I’ll tell you what – Pocono put a little pep in everyone’s step around here,” Buescher said. “It was really cool. A lot of these guys … it was their first win as well as mine. So it’s neat to get everybody excited past halfway through the season and gives us something to shoot for again.
“This pretty much changed our goals for the year. It went from trying to get top-15 finishes and run as consistently as possible to let’s make the Chase and that’s pretty special to be in our rookie season with a new group of guys and a new crew chief for me and all of us to be working in this direction.”
Buescher outqualified all three primary Roush Fenway cars as Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse and Greg Biffle posted the 22nd, 25th and 34th-fastest times, respectively.