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Australia Australia

Buescher "ran out of steam" trying to chase down Suarez for win

It’d been a rough two weeks for Chris Buescher but a near-victory Sunday at Sonoma nearly made up for all of it.

Buescher escaped a nasty-looking wreck two weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway unhurt but was then sidelined from last weekend’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway with a bout of COVID-19.

Not exactly known as a road-racer, Buescher quickly showed that he and his No. 17 Ford could contend for the win on Sunday.

Buescher battled leader Daniel Suarez hard on a restart with 22 of 110 laps remaining and stayed close before Suarez finally pulled away and Buescher had to settle for a runner-up finish.

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“This team did a great job and put a really fast Mustang underneath me this weekend. What a way to return and come back to the race track, but I didn’t get the job done there at the end,” he said.

“I feel like we should have had the win and I didn’t get it. We were close, just needed more. I needed to make it happen on that (last) restart and I didn’t.”

Buescher made a pit stop just before the conclusion of Stage 2 but was initially assessed a penalty from NASCAR for a crew member throwing equipment during his stop.

The penalty would have sent Buescher to the rear of the field to start the final stage, likely ending any hope he would have for the victory.

Buescher’s crew argued forcibly with NASCAR that the call was incorrect and, after reviewing film of the pit stop, NASCAR rescinded the penalty. That left Buescher in the lead when the final stage got underway and back in the hunt for the win.

“We had a lot of speed. Just struggled for a little bit of long-run speed, wearing rear (tires) out. Just didn't get it done when it counted,” he said.

“It’s an awesome run. Awesome recovery from COTA, what we had there. Everybody back at RFK (Racing) is doing a great job. Hurts to be that close, but congratulations to Suarez. We were trying, trying to get him.

“Ran out of steam there.”

Still, with his performance on Sunday – coupled with teammate and team co-owner Brad Keselowski also finishing in the top-10 – Buescher believes the organization is on the right track.

“If we can keep getting cars like this then a win will come,” he said. “It was an awesome run, and I should be happy, but I am disappointed to be that close and not get it.”

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