While it may say ‘Play It Safe’ on the side of his racecar, it doesn’t mean Chris Buescher is set to do the same behind the wheel this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Knowing the situation he currently is in entering the last race of the first round of the Chase, he says his team is prepared to take a gamble this weekend, whether via fuel strategy or taking two tires on a pit stop.
“We have an endless amount of options that are open for us right now because where we’re at, the last two weeks have not been what we wanted,” he said. “They’ve been tough on us, but it’s put us in a situation now where the only way to go is up, and that means we can take whatever chance we feel is necessary. We want to make sure it’s something that could be very beneficial. We don’t want to do something that’s just crazy and obviously isn’t going to work, so there will be a little bit of planning and strategy to it, but we don’t have to play it safe at all.”
Following finishes of 28th at Chicagoland Speedway and 30th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Buescher enters this weekend sitting 16th in points, 30 points behind Kyle Larson for 12th and the final spot to make the next round.
His Front Row Motorsports team knows all about taking gambles as it was a fuel strategy gamble at Pocono Raceway in August and some foggy/wet weather which allowed him to pick up his first career series victory. Buescher has been successful at Dover in the past, scoring a win and three top-10s in four career XFINITY Series starts to go with an 18th place finish in his first Sprint Cup Series start at the Monster Mile in May. Buescher notes he enjoys the track which feels like a roller coaster ride due to the concrete surface, and how it reminds him of Bristol – where he finished fifth in August.
“It’s obviously its own animal, but there’s just something about it that we’ve been able to run really well at the last couple of years,” he said. “I don’t have a whole lot of races under my belt here, but we always seem to make it out. It’s definitely that place that can get you in trouble in a hurry, and I’ve been really close to a lot of those situations, but it’s just a cool race track. It’s extremely fast. The landing getting down in the corner is something we usually don’t talk about. It’s an added curve in what we’re trying to get accomplished for the weekend.”
While it’s ideally where a driver wouldn’t want to be, the rookie admits it’s a stress relief to have the pressure taken off of him after going through the pressure to make the top-30 in points for five weeks following his Pocono victory.
“We don’t really have anything to lose here today,” he said. “All we have to do is gain, so, to me, it’s gonna make it to where we’re able to go out here and not worry about it, take some chances, try and utilize some risk and see if we can pull something off.”
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