Chris Buescher played the perfect strategy – putting himself out front in the closing stages of the Food City 300. However, on a green-white-checkered, Buescher stuttered coming off turn two, which opened the door for Kyle Busch. Busch would then lead the rest of the way to score the victory in the Food City 300.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Busch commented. “Our car wasn’t the best early in the race and Chris Gale and these guys made good adjustments and got it better. When we pitted with a 100 to go, I was like ‘Wow, we have to go 100 laps?’ I just tried to save and let the 60 go. I knew we were going to get some cautions on the end. We weren’t sure if they’d make it on fuel and obviously, they cut it a little close. It’s fun to run these cars. this Toyota Camry was fun to drive today.”
Starting from the pole, Denny Hamlin led the early laps. Though when the caution came out with 108 laps to go for Cale Conley spinning in turn four, the leaders headed down pit road while Buescher, who was running fifth at the time, chose to stay out with Landon Cassill. Buescher then led the rest of the race, getting good restarts each time, when the caution flew with five laps to go for Brad Teague getting into the wall.
On the green-white-checkered, Buescher got the jump as Busch didn’t get going at first, though Busch got rolling and got to Buescher’s inside in the middle of turn one and two. Coming off of the corner, Buescher’s car stuttered being low on fuel, allowing Busch to cruise on by for the lead and the win. Busch commented post-race that his restarts were horrible all night as a result of bad gearing.
“First (gear) was really too tall and second was way too low,” he commented. “I was trying to find something that’d work and when I’d get to the gas, the engine would stall out and I’d get hit in the back and stall the cars. I wish I would’ve picked up on that in practice as we would’ve made a change. Fortunately, I got a good run through turn one and the 60 ran out of turn two. I felt that I had a good enough run to get him into turn three.”
Kyle Larson would finish second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez. Suarez’s fifth place finish would hand him the $100,000 Dash for Cash bonus.
“I really think track position was everything was here,” he commented. “It’s great. We tried to get track position at the end and it worked out for us. I felt like our car was good, but I wasn’t able to turn as much as I wanted.”
Brian Scott finished sixth, commenting that he was proud of the team’s performance.
“This year, it’s been the kiss of death when XFINTY has put on Dash for Cash races,” he added. “Proud to be qualified for Darlington – hope we can bring home the extra money. But back to Bristol, it’s hard to pass – you get stuck on the inside and just get pinned down. I wish we could’ve got in the top-five as I feel that we were as competitive as we’ve been all year against the JGR cars. We’ll keep working hard and making strides as a company.”
Chase Elliott finished seventh after running just outside of the top-10 all night, fighting the handling on his car.
“It’s been better,” he admitted. “We were just off and really struggled. Couldn’t find anyway to get up forward, unfortunately. Proud of our group for fighting hard. Hopefully we better as we need too.”
Kevin Harvick finished eighth, followed by Regan Smith and Brendan Gaughan. Following his problems, Buescher would finish 11th to currently hold a 19 points lead over Dillon.
“Just ran out of fuel,” Buescher stated. ” Lost fuel pick-up. it’s unfortunate. I’m mad. It just sucks. We were so good. we knew we were good all day, it was just a matter of track position. We got it on pit strategy and showed that we could outrun everybody, showed it every time. I wouldn’t change it for anything. We’re not here to lay over and finish eighth – we’re here to win races. We showed that we had a quick Mustang. I’m mad, pissed off.”
Elliott Sadler, who was eligible for the Dash for Cash, would get into the wall with 50 laps to go after sliding up the track and catching the edge of Gaughan’s bumper. Ryan Blaney, who won Wednesday night’s truck race, was running inside the top-five, but headed down pit road with a rear-end issue with 21 laps to go.