Chris Buescher was already in good position to qualify for NASCAR’s playoffs.
Now, even something remarkable over the last four races of the regular season won’t keep him out.
Buescher pulled away on a restart with three laps to go to win at Richmond Raceway on Sunday and snag one of the final spots in NASCAR’s playoff field.
Buescher led 88 laps and was ahead by nearly 6 seconds when a caution came out with under 10 laps to go. That erased his lead over Virginia native Denny Hamlin, who was booed by his hometown crowd before the race.
But Hamlin got a poor final restart and Buescher easily pulled away for his first Cup Series win of the season, third of his career.
“I knew that last restart was going to be tough, but I knew we had the speed in this thing,” Buescher said.
He and RFK Racing teammate Brad Keselowski led a combined 190 of the 400 laps in their Fords. Keselowski, now a part owner of the team, led 102 laps on the 0.75-mile oval.
Buescher started 26th and had to drive through the field for the win that locked him into the 16-driver playoff field. Buescher became the 13th race winner this year and there are three playoff spots up for grabs over the next month.
It was the 139th Cup win for primary team owner Jack Roush, second since Keselowski joined the ownership group.
Ford now has 723 wins in NASCAR’s top Cup Series.
“Everybody at RFK Racing who has worked so hard to get us to this point,” said Buescher.