Chasing The Underdogs

Chasing the Underdogs: Chris Buescher Leads the Way at Atlanta

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There was a lot of unknown for teams heading into Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway with the debut of the new rules package.

Some teams fared well, some didn’t.

JTG Daugherty driver Chris Buescher was one of the drivers who had a successful race on the 1.5-mile track leading the way for the underdogs this week.

Buescher had solid practices finishing in 18th and 19th respectively but qualifying wasn’t as kind to the 26-year old.

He would qualify his No. 37 Scott Plus Comfort Chevrolet a 30th place starting spot with a lap of 176.995mph.

https://twitter.com/JTGRacing/status/10996968528139919374

A competition caution was thrown by NASCAR on lap 35. Buescher brought his No. 37 ZL1 Camaro down pit road, saying it was tight through the corner. He pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

Buescher was able to gain positions after the pit stop making his way up into the top-20 running order. Ultimately, he would finish the first stage in the 22nd position.

Buescher told Crew Chief Trent Owens he needed to be freer everywhere. He would once again pit for adjustments as well as four tires and fuel.

The adjustments would be just what the driver needed saying on lap 163 the car was the best it’s been and finishing out stage 2 on the lead lap in the 20th position.

When stage 3 went green Buescher got his Z1L Camaro up to the 15th position with another round of pit stops on the horizon where he would pit for four tires and fuel.

With 91 laps remaining Buescher and his teammate Ryan Preece were both running consistently inside the top-10.

After one last round of pit stops for tires and fuel Buescher would restart on the inside line in 11th, making his way into the top-10 running order once again.

When the checkered flag waved, the Prosper, Texas native would capture his first top-10 of the 2019 season finishing in the 9th position.

Buescher was pleased with the result after the race.

“Everybody on this Scott Comfort Plus Camaro ZL1 did a great job. This group worked hard. We made big swings to get up there and to start 30th and be able to get a top 10 out of this thing, I’m proud of them. That was fun, said Buescher.”

Buescher’s 9th place result at Atlanta is his best finish at the track in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in four starts, improving by a large margin on his previous best finish of 24th which came in 2017.

David Ragan also had a solid finish for the underdogs wheeling his No. 38 FireAde Ford for Front Row Motorsports to a 16th place finish after starting the event in 23rd.

Ragan’s result is his best finish at Atlanta since a career best 8th place finish all the way back in 2008 when he was driving the No. 6 AAA Ford for Roush and it also marked a new FRM best at the track.

Fantasy Notes for Buescher and Ragan for the upcoming race at Las Vegas:

Chris Buescher: In four MENCS starts at Vegas, Buescher has a career best finish of 15th which has come twice in the last two races at the track (2017 & 2018).

David Ragan: In 13 MENCS at Vegas, Ragan has a career best finish of 7th coming back in his second start at the track in 2008. Since than his best finish is 21st coming in 2012. In this race last season Ragan started the race 27th and finished in 27th as well.

Here are how the other underdogs fared at Atlanta.

Daniel Hemric, 20th
Ty Dillon, 25th
Matt DiBenedetto, 26th
Bubba Wallace, 27th
Matt Tift, 28th
Corey LaJoie, 29th
Parker Kligerman, 30th
Ross Chastain, 31st
B.J. McLeod, 32nd
Cody Ware, 33rd
Landon Cassill, 34th
Ryan Preece, 35th
Garrett Smithley, 36th
Michael McDowell, 37th

Next up the MENCS heads West to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube which is set for March 3 at 3:30pm EST on Fox or you can listen too it live on PRN.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah is going into her third year covering NASCAR for Rubbings Racing as well as helping run their Social Media platforms. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah is an avid racing fan as well as a fan of the major New England sports teams. She is currently studying Public Relations and Marketing at SNHU with plans to move to North Carolina after graduation. Sarah also enjoys visiting her home track of NHMS each year, reading, running and photography.

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