Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA
Interview

Chris Buescher sees a chance to win "every week" at RFK

Chris Buescher has never been a big believer in momentum but the changes at Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing over the last two seasons have prompted him to reconsider.

Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, King's Hawaiian Ford Mustang Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Fastenal Ford Mustang

Former Cup champion Brad Keselowski's addition as a driver and part-owner to the organization prior to the start of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season has been transformative in many ways.

One of the main goals of the move, of course, was to improve the organization’s performance. There were glimpses in 2022, including Keselowski and Buescher’s wins in the Daytona 500 qualifying races and Buescher winning the Bristol Night Race last fall.

Neither driver advanced to the playoffs last season, but both find themselves still in the thick of the hunt this year. The series moves to Pocono Raceway this season, where Buescher earned his first Cup victory in 2016.

The 30-year-old native of Prosper, Tex., has a unique perspective on the changes over time through two different stints as a driver for RFK Racing.

“I’ve been here – not quite consecutively – but 15 years essentially at RFK and have seen this place at some of its ultimate highs and I would say its ultimate low as well,” he said. “The upswing and seeing the people that have been here much longer than me, seeing everybody’s attitude and kind of a little extra bounce in their step, seeing the progress, seeing where we’re heading, feeling like things are clicking, it means something to everybody, to the hundreds of people here.

“It means a lot to me to be here and be working alongside Brad to kind of get that gradual swing and get it back heading in the right direction as well.”

Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang, Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Fastenal Ford Mustang

Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang, Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Fastenal Ford Mustang

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Prior to Keselowski’s arrival, team owner Jack Roush had a rich history in NASCAR competition with multiple championships across all three national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks – and had amassed 325 wins.

However, the organization had struggled in recent seasons, with its last championship coming in 2015 (Buescher in Xfinity) and its last Cup win (prior to last season) in 2017 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.).

The organization had remained competitive at certain tracks – especially superspeedways – but week-to-week consistency was hard to come by.

Visible improvement

RFK took a big step forward in that direction last year and has seen an even more pronounced improvement this season. Through 20 of 36 races, Buescher enjoys the best average starting (15.3) and finishing positions (14.0) of his Cup career.

“I used to laugh at some of the momentum talk in our sport early on and now I mock myself for laughing because it’s a real thing and I’ve seen it more than not now,” Buescher said.

“When we’re able to go to a Gateway and be competitive and then we’re able to go to Atlanta and be competitive and go to Sonoma and be competitive, it just helps build it. It brings that momentum with us week-in and week-out knowing that we have a baseline that’s been solid for us, that we can be competitive at all these places.

“Knowing that we don’t have to get through a race and look six weeks ahead and say, ‘This is the next one we have circled.’ We don’t have anything circled as a specific race anymore. We’re looking at every week as an opportunity for us to, one, win races, or, two, improve on the big progress that we’ve already made.”

Race winner Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang

Race winner Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

That’s not to say RFK Racing still doesn’t have work to do.

For example, neither driver has a win yet this season, which would lock them into the playoffs and avoid the fixation on the up-and-down nature of the points standings.

But seeing the possibility of winning on a regular basis has been a game-changer, Buescher said.

“This season we have high goals, and it was to win races, make it into the playoffs, but also drive through the playoffs. We haven’t met those yet and we don’t have a way to say yay or nay on in the playoffs or through them, but we don’t have that checkered flag yet, either,” he said.

“We’ve been close at times, but we have a couple things that just need to be cleaned up. Some of it is execution; some of it I needed to make better decisions inside the race car. Sometimes, we needed faster race cars.

“We’re all working really hard in this massive team sport to figure it out, but there is an obvious energy in the shop and there has been massive progression in the last 18 months at this point.”

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Shane van Gisbergen to run NASCAR Cup race at Indianapolis
Next article Justin Haley to join Rick Ware Racing in multi-year deal

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA