Chris Buescher headed to Auto Club Speedway for the first time this weekend with new partner Roush Performance Parts on board. The Rookie of the Year contender began the day in the 19th position, where he started off with a good race car that allowed him to remain in the top-20 for the entirety of the TREATMYCLOT.COM 300. After some successful adjustments on pit road, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was able to crack the top-15 by lap 72, where he would solidly remain for the majority of the second half of the 150 lap race; finishing in the 14thspot when the checkered flag waved.
“This place is tough,” said Buescher at the end of the day. “It was a pretty decent run for us overall. I think we are making gains. Our finish is a couple spots worse than maybe we could have been. I got the fence pretty good there with about 30 laps to go and you can see the damage. We got going pretty good and the Roush Performance Mustang was fast in the mid part of the race. Our times were really competitive. It is just a matter of starting better. That is something I know I have to work on and tell myself every week and these guys are doing a great job of helping me get there. We are going to be competitive by the end of this year.”
The Prosper, TX native came to Fontana with hopes that he could duplicate the success that he had at Michigan in 2013, a similar two-mile track at which he finished seventh. Buescher was quickly able to pick up the intricacies of the speedway, improving the No.60 Roush Performance Parts Mustang from 21st in first practice to 10th in final practice.
After making it to the second round of qualifying and securing a 19th place starting spot, Buescher hit the track with a Ford that may have been the best handing race car that he has had so far this season. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender fell back a lap early on, but some great work on pit road to correct a tight handling Mustang allowed Buescher to work his way up and secure the free pass when the yellow waved at lap 50.
Buescher reached as high as the 12th position by lap 123, but a slight scrape against the wall while running the high groove resulted in a tire rub, which set him back slightly. The No. 60 team worked to correct the damage when a caution came out on lap 129, and Buescher was able to race his way to the 14th spot by the end of the day.