Chris Buescher has quietly earned respect and admiration from those in the NASCAR Cup Series garage, and is no longer a surprise pick – he’s a threat. Now an eight year veteran at NASCAR’s top level, and a former Xfinity Series Champion, Buescher experienced a record year in 2023, and the numbers speak for themselves. […]
Chris Buescher has quietly earned respect and admiration from those in the NASCAR Cup Series garage, and is no longer a surprise pick – he’s a threat. Now an eight year veteran at NASCAR’s top level, and a former Xfinity Series Champion, Buescher experienced a record year in 2023, and the numbers speak for themselves.
Now 31, the Texas native was named the Cup Series’ Most Improved Driver, as voted on by the fans. Buescher won three races in a stretch of five weeks, and was one of only six drivers to win at least three races in 2023. He and the No. 17 team earned a seventh-place finish in the final points standings, by far the best of his Cup career.
His season began with another strong showing in the Daytona 500 (P4), and he went on to earn eight top-10s in the first half of the calendar year. While he was well within the playoff picture at the time, Buescher solidified that position by earning his first win at Richmond the last weekend in July. He backed that up with an impressive late-race run on a Monday in Michigan just a week later. His third and final win came in Daytona at the end of August, as teammate and co-owner Brad Keselowski pushed him to victory in a dream finish for RFK in the regular-season finale.
His road course prowess continued into 2023, earning five more top-10s on those track types. He at one point carried a streak of eight-straight top-10s on road courses, the longest of any driver in the garage. Dating back to the start of 2020, Buescher ranks second in average finish on road courses (10.3) with 11 top-10s in that stretch alone.
When you look at the numbers, no team or driver had a better improvement. Buescher ranked second in average race finish (12.1), the biggest improvement in the sport year over year. He set career highs in every category imaginable, including top-10s (17), top fives (nine), laps led (255), and average start (14.8). He was notably one of only two drivers in the playoff field to have just one DNF or less, and completed 99.2 of the total laps run in 2023.
Buescher and the No. 17 team made the most of return trips to tracks on the circuit, netting a total of 59 positions at those events. Of the nine track surfaces NASCAR visits twice, Buescher improved his finish in seven of those on the return trip, further indicating the team’s rise throughout the season. The team also improved to 11th in race speed (median lap rank), an improvement of six positions year over year, and finished 13th in qualifying result.
The 2022 calendar year was a big one for Chris Buescher, who experienced a bevy of superlatives, which at the time were all career highs. His win in the Bristol Night Race in the fall was by far the highlight, a race where RFK led a combined 278 laps and Buescher led 169 of his own in what was his 250th career Cup start.
Rewinding to the start of the season, the Texas native won his Duel race at Daytona to complete the RFK sweep of the qualifying races for the Daytona 500. After a handful of races adjusting to the new, Next Gen car early on, Buescher strung together back-to-back top-10s at Phoenix and Atlanta in the spring.
Fast forward to Dover in May when Buescher earned his first career pole and backed it up with an eighth-place finish. The summer was highlighted by a runner-up finish at Sonoma where he and eventual winner Daniel Suarez battled for much of the afternoon. Other highlight finishes include a P3 run at Richmond in the late summer when Buescher competed for the win for much of the closing laps.
The No. 17 team impressed in qualifying efforts throughout the season with 10 starts inside the top-10, highlighted by the Dover pole, fourth at Martinsville in the spring, third at Sonoma and fifth at Pocono, showing the team’s versatility across different track types.
The 2021 season saw the 29-year-old better his average finish by more than two positions in a season that was ultra-competitive with 16 different winners and limited practice and qualifying. He and the 17 team just missed out on the NASCAR Playoffs while he matched his top-10 total from 2020 with eight.
Just three races in, Buescher was the talk of Homestead after he won the opening stage and led 57 laps, one of his two stage wins on the season (Talladega). Overall Buescher led laps in six events throughout the 2021 campaign, including Homestead, Darlington, Pocono II, Daytona, Talladega and the Charlotte ROVAL. He ended the year strong with three top-12s in the final five races, including a third-place run on the ROVAL and ninth at Martinsville.
Buescher’s 2020 season began with a third-place finish at the Daytona 500. Fast forward to May, in the sport’s return to racing, and Buescher had finished top-20 in all four races to date. He and the team followed that with a strong 10th-place run in NASCAR’s longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600.
Following a 13th-place finish in the first Martinsville event, Buescher headed to Talladega poised for another Superspeedway surprise. He left with a sixth-place run but didn’t stop there. The next weekend at Pocono, in a historic moment for NASCAR with the first-ever Cup Series doubleheader, Buescher ran 10th in the opening race at the same track his lone cup win came at in 2016.
Fast forward again, this time to mid-August, which again brought a historic moment with the NCS visiting the Daytona Road Course for the first time. Buescher, an established road racer, took advantage of the opportunity by powering his Ford to a fifth-place run. Over the next seven races the No. 17 team finished in the top-15 or better four times, including three top-10s with finishes of ninth in the Daytona Superspeedway race, eighth in Bristol, and ninth in Las Vegas.
Buescher is the winner of Jack Roush’s most recent NASCAR Championship, having claimed the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship. He won three races overall for Jack Roush in NXS action, including two in the 2015 Championship season.
The native of Prosper, Texas, ran a three-year stint in the No. 37 Cup car for JTG Daugherty Racing, where he earned 10 combined top-10 results. Before his time at JTG, Buescher spent one season in the No. 34 Cup entry for Front Row Motorsports, where he won the August Pocono race and qualified for the 2016 NASCAR Playoffs.
Buescher finished the 2019 season 20th in the point standings, four spots better than a year prior, and also tabbed an average finish of 17.8 — more than three positions improved from the previous season.
The 2015 NXS Champion first joined Roush Fenway as a development driver in 2009, winning the 2012 ARCA Series championship in a partnership with Roulo Brothers Racing. He made his NXS debut for Roush Fenway in 2011 and transitioned to full-time action in the NXS in 2014. In 2015 he brought home Jack Roush’s eighth NASCAR Championship, dominating the series while leading the NXS standings for 24 consecutive weeks.
Before entering the scene in NASCAR’s premier series, Buescher collected 36 top-10s, 16 top-fives and three wins in the NXS from 2011-15 in just 74 races. In 2015 alone he earned 20 top-10 results, 11 of which were top-fives, en route to the title. He earned his first career victory at Mid-Ohio in 2014 and finished that season seventh in points with 14 overall top-10s.
Buscher spent five combined seasons in the ARCA Menards series running a total of 57 events. He finished top-10 or better in an impressive 75 percent of those races with 43 overall top-10s, 33 of which were inside the top-five. Overall he won 10 ARCA events and claimed five poles, and at the time was one of only six drivers in ARCA history to win on all track types (Superspeedways, Short Tracks, Dirt Tracks, Road Courses).
He became the youngest ARCA champion in history at age 19, completing every single lap of competition that season. He won four events in 2012 and finished top-10 in 16 of 19 races with an average finish of 5.9.
A year prior, Buescher earned 2011 ARCA Series Rookie of the Year honors and was the Hoosier Superspeedway Challenger winner, where he claimed three wins and an additional 16 top-10 results. In 2009 – his first entry into the ARCA Series – Buescher became the youngest pole winner in the 57-year history of the series and went on to earn five top-10s.
Buescher’s introduction into racing began at an early age, where he began competing in motocross at age 6. He earned 40 victories in Motocross before transitioning to four wheels and a roll cage. From there he entered the Bandalero scene, where he picked up more than 50 INEX Bandalero wins including the Bandalero Nationals in 2004 at age 12.
He became the youngest Pro Winner in INEX Legends Cars in 2005 at age 13 and earned more than 100 wins in Legends cars. Buescher also raced in the ASA West Coast Trucks, where he picked up three wins and two runner-up results in 2008.
Buescher and his wife Emma married on Easter weekend in 2018. They welcomed their first child, a girl, Charley, in December of 2022, and are expecting another child in 2024. Together they are avid animal lovers and have three rescue dogs – Cooper, Addie and Dozer – and also have one rescue cat, Baden. Buescher is a lover of the outdoors and enjoys riding ATVs both during the season on the road and in the offseason. He also enjoys spending time working around the farm, tending to various vehicle projects, and maintaining the land he and Emma continue to build upon.