Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

2019 Cup Series Season Preview: Chris Buescher

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season for the full-time drivers in the series leading into February’s 61st annual running of the Daytona 500.

Age: 26

Years in Cup: Three

Career Wins: One

Fresh off his best season from an average finish perspective, Chris Buescher will enter his fourth full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, his third with JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 37 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Since his upset victory in the fog shortened race at Pocono in July 2016, Buescher is looking for his second playoff appearance and second career win in 2019 after having an improved 2018 campaign where he scored his first set of top-fives since his rookie season in 2016. Both of which took place at Daytona International Speedway.

Buescher finished fifth in both races, surviving the attrition, and finding the right place and partner to move up the running order in the closing laps. While coming up short in both races, it makes him a dark horse contender for the 61st Daytona 500.

Outside of the “World Center of Racing,” the Prosper, Texas native’s performances flew under the radar, but he has been relatively consistent with an average finish of 21.0 and a 24th place points finish. This is despite having two fewer top-10 finishes from 2017 and leading just a single lap at Talladega in May, where he ended up 11th compared to 12 in 2016 and five in 2017.

Qualifying is where Buescher has shown solid improvement, going from a 25.3 in 2017 to a 21.6 in 2018, with two top-10 starting positions at the spring race at Kansas and the Roval at Charlotte, qualifying 10th in both races.

In his last five races, Buescher finished inside the top-20 in three of those, most notably with a 13th-place result at Martinsville.

Entering last season’s finale at Homestead, Buescher hoped to finish the season strong but wound up a lap down in 23rd. However, he couldn’t thank his sponsors and race team enough on stepping up from 2017.

“I want to thank all of our partners this season, and especially Kroger for stepping up with the No. 37 team like they did,” said Buescher. “I’m happy to have found a home at JTG Daugherty Racing and I’m excited to have an opportunity to finish out the season strong in the Scott ComfortPlus Camaro ZL1. The colors are definitely Miami-ready, and we’re going to finish out this season on a high note before we head into the offseason and get ready to do it all over again in February.”

No notable changes from the No. 37 team other than the addition of rookie Ryan Preece as Buescher’s teammate.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis does video and photography, and is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.