DOVER, Del.—Chris Buescher had enough fuel left at the end of Saturday’s Buckle Up 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway to do a celebratory burnout, but his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford wasn’t the only thing that was smoking after the checkered flag.
Yes, Buescher won for the second time this season and extended his lead in the series standings to 15 points over eighth-place finisher Ty Dillon, but his winning pass of teammate and Coors Light Polesitter Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. left Wallace fuming.
Contact between the cars on Lap 191 of 200 cut the left front tire of Wallace’s No. 6 Ford and forced the car to pit road for an unplanned stop.
While Buescher spent the final nine laps coasting to an 11.477-second victory over runner-up Matt Kenseth, stretching 98 laps out of his last tank of fuel, Wallace left the Monster Mile in 17th place—and understandably unhappy about it.
“I was saving fuel there, and Chris just ran over me and he ends up winning,” Wallace said. “It should be interesting Monday morning (in the team competition meeting). We just got run over. It sucks that it was my teammate. I thought he got help from the 7 (third-place finisher Regan Smith), but I just saw the replay there.
“I was saving fuel. I didn’t think I was holding him tight and the next thing you know we’re almost in the fence,” continued Wallace, a NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity alum. “The crappy part about it is we had a really strong Ford EcoBoost Mustang, and we couldn’t get off pit road to save us, and we got caught in dirty air, and then we were in fuel saving mode. I thought we were doing OK until that little incident. I would say I am happy Roush won but I’m not.”
The victory was Buescher’s third in the series and his second in the last three races. The winner pointed out that his teammate, who also was on fuel-conservation strategy, was running a slower pace when Buescher caught him.
“That was tough, because we are sitting there, and he was saving a lot more fuel than I was because they were shorter, and I was able to run into the corner harder, but I couldn’t do anything with the track being pretty narrow and two guys racing for the win,” Buescher said.
“It was tough. We got side by side and it (Buescher’s car) got pretty free, but this Roush Mustang was good all weekend. The race wasn’t exactly where we needed to be, but then (crew chief) Scott (Graves) pulled great strategy and the team did a nice job, and we got to Victory Lane with this Ford.”
As the highest finisher among eligible series regulars, Regan Smith, who thought he was racing Kenseth for the win before Buescher’s fuel strategy paid off, won the $100,000 XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.
“We’ll take some of XFINITY’s money as a consolation prize, but I want a win so freaking bad,” Smith said.
Buescher, Smith, sixth-place finisher Chase Elliott and seventh-place Brendan Gaughan are the four drivers eligible for the money in the second of four Dash 4 Cash races on July 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Note: Sprint Cup regulars Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne finished fourth and fifth, respectively, but in post-race inspection, Dillon’s car was deemed too low in the rear on both sides. If penalties are forthcoming, NASCAR will announce them next week.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket
- (2) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, $63702.
- (3) Matt Kenseth(i), Toyota, 200, $35286.
- (10) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200, $34150.
- (8) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200, $24083.
- (7) Kasey Kahne(i), Chevrolet, 200, $22598.
- (14) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 199, $27877.
- (11) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 199, $26457.
- (12) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 199, $26215.
- (6) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 199, $28716.
- (15) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 198, $26362.
- (17) Ryan Reed, Ford, 198, $25158.
- (18) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 198, $25031.
- (24) David Starr, Toyota, 198, $24931.
- (19) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 198, $24803.
- (16) John Wes Townley(i), Chevrolet, 198, $25328.
- (21) Ross Chastain #, Chevrolet, 198, $25652.
- (1) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Ford, 197, $27976.
- (23) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 197, $24526.
- (4) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 197, $24475.
- (20) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 197, $24925.
- (13) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 196, $24369.
- (28) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 195, $24263.
- (37) CJ Faison, Toyota, 194, $24186.
- (30) Eric McClure, Toyota, 193, $24111.
- (32) Peyton Sellers #, Chevrolet, 193, $24210.
- (34) Harrison Rhodes #, Chevrolet, 192, $24009.
- (33) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 191, $17959.
- (38) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 187, $17883.
- (35) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 179, $23808.
- (25) Blake Koch, Toyota, Accident, 171, $24057.
- (36) Timmy Hill(i), Dodge, Suspension, 159, $17701.
- (29) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 147, $23640.
- (26) Cale Conley #, Toyota, Accident, 135, $23575.
- (9) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 131, $23540.
- (40) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Suspension, 113, $17499.
- (5) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, Accident, 63, $21806.
- (22) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, Accident, 62, $20806.
- (27) Carl Long, Toyota, Engine, 33, $13806.
- (39) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Overheating, 33, $12806.
- (31) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 3, $11806.
Reid Spencer – NASCAR Wire Service
Image: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images