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How Far can Chris Buescher Go in the Playoffs?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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Chris Buescher has gone on an unexpected tear over the end of the regular season. He has won three of the last five races, and he is now the fourth seed heading into the Playoffs. He is a definite dark horse to go far in the Playoffs, but how far can he go? Let’s take a look at how the Playoff schedule either favors or poses an obstacle for Buescher.

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Round 1: Darlington, Kansas, and Bristol

Darlington is a track that Buescher has had success at in the past, and he finished a solid 10th there in the spring. He won at Bristol last season during the Playoffs despite not being a Playoff driver. Kansas is the track that is a concern for Buescher.

He qualified 14th and finished 17th there in the spring, but he did finish a solid sixth in stage two. He has also improved his performance on intermediate race tracks in recent races with a win at Michigan and a top-10 finish at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600. Given his recent history and momentum, there is no reason to think Buescher will not advance past round one.

Verdict: Favorable

Round 2: Texas, Talladega, Charlotte ROVAL

Round two has a race number two at Talladega Superspeedway, and Buescher will be a threat to win that race. He finished in the top-5 in the Daytona 500 and the spring race at Talladega along with winning last weekend at Daytona. The final race of the round is at the Charlotte ROVAL, where Buscher finished 3rd in 2021 and 6th in 2022.

Texas, Buescher’s home track, is the race that could be a concern. Buescher’s best finish at the track in a points race is 15th, which came in April of 2018 with JTG Daugherty. If he can get through that race unscathed, he has the ability to run well and even win at Talladega and the Charlotte ROVAL. However, those two races are major wild cards, and he could just as easily win as he could find himself in someone else’s mess.

Verdict: Somewhat Favorable

Round 3: Las Vegas, Homestead-Miami, and Martinsville

This round is a bit tougher to predict for Buescher. He finished 21st at Las Vegas in the spring, and he has failed to earn a top-10 in his career at Homestead-Miami. He did lead 57 laps en route to a stage win at the track in 2021, but he finished 19th.

At Martinsville, he finished 14th in the spring, but he qualified in the top-10, and qualifying well is going to be vital to Playoff drivers at Martinsville. However, a solid run may not be enough when the Round of Eight comes around. Sure, Buescher has won on an intermediate (Michigan) and a short track (Richmond), but these tracks are just not his best.

Verdict: Unfavorable

Championship 4: Phoenix

In his career at Phoenix, Buescher has a best career finish of 10th, and he finished 15th there in the spring. At tracks most similar to Phoenix, New Hampshire and Gateway, Buescher finished in 15th and 12th respectively this season. That is not good enough once the Championship 4 comes around.

If you want to win the Championship at Phoenix, you need to have a race-winning car. Never in the history of this format has the Champion not won the final race, and is Buescher going to be able to do that? That is uncertain as of now.

Verdict: Unfavorable

Conclusion

Buescher is definitely primed to make a deep Playoff run, and not making it past the Round of 16 would be a disappointment. The Round of Eight is definitely attainable, but, beyond that, the road gets tougher for Buescher. He is not outside of the Championship bubble, but he will have to dig deep and run well at some tracks he has struggled at for it to happen.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts