Chris Buescher is looking to get his NASCAR Cup Series season off to a strong start at a track he has a great record at.
Daytona International Speedway is the home to Buescher’s two top-five finishes since joining the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team last season. He finished third in the Daytona 500 and fifth in the Cup Series’ debut at the Daytona road course. Both layouts will kick off the 2021 schedule on consecutive weekends starting with "The Great American Race" on Feb. 14.
"I absolutely look at the beginning of the schedule as a great opportunity for us," Buescher said. "I’m seeing Daytona three times with us being in the Clash.
"Definitely looking forward to getting the season off on the right foot."
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Buescher’s entry in the non-points paying Clash, which will kick off Speedweeks on Feb. 9, comes after he won the first stage last October at Talladega Superspeedway. In that event, Buescher dropped from sixth to 22nd in the finishing order after being penalized for forcing Chase Elliott below the yellow line on the final lap. The finish snapped Buescher’s streak of consecutive top 10s at superspeedways at three.
"We have really fast speedway cars at Roush Fenway Racing and that program is very solid," Buescher said. "We know we are going to have a good chance there. It will take that certain amount of luck of staying out of the mess and being in the right place at the right time. We know we’ll have the ability to go up towards the front and race that one out."
Including his start on the road course, Buescher’s last four of his six career top fives in the Cup Series have come at Daytona dating back to a pair of fifth-place finishes in 2018 when he was with JTG Daugherty Racing. His top five last August on the 14 turn, 3.61-mile layout was his first top 10 in 13 career road course starts.
"We were able to steadily get better for that entire day, especially starting out with no practice," Buescher said. "That was one of the wildest things we did last year was going to a track that we have never been to and starting Lap 1 was the green flag of our race. That was a tough one and it was cool to be able to progress as that race went on and keep getting better."