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Roush duo ready for Darlington

Teammates Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher both have their sights set on a good day in Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN).

The Roush Fenway Racing duo has combined for a mixed bag of performance in the NASCAR Cup Series’ opening 11 races. Buescher enters Darlington 15th in the series standings with a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit, the latest coming last weekend at Kansas Speedway.

He’ll make his eighth career Darlington start on Sunday, a track that despite having an average finish of 20th dating back to 2016 he considers one of his favorites.

“Darlington is probably my second-favorite track behind only Bristol, so racing there has always been fun for me, even though it does bring its own set of unique challenges,” Buescher explained.

“Tire wear is obviously king there, and keeping the car off the wall is key, too, with a long race that requires your best stuff late. We didn’t fare so well last season in Darlington, so our hope is to turn that around and have another good day come Sunday in the Fifth Third Ford.”

Veteran crew chief Luke Lambert will call the shots for Buescher. Lambert will call his 11th Cup race at Darlington Sunday. In 10 prior starts, he has an average finish of 19.6 with three top 10s, all of which came with Ryan Newman. They ran 10th in 2014, and followed that with finishes of eighth and seventh in 2016 and 17.

Speaking of Newman, Darlington career start No. 25 will come for the veteran on Sunday. In 24 prior starts, Newman has 13 top 10s, seven of which were inside the top five. He’s led 339 laps at “The Lady in Black” with a best finish of second in his first-ever Southern 500 back in 2002.

Newman comes to “The Track too Tough to Tame” after rallying for a 16th-place finish in Kansas a week ago. He has slipped to 20th in the series standings but is optimistic things will head in a better direction on Sunday as part of “Throwback Weekend.”

“I’m always excited to go back to Darlington, which stands as my favorite track and one that fits my favorite style of racing,” he said. “We put together three decent finishes there in three tries a season ago, so I think we’re on the right track in figuring out the right setup for 400 miles.

“Seeing all the different throwbacks for this race is always something different to experience, and we’re proud to carry a unique throwback of our own with Kohler going back to its early roots in racing with a scheme from the 70s.”