Chris Buescher To Miss Cup Series Trip to WWTR

Chris Buescher

Getty Chris Buescher has tested positive for COVID-19.

The No. 17 RFK Racing Ford Mustang will have a new driver for the Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Chris Buescher will miss the race after testing positive for COVID-19.

RFK Racing announced the news on June 2. The team confirmed that Buescher has tested positive and that he plans on returning for the June 12 race at Sonoma Raceway. Meanwhile, Front Row Motorsports driver Zane Smith will step in and take over the No. 17 Ford while making his NASCAR Cup Series debut. He will become the 24th driver to control a Ford for Jack Roush in the Cup Series.

Buescher, who made his full-time Cup Series debut during the 2016 season, will miss the first race of his career. He had started 230 consecutive races as a full-time driver while posting 31 top-10 finishes, seven top-fives, and one win. He also won the first Busch Light Pole of his career on May 2 at Dover Motor Speedway.

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Smith Has Experience at World Wide Technology Raceway

Smith may not have any Cup Series experience in his career, but he will bring something important to the table while serving as the fill-in driver. He has previous experience at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The California native has made three starts at the 1.25-mile track during his Truck Series career, and he has posted two top-10 finishes and one top-five. Though his most recent outing came to an early end due to mechanical issues. Smith will now use this experience while pulling double-duty.

Smith is in the midst of a career-best season while driving for Front Row Motorsports. He has eight top-10 finishes and five top-10s while putting himself in playoff contention. He also has three wins, marking the first time in his career that he has won multiple times in a single season.

Very Few Drivers Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

Chris Buescher

GettyChris Buescher celebrates his Busch Light Pole win.

With Buescher testing positive for COVID-19 and missing the trip to World Wide Technology Raceway, he joins a list of select Cup Series drivers. Very few have missed a race due to the virus.

Jimmie Johnson was the first. He tested positive in July 2020 and missed the Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier stepped in and took over the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro, but he finished 37th after a crash.

Austin Dillon was the next to miss a Cup Series race after testing positive for COVID-19. He was absent for the August 2020 trip to the Daytona Road Course. Kaz Grala took over the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro and finished seventh overall.

The most recent example is Spire Motorsports driver Corey LaJoie. He tested positive in August 2021, which knocked him out of the Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. LaJoie entered the mandatory seven-day quarantine while JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry replaced him in the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro and finished 26th.

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