The No. 17 RFK Racing Ford is back in Victory Lane. Christopher Buescher won the Bristol Motor Speedway night race and snapped a winless streak for the Cup Series organization dating back to the 2017 season.
Buescher snapped this streak in a unique way. He survived the battle of attrition and used a two-tire pit stop to take the lead late. He then navigated his way through lapped traffic while maintaining his lead over Chase Elliott, who was unable to chase down the RFK Racing driver.
Buescher crossed the finish line first and snapped his own personal winless streak that lasted 222 races. He also did so in his 250th Cup Series start, which added some significance to the evening.
The last driver to take RFK Racing to Victory Lane was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He won twice while driving the No. 17 Ford during the 2017 season. He first captured the trophy at Talladega Superspeedway before winning the summer race at Daytona International Speedway.
Buescher Helped Repeat NASCAR History
Buescher’s win was significant for himself and for RFK Racing. It was also a historic moment for the sport. Buescher was the 19th driver to win a race during the 2022 season, which ties the 2001 season for the most since 1972. Though 2022 sets the record for hitting this mark in only 29 races instead of 36.
The first year of the Next Gen era has been a complete surprise. There have been a surprising number of first-time winners, a list that includes Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suarez, and Ross Chastain. There are still seven races remaining in the season, so it’s possible that another could join this list and set a new mark for NASCAR.
Another fascinating part about the 2022 season is that the first round of the playoffs featured all non-playoff winners. Erik Jones won the Southern 500, Bubba Wallace won at Kansas Speedway, and Buescher won at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The lack of wins by playoff drivers meant that all of them were much closer to each other than they wanted. There was only one driver that had a secure spot in the Round of 12 entering the Bristol night race while the rest had to scratch and claw for every single point.
Another RFK Racing Driver Nearly Won
There were several drivers that drew attention heading toward Bristol Motor Speedway. This list included past winners in Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch. However, they were not the ones that celebrated at the end of the night.
Another past Bristol winner nearly took RFK Racing to Victory Lane. Driver-owner Brad Keselowski had a fast No. 6 Ford Mustang, which he used to take the lead during the final stage. He appeared to be well on his way to his first win of the year, but he suffered a flat tire like the majority of the Ford Performance drivers, which sent him to pit road from the lead.
Keselowski missed out on the opportunity to win his first race of the year and extend his consecutive seasons with a win to 12. Instead, he finished 13th after leading 109 total laps. This was the third-most behind Buescher (169) and Christopher Bell (143).
“It’s kind of like getting kicked in the balls and winning the lottery in the same day,” Keselowski told media members after the race ended. Though he also showed his excitement by celebrating with Buescher in Victory Lane.