Chris Buescher started the Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway as one of five drivers above the post-season cut line by points. He ended the race as a driver locked in the NASCAR Playoffs.
The Cook Out 400 was one of five remaining races in the regular season. As previously mentioned, there were five drivers that were starting the race with enough points to be in the post-season. Each of those drivers knew that if a driver below the cut line were to win the race, there would be one less position available to be filled based on points. They also knew that if they were to win the race, that would lock them in the Playoffs.
The race was quite tamed for a short track race in the NASCAR Cup Series. There were only three caution periods and two of those were at the end of stages one and two. Tyler Reddick was the winner in stage one while Brad Keselowski won stage two.
Brad actually looked to be the car to beat as he led the most laps in the race with 102 circuits as the leader. However, it would be strategy that would ultimately prove to be the winning play.
Brad’s teammate Chris Buescher played a strategy that would allow him to not only lead the second most laps in the race (88), it would put him out front when it mattered the most. Chris was able to get out front and lead all but one of the last 54 laps in the race. Chris took the lead on lap 347 and was cruising to the win with a comfortable lead. Then, the only caution issued for an incident on the track came out on lap 392.
Chris re-started the race as the leader with four laps remaining in the 400-lap race. He was able to race back out and hold that lead for those final laps in the race. Chris scored his first win at Richmond Raceway in the Cup Series and his first win of the 2023 season. It was his third career win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Denny Hamlin took home the runner-up finish. Kyle Busch claimed third-place. See the complete race results for the Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway here.
Following the Richmond race, Martin Truex Jr. remains the leader in the point standings. Denny Hamlin and William Byron swap places with Denny in second and William in third. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series Point Standings here.
NASCAR heads from the short track to the high speeds of the two-mile Michigan International Speedway Sunday, August 6th for the FireKeepers Casino 400 next.
(Feature photo credit: YouTube)
By: Buck Stevens