Ford Rookie Captures Weather Shortened Pocono Sprint Cup Race

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Rookie of the year candidate Chris Buescher gambled on the Pocono weather when a late race caution brought the majority of the field to pit-road, Buescher stayed on the track and was the leader when NASCAR brought out the red flag for fog so thick you couldFord Buescher Pocono Sprint Cup Nascar Racenot see turn one or the Long Pond straight at the track nestled in the Pennsylvania hills. Pocono earned the dubious distinction of being the only race track in NASCAR history where two events were postponed by weather in the same year. Sunday’s race was delayed until Monday morning due to intermittent showers that prevented the track from becoming race ready. Monday’s race was run under the constant threat of rain until it was stopped at lap 138 for fog and eventually called as rain showers finally soaked the track. Buescher, driving the Frontrow Motorsports number 34 Ford Fusion, benefited from the rainout by posting his first victory on the Sprint Cup circuit.Joey Logano had one of the strongest cars in the field, leading 38 laps before getting caught up in a wreck with Chase Elliott on lap 115 that ended the day for the Team Penske driver. Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski finished second by employing the same stay-on-the-track strategy as Buescher for the last caution. It now appears Ford may have 3 teams contending for the 2016 Sprint Cup title.Buescher, the 2015 Infinity Series champion, will earn an automatic entry into NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup Playoff if he can finish in the top 30 of the series points standings. He is currently 31st just 6 points out of that all-important 30th qualifying position. It won’t be an easy task for the for the 23-year-old Buescher considering his only top 20 finishes of the year were 18th at Dover and 14th at Indianapolis, prior to the Pocono win his average finishing position was 29th. If Buescher is able to capture one of the 16 Chase spots it will leave only four positions open for non-winners as Tony Stewart, the Sonoma winner, appears safely in holding a 66-point lead over 30th position. The win by Buescher virtually eliminates Ford drivers Trevor Bayne, Ryan Blaney, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from making the playoffs on points as they stand 37, 37, and 45 points respectively out of a qualifying spot with just five races remaining before the Chase begins.Next Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen could produce another 1st-time winner and further jumble the playoff standings before the circuit takes a 1-week breather, resuming at Bristol on Saturday night August 20th.

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.