Chris Buescher wins 2nd straight Cup race at Michigan

Chris Buescher celebrates after his victory in Monday’s Cup Series race at Michigan. (Paul Sancya / AP Photo)

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Chris Buescher has earned half of his four career NASCAR Cup Series victories in a stunning, nine-day stretch of success.

Buescher won his second straight NASCAR Cup Series race by holding off points-leader Martin Truex late in the FireKeepers 400 on Monday and is surging with his top performances toward the end of the regular season.

“It’s certainly very good timing as we head into the playoffs in a few short weeks,” said the 30-year-old Buescher, who was in the No. 17 Ford for RFK Racing.

Buescher, who won last week at Richmond, led 52 of the 200 laps. With 12 laps left, Truex challenged him with door-to-door driving before sparks were seen under his No. 19 Toyota and he faded.

“I felt like we were a little better, but it is just really hard to pass the leader on equal tires,” Truex said.

Truex made a savvy move in the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing to win Stage 2. Shortly after pitting, he went high before dropping low to surge past Daniel Suarez and finished second to earn a 57-point lead over Denny Hamlin in the standings.

“He was a rocket most of the day and for Chris to hold him off is really impressive,” said Brad Keselowski, who was proud of his fourth-place finish as a driver and win as a part-owner of RFK Racing.

Hamlin was third followed by Keselowski and Kyle Larson.

Buescher gave Ford its ninth straight victory at Michigan to extend the longest winning streak by a manufacturer at a track that has hosted Cup races since 1969.

“To be here in Ford’s backyard and get this done and have so many Ford folks with us here, it is a special weekend,” he said. “You always have a little more on your shoulders here.”

The race was suspended Sunday due to rain, which delayed the start and later led to a red-flag stoppage that lasted 19-plus hours before the race resumed under cloudy skies the next day.

Two of the top drivers didn’t make it to Monday. Many of the fans that filled the stands and the infield on Sunday, giving the track one of its biggest crowds in years, did not return to see the end of the race.

William Byron and Kyle Busch, who have a combined seven wins this year, were knocked out of the competition on the first day of the two-day race. Busch spun out and hit a wall after making side-by-side contact with Ryan Blaney early in the race and Byron ran into a wall without anyone around him shortly after Truex won the first stage.

“I put myself in a bad spot,” Busch said. “I really hate that I did that.”

The series shifts to the Indianapolis Road Course — where Tyler Reddick won last year — for the Verizon 200 on Sunday.