Buescher won three of the five final races in the regular season but his journey since the start of the playoffs has been a rough ride.
His best finish was third in the opening race at Darlington but he’s finished 11th or worse in four of the last five races, including 21st Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Yeah, that was a brutal day. We worked hard on this (car) and got it better. We started off the race really tight and went a lap down and didn’t have any opportunities to get that back,” Buescher said.
“The cautions didn’t fall at the right time for us and about the time they would start the green flag (pit) cycles, something would happen. We couldn’t quite catch the break we needed. We did find some good speed and I feel like on equal tires there at the end we would have been able to move up quite a bit. It just wasn’t the case.”
With his No. 17 RFK Racing Ford running the best it had at the end of the race, Buescher was hoping for a late caution bunch the field a final time, but it was not to be.
“We finally got back on the lead lap with 30 (laps) to go but we had a fairly large tire deficit, and we were still able to run up on the last few guys that had pitted for tires,” he said.
“So, I knew we were improving, we just didn’t get to show it. We needed a caution with 20 to go and we would have been in a lot better shape.”
The disappointing finish left Buescher last in points among the six remaining playoff drivers vying for two remaining spots in the Championship 4.
Only a win at this weekend’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – and the automatic advancement that comes with it – can save Buescher’s title hopes now.
“Yeah, it is a must-win. There is no other way around that one now,” he said. “For us, I feel like we have brought really fast race cars to a lot of these tracks. “We obviously needed some tweaks (Sunday) and we did a good job during the race.”
One of Buescher’s three wins this season came at Richmond, Va., and he was fourth at last month’s race at Bristol, Tenn. – two tracks similar in size to Martinsville.