Story By: BRANDON LEE / RFK RACING – MARTINSVILLE, VA – Chris Buescher and the No. 17 Fastenal team again showed impressive improvement in their short-track program in Saturday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway, as Buescher finished 15th in a race dominated by green-flag conditions and weather.
Green flag conditions dominated much of Saturday night as Brad Keselowski drove his Fastenal Ford Mustang to a 17th-place finish.
Buescher Earns 15th-Place Finish
Buescher started the weekend off with a huge success, not only advancing to the final round of Friday’s qualifying, but putting his Fastenal machine fourth in time trials, a career effort for the 29-year-old. Saturday’s race this year featured just 400 laps, 100 short of the scheduled distance in past seasons.
The green flag dropped after a delay due to weather as Buescher maintained his top-10 position for much of the first stage, which ran 80 laps. He would, however, finish the stage in 17th as the handling shifted not in his favor during the late stages of the run.
He would close the caution-free stage two in the same position, and went on to battle in the cold and closing laps to record his seventh top-15 at Martinsville, and second-straight this season.
Keselowski Finishes 17th In Cold Martinsville Night Race
A two-time winner at ‘The Paperclip,’ Keselowski put himself in a solid position in Friday’s qualifying session, advancing to the final round to qualify ninth. Weather played a large factor in Saturday’s action as unexpected rain delayed the initial start of the race, while near-freezing temperatures had an effect on the quality of racing and tire wear.
Keselowski kept his No. 6 machine inside the top-10 for much of the opening 80-lap stage, but conditions fell off late in the run as he would cross the line 13th for stage one. Following a penalty for stopping in the wrong pit stall in his first opportunity of the evening, Keselowski would restart tail end of the field, but worked his way back from it to 20th by the end of the second stage that saw no breaks.
From there, just two yellow flags were displayed – one on lap 313, and another with five laps to go – as Keselowski battled to gain much of his track position back, before ultimately going on to finish 17th.
The NASCAR Cup schedule heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend for the second attempt at racing on dirt. Sunday’s main event is set for 7 p.m. ET (FOX), with heat races slated for Saturday night. Race coverage can also be heard on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.