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Jim Utter

Buescher outduels Truex for Michigan Cup win

After the final round of green flag pitstops, Buescher cycled into the lead but with Truex – who had won the first two stages – close behind and a strong No. 19 Toyota.

With about 12 of 200 laps to go, Truex went to Buescher’s inside and edged ahead briefly for the lead.

Buescher, however, used the approaching lapped car of Michael McDowell as a pick and side-drafted Truex to pull back into the lead with 10 laps remaining.

From there, Buescher deftly remained ahead of Truex and edged him by 0.152 seconds at the checkered flag to claim his second consecutive win of the 2023 season.

The win is the fourth of Buescher’s career and it’s the first time since 2010 that Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing has won consecutive races.

“First off, thank you to all the fans who hung out on Monday with us. It’s awesome,” Buescher said. “I’m glad we got to get this whole thing in. I know it’s been a long weekend.

“My guys gave me a great car again. Had to work for that one too, hard racing at the end. Martin was very clean with me. I appreciate that. Get to go to Victory Lane two weeks in a row. That’s pretty awesome.”

Denny Hamlin ended up third, Buescher’s team-mate Brad Keselowski was fourth and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five (and was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to finish the race).

Completing the top-10 were Daniel Saurez, Ross Chastain, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.

Stage 1

On Sunday, Truex held off a late charge from Bubba Wallace on a restart with six laps remaining and claimed the Stage 1 win. Ty Gibbs was third, Keselowski fourth and Larson fifth.

While battling Blaney side-by-side for position, Kyle Busch spun and slammed into the Turn 2 wall, which knocked him out of the race after 15 laps.

Chase Elliott had a rear tire go down and crashed in Turn 2 just before the conclusion of the first stage which also sent him to the garage early.

Stage 2

Truex passed Suarez through the final turn on the last lap to win Stage 2 once the race resumed on Monday. Keselowski was third, Wallace fourth and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five.

Before the race was halted after lap 75 by rain on Sunday, Christopher Bell spun out early in the stage just after he took the lead from Bowman.

Stage 3

During the break between Stages 2 and 3, several lead-lap cars elected to pit for new tires and fuel, but Buescher stayed out and inherited the lead. Truex, first off pit road, lined up 10th on the restart.

Bowman became the third Hendrick Motorsports driver knocked out of the race after getting collected in a multi-car incident on the backstretch just as the final stage got underway.

Buescher and Tyler Reddick kicked off a final round of green flag pit stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race with just over 40 laps remaining in the race.

Reddick almost immediately had to return to pit road with a loose wheel, which required an extended stop.

Once the cycle of pit stops was completed, Buescher returned to the race lead with 18 laps remaining. Truex, however, was just three to four car lengths behind.

Truex got inside of Buescher and briefly moved out front only to see Buescher use a lapped car and side-draft him and return to the lead with 10 laps to go.

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