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December 21, 2023

Chris Buescher 2023 season in review

Chris Buescher, driver of the #17 Nexletol Ford, walks the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway
Chris Graythen
Getty Images

Editor’s note: This continues the series where we review the top 20 in 2023 NASCAR Cup Series points.

Season in review: Chris Buescher, No. 17 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Ford
Crew Chief:
Scott Graves
Final 2023 Ranking:
Key stats:
Three wins, nine top fives, 17 top 10s, 255 laps led

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How 2023 ended: The soft-spoken Texan left no doubt that he is ready to be considered a player in the championship talk for seasons going forward. He advanced through the first two rounds of playoff competition after hoisting his third trophy of the year in the Daytona regular-season finale and earned five more top-10 finishes in the playoff portion of the schedule. A tough middle round — with back-to-back finishes of 14th (Texas) and 19th (Talladega) — ultimately sealed his fate in the playoffs, leading to an exit in the Round of 8. However, 2023 was still Buescher’s best season finish of his eight full-time campaigns.

Best race: Buescher’s first victory of the season at Richmond Raceway was a dramatic drive. After starting a deep 26th place on the grid, he rallied through the field and led a season-best 88 laps, winning by more than a half-second over Virginia’s own, Denny Hamlin.

RELATED: Chris Buescher clinches playoff berth with Richmond win

Other season highlights: Buescher’s 2023 season wasn’t just his “best,” but exponentially so. He tripled his previous single-season win total (three), tripled his previous best season top-five total (nine), and nearly doubled his career single-season top-10 total (17). His 255 laps led were also a career-high mark. Only two drivers won more races than Buescher in 2023.

Stat to Know: For the first time in his career, Buescher won back-to-back races; an inspired push forward from a mid-grid starting spot at the Richmond three-quarter miler and then the next week leading a race-best 52 laps the very next week to claim his first win at the 2-mile Michigan big track in a thriller over Martin Truex Jr.

Quotable: “Definitely not a rookie around here anymore. Been around a day or two and proud to keep figuring things out. I’m not going to stand here with any kind of ego and say, ‘I’ve got it all figured out.’ I learned a lot this season, and from my personal side of things, I have a lot to learn, yet, some growth to figure out how to be more competitive at certain trace tracks still. And to mentally be more prepared for certain situations. Our sport is ever-evolving, but it certainly was a big year for our growth and figuring out how to be more successful, and I’m ready to see what 2024 brings for us.” — Chris Buescher

RELATED: Chris Buescher wins regular-season finale at Daytona

Looking ahead: As Buescher himself concedes, the 2023 season was a turning point in his career. He turned in his first multi-race winning season and claimed the victory in the crucial Daytona regular-season finale. His five top 10s in the playoffs and advancement into the second round were also a career-best — all boosting his confidence and optimism heading into the 2024 season with Ford’s brand-new Mustang race car. It was important progress for Buescher personally but also for the Roush Fenway Keselowski Ford team, eager to place itself consistently as a bona fide contender.