Team: No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang
Crew Chief: Luke Lambert
Twitter: @17RoushTeam, @RoushFenway and @Chris_Buescher
Race Format: 400.2 miles, 293 laps, Stage Lengths: 90-95-108
Darlington 400 – Sunday, May 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM Channel 90
NASCAR Returns to Action
- NASCAR makes its return to racing this weekend with a NASCAR Cup Series race that will serve as the first of seven national series races over an 11-day span at two different tracks throughout May.
- The race at the historic South Carolina track will be held without fans in attendance and is slated to be NASCAR’s first on-track action in more than two months as the sport and world have been on pause during COVID-19.
- Following the initial race back on Sunday, the NCS will again visit Darlington for a midweek race under the lights three days later. The May schedule also includes the crown jewel Coca-Cola 600 in its traditional Memorial Day Weekend home for the 60th consecutive season, plus other midweek races in prime time.
- Four weeks of NASCAR action were completed prior to the outbreak before races at Atlanta, Homestead, Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega, Dover and Martinsville were later postponed.
Buescher at Darlington Raceway
- Buescher makes his fifth Cup Series start at Darlington on Sunday, where he carries an average finish of 14.8 – his best of any track on the circuit.
- Buescher finished 12th last fall at ‘The Lady in Black,’ his best in four starts, and has finished no worse than 17th dating back to 2016.
- After qualifying 31st and 27th in his first two events at Darlington, Buescher followed that with qualifying efforts of 19th and 12th in the last two events.
- Buescher earned a Xfinity career-best fifth-place run at Darlington back in 2015 in the No. 60 RFR entry. He also finished 12th two years prior in the No. 16 for Jack Roush.
Luke Lambert at Darlington Raceway
- Lambert will be atop the box for his eighth NCS race at Darlington on Sunday. In seven prior events, he has an average finish of 16.4 including three top-10 runs.
- All three of those came with Newman in the No. 31, with a 10th-place result in 2014, an eighth-place finish in 2016 followed by seventh a year later.
- Lambert also has one Xfinity Series race under his belt at Darlington with Elliott Sadler in 2012, finishing 24th.
Buescher on racing at Darlington:
“We’re definitely excited to get back to a real racetrack. Darlington is probably my second-favorite racetrack, so I’m stoked about kicking it off there. It’s going to be tough with no practice and no fans, the atmosphere is going to be a lot different, but it’ll be great to be back to a racing routine.”
The Real Heroes Project Debuts at Darlington
NASCAR is collaborating with other professional sports properties across the country to embark on The Real Heroes Project. The goal is to motivate and inspire healthcare workers as sports only can, by turning its greatest heroes (the athletes) into their greatest fans. To that end, the name of a COVID-19 frontline worker will be displayed above the driver’s side door on each entry this weekend at Darlington.
For the first race back on May 17, NASCAR worked in partnership with FOX and their tune-in priority market affiliate program to select the COVID-19 worker being recognized. FOX affiliates from around the country were asked to nominate a local hero from their community to be recognized during the return. Buescher’s frontline worker will be Kimberly W. Ebb, MD, selected by WFXT Boston 25. Ebb is a Hospitalist, Medical Director, Division of Palliative Care, Home Health Hospice at the UMass Memorial Medical Center, hailing from Leominster, MA.
On the Car
Fastenal celebrates its 10th season with Roush Fenway Racing in 2020. The Minnesota company spent three years on the No. 99 before jumping to the No. 17 Cup Series entry, and were the primary partner on the No. 60 Xfinity team that captured the owner’s championship in 2011.
Fastenal [Nasdaq: FAST] is North America’s largest fastener distributor and a ‘one-stop’ source for hundreds of thousands of OEM, MRO and Construction products. With more than 2,600 stores worldwide, the company supports B2B customers with tailored local inventory and dedicated personnel, who visit regularly, quickly respond to emergency needs, and provide efficient inventory management solutions. Fastenal’s service-oriented business network includes the world’s largest industrial vending program, 14 regional distribution centers, 8 custom manufacturing facilities, thousands of delivery vehicles, and industry-leading sourcing, quality and engineering resources.