With the help of some lengthy cautions late in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Saturday, Chris Buescher was able to stretch his fuel mileage to his first-career Nationwide win and the first win of the season for Roush Fenway Racing in series competition.
“That was incredible,” Buescher said. I can’t believe this is happening at this point.”
Regan Smith was second,Brian Scott third, Chase Elliott fourth, and Alex Tagliani, the road course specialist enlisted by Team Penske, finished fifth.
Buescher inherited the race lead when Brendan Gaughan gave up the position to pit on lap 66 of the 90-lap race. Instead of pitting, Buescher stayed out the remaining distance and stayed up front the rest of the way.
“Just coasting, knowing that we had a big shortage to make up,” Buescher said.
Scott dominated the race early, leading every lap untilSam Hornish Jr. took the lead on a restart on lap 32. Scott retook the lead on the next restart that followed a lap 42 caution, and Hornish continued on in second until he headed to the garage with smoke billowing out of his car when a yellow flag waved around lap 50. Up to that point, Hornish hadn’t been scored lower than third in the running order.
Scott and the other front-runners pitted under the caution while six cars, including Trevor Bayne, stayed out to restart in the top-two spots.
When the race restarted, Gaughan quickly moved up to second and then to the lead when Bayne made a green-flag stop. Gaughan continued on up front until pitting and giving up the lead to Buescher.
Meanwhile, Scott worked his way back toward the front and battled Tagliani on the way.
“He kinda dive-bombed me, wich is fine,” Scott said. “I gave him room, but he drove me int the dirt and continued to drive me in the dirt.”
Scott made his way up to a battle with Smith for for the second spot with four laps to go, but Smith, who thought he was down a cylinder a few laps prior, held on to the spot.
“When I first came off pit road, I thought it was a cylinder, the way it felt,” Smith said.
Justin Marks was sixth, Elliott Sadler finished seventh, Dylan Kwasniewski was eighth, Bayne ninth, and Dakoda Armstrong finished 10th.