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Chris Buescher wins at Richmond and secures spot in NASCAR playoffs

Tyler Reddick leads the field into Turn 1 at the start of a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Skip Rowland)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Chris Buescher pulled away on a restart with three laps to go and won at Richmond Raceway on Sunday, earning himself a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Buescher led 88 laps. He was ahead by nearly six seconds when a caution came out with under 10 laps to go. That erased his sizeable lead over local favorite Denny Hamlin, but when the race went back to green, Buescher pulled away easily.

He and RFK Racing teammate Brad Keselowski led a combined 190 of the 400 laps, with Keselowski’s Ford pacing the field for 102 laps on the 0.75-mile oval.

Hamlin, coming off a victory last weekend at Pocono, finished second, followed by Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Ryan Preece.

The race was slowed just three times by caution flags, the last sending the leaders to pit road for four tires with eight laps to go. When the green flag was shown again, Buescher used the inside line to pull away for his third career victory.

Hamlin’s bid for the victory ended on the second lap of the final sprint when he drove in too deep in the first turn and slid up the track. He finished 0.549 seconds behind Buescher, with Busch winding up 0.817 off the winning pace.


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