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AP

Buescher looks to be playoff spoiler at home track Texas

Chris Buescher's win at Bristol last week marked the first time in this version of NASCAR's playoffs that drivers who are not racing for the championship swept the three races of the first round

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One of the first things Brad Keselowski did before buying into Jack Roush's race team was check the years remaining on the contract for Chris Buescher, the driver he was inheriting with his purchase.

He was pleased to learn that Buescher was locked down. But it wasn't long enough, in Keselowski's mind.

“I kind of felt like he was a hidden free agent gem that wasn’t being scouted properly and felt that way for a handful of years,” Keselowski said. "The first thing, it was literally the first thing I did when I signed the papers ... was putting an offer in front of him to give him a contract extension.

“I thought he was somebody we could build around and get results.”

Buescher picked up the first win for rebranded RFK Racing last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, and the first win for a Roush car in a points-paying race since since Daytona in 2017. Buescher and Keselowski both won a pair of qualifying races at Daytona in February.

It also marked the first time in this format of NASCAR's playoffs that drivers who are not eligible for the championship swept the three races of the first round. Now Buescher, a native of Prosper, Texas, returns to his home state hoping to again play the spoiler.

The second round of the playoffs open Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, where Buescher and Keselowski finished eighth and ninth in May in the exhibition All-Star race. Buescher is thrilled to be part of an energized race team.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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