Chris Buescher will not compete in this Sunday afternoon’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
After testing positive for COVID-19, RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher will not compete in the Enjoy Illinois 300, the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway this Sunday afternoon.
Set to replace Buescher behind the wheel of the #17 Ford in this 240-lap race around the four-turn, 1.25-mile (2.012-kilometer) oval in Madison, Illinois is Zane Smith, who competes full-time for Front Row Motorsports in the Truck Series behind the wheel of the #38 Ford.
Smith, who finished in second place in the championship standings in each of his first two seasons in the Truck Series in 2020 and 2021 with GMS Racing, currently sits in third place in the standings with a series-high three victories in 10 starts.
If not for his disqualification at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he originally finished in second place, he would be the points leader. He still sits atop the provisional playoff picture with six remaining races in the regular season.
As for Buescher, the plan is for him to return to RFK Racing for next Sunday afternoon’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Since becoming a full-time Cup Series driver in 2016, he has never missed a start, so this weekend is set to end a 230-race streak.
There has been no confirmation that the 29-year-old Prosper, Texas native will receive a playoff waiver as a result of his absence this coming weekend, though based on past NASCAR decisions, it is expected that he will.
A playoff waiver would allow Buescher to retain his playoff spot if he manages to qualify for the postseason. Right now, however, he would not be in the playoffs. He sits in 21st place in the point standings, 75 points below the cut line, and he hasn’t won a race. Through 14 races, his top finish is his seventh place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The Enjoy Illinois 300 is set to be broadcast live from World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, June 5. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!