Brooklyn, Michigan – Parents always want what’s best for their kids, but Chris Boecher’s parents want something else for him this rollercoaster season.
While the RFK Racing driver has had some solid results, it’s his acrobatic-like adventures that have received the most attention this year.
He was the first driver to roll for a next-generation car, landing 4 and a half times in the Coca-Cola 600.
He stayed in his car last weekend in Indianapolis after it caught fire. He came back from losing two laps to finish 10th.
“My parents texted me afterwards,” Boucher said on Saturday. “They said, ‘You might be worth the risk pay.'”
It has been the kind of season for Buescher, who also missed a race after testing positive for COVID-19. Buescher enters Sunday in the Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (3 p.m. ET on the USA Network) needing a win to make the playoffs.
He’s been strong on the road this season, but didn’t have much of a chance last week after his fire.
Boecher said white smoke came from the right door as it entered the pit road for a scheduled stop shortly before the end of the opening stage.
The connection in the door area earlier in the race is the bent exhaust pipe. Car fumes ignited part of the door.
“I kind of put up with it,” Boecher said. “When we got to pit road, I just think slowing down and maybe reverse flames (for the pipes), the flames going up as we got to the pit road, and I finally set it on fire.”
Boecher said the smoke turned black inside the car as he was driving down a pothole. He said it was “a split second” of getting out of the car before the fire was put out.
“We’re not giving up,” Boecher said. “We will continue to pursue it and get everything we can every week.”
The Buescher wasn’t the only car burning this past weekend in Indy. Joey Logano also had a fire in his car at the end of the race.
“It looks like the same thing that happened to my car happened to my Buescher with the exhaust being pushed back into the rocker and basically melting the panels there and then lighting up the foam inside the door,” Lugano said Saturday in Michigan. “So, we obviously need to look at that. The learning curves with the race car.”
This isn’t the first time there’s been a fire inside a car this year. Tyler Riddick faced a similar situation during a test in Kansas in March. Riddick said his problem was caused by the exhaust contact with the lower body or rocker panels. It made a hole and sent debris and dust into his eyes.
“Breathing was just really awful,” said Riddick.
Asked about Boecher staying in his car during this and being put out, Riddick said, “That’s a mentally tough guy.”
Buescher didn’t want to get out of the car last week because of his power.
“Now we’ve gone really good speed, and big improvements in the RFK,” said Buescher, who has made three top-10 runs in the past seven races. “We don’t have much to show for that. We constantly talk about highlights that don’t represent a race win even though we were very competitive with them.
“It’s tough or rough. We can see it internally, where we are now, but it’s hard for most racing fans to see when they look at the results and we haven’t won races yet. I think the top 10 was a huge display in Indy for what we were capable of.”