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Chris Buescher goes from Xfinity Series champion to rookie Chase driver (video)

Chris Buescher took a rain-shortened win at Pocono and turned it into a Chase berth as a rookie after finishing in the Top 30 in points. It's been a wild ride for Buescher and the team and he hopes it can continue.

Mission accomplished for Chris Buescher and Front Row Motorsports.

Buescher locked up a spot in the Chase Saturday night at Richmond with a 24th-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400. It was enough to keep him inside the top 30 in points, making him eligible for the playoffs after winning a rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway last month.

It is Buescher’s first Chase appearance in his rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series. It is also the first time Front Row has been represented in the Chase.

“It’s obviously a big night for Front Row Motorsports and (owner) Bob Jenkins,” Buescher told NBCSN. “For a small team like we are to be able to pull it off and get that win at Pocono and find ourselves in the Chase right now, it’s pretty special.”

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion entered Richmond with an 11-point lead on David Ragan for 30th in points. Looking to stay out trouble, Buescher was having an incident-free night until he had to make an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 308 for a flat tire.

After going two laps down, the No. 34 team worked their way back onto the lead lap and then suffered minor damage during a multi-car wreck with 40 laps to go. Buescher was able to finish the race and locked in his Chase spot by moving to 29th in the point standings with a 21-point gap on 31st place.

Follow @KellyCrandall