Chris Buescher to miss Gateway after positive COVID-19 test; to be replaced by Zane Smith

MADISON, Ill. -- Chris Buescher has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the inaugural NASCAR Cup race Sunday in the St. Louis area.

RFK Racing said Thursday that Truck Series regular Zane Smith will replace Buescher in the No. 17 Ford at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Buescher is 21st in the points standings with three top-10 finishes and is still in contention for a playoff berth. He was involved in a crash last Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in which his Ford flipped onto its roof, and it took safety workers a long time to get him from the car.

He was removed uninjured, but has since tested positive for COVID.

RFK said Buescher expects to be back in the car next weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Smith, meanwhile, will make his Cup Series debut Sunday. He has three wins and eight top-10 finishes in 10 starts in the Truck Series this season.

Smith will be the 24th driver for Jack Roush's team in the NASCAR Cup Series.