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Cole Custer Becomes NASCAR’s Youngest National Series Winner

Cole Custer Becomes NASCAR’s Youngest National Series Winner

by September 20, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images

LOUDON, N.H. – In only his seventh NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, 16-year old Cole Custer became the youngest driver to ever win in NASCAR’s top-three national series after holding off Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton in the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Custer, a member of the NASCAR Next program was fast all weekend and put his No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado on the pole with a record lap. He led 148 laps en route to the victory. The win marks his fifth top-10 finish of the 2014 season.

The first caution of the race didn’t come out until lap 102 when TJ Bell hit the wall in turn four. Following the accident, there were four cautions that absolutely changed the entire landscape of the race.

On lap 147, JR Heffner slapped the wall hard in turn four. During pit stops, Erik Jones was the only one of the leaders who stayed out, and Cole Custer lost a few positions on pit road, miring him deep in the pack for the first time of the afternoon. Once back to green, Matt Crafton who started last finally made his way to the race lead with only 20 laps to go. He led the next 20 laps.

German Quiroga spun around in turn four, bringing out the third caution on lap 156, and following the restart, Ryan Blaney spun off the nose of Timothy Peters in turn four bringing out the fourth caution of the day on lap 161. Matt Crafton and Darrell Wallace Jr. brought the field down to the green flag, but as the field entered turn one, Cole Custer made a bold, three-wide move to take over the second position.

The final caution of the afternoon came out on lap 168 when Brennan Newberry who was running third spun trying to get around Darrell Wallace Jr. in turn two. On the restart, Cole Custer was able to get the jump on Matt Crafton. Darrell Wallace Jr. moved into the second position, but Custer was just too strong and held on for the win, his first of the 2014 season.

“Once again I would have had to wreck him to get by him,” Wallace Jr. said. “I think I gave it up a little too much into (turn) three — when he got clear, could have got to him on the bumper. Four tires prevailed for him (Cole Custer). So, congratulations to Cole. I told him he’d get the pole. The kid is always fast — so it’s always cool to see a new winner. I just hate a Toyota wasn’t in victory lane. Our Toyota Care Tundra was okay. We were a top-three truck — a top-five truck at the beginning of the race. Just couldn’t get off the corner, but we saw some stuff late in the race.”

Darrell Wallace Jr. finished second, followed by Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and John Hunter Nemechek to round out the top-five.

“It definitely feels good to break into the top-five,” Nemecheck said. “It’s been a difficult task to do every week that I’ve raced. We finally did it. So, hopefully we can start knocking off some top-threes and maybe even a win before the end of the year. I have two races left (Martinsville and Phoenix) in the truck and I think Dad (Joe Nemechek) has three or four (races). We’ll see what we could do.”

Matt Crafton leads ThorSport Racing teammate, Johnny Sauter in the driver point standings by only seven points. Ryan Blaney is third, 24 points back, followed by Darrell Wallace Jr. who’s 35 points back and German Quiroga Jr. rounding out the top-five, 72 points back.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Smith’s 350 on Saturday, September 27. You can catch the race on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. EST

UNOH 175 Results:
1.) #00 Cole Custer
2.) #54 Darrell Wallace Jr.
3.) #88 Matt Crafton
4.) #98 Johnny Sauter
5.) #8 John Hunter Nemecheck
6.) #32 Cameron Hayley
7.) #51 Erik Jones
8.) #19 Tyler Reddick
9.) #21 Joey Coulter
10.) #29 Ryan Blaney
11.) #17 Timothy Peters
12.) #13 Jeb Burton
13.) #31 Ben Kennedy
14.) #9 Brennan Newberry
15.) #77 German Quiroga
16.) #20 Gray Gaulding
17.) #35 Mason Mingus
18.) #05 John Wes Townley
19.) #86 Brandon Brown
20.) #99 Bryan Silas
21.) #08 Ray Black Jr.
22.) #10 Jennifer Jo Cobb
23.) #63 JR Heffner
24.) #02 Tyler Young
25.) #50 TJ Bell
26.) #07 BJ McLeod
27.) #6 Norm Benning
28.) #0 Caleb Roark
29.) #36 Justin Jennings
30.) #67 Ted Minor

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Top-10 Driver Standings:
1.) #88 Matt Crafton
2.) #98 Johnny Sauter -7
3.) #29 Ryan Blaney -24
4.) #54 Darrell Wallace Jr. -35
5.) #77 German Quiroga Jr. -72
6.) #21 Joey Coulter -75
7.) #31 Ben Kennedy -93
8.) #17 Timothy Peters -94
9.) #13 Jeb Burton -111
10.) Ron Hornaday Jr. -142

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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