Cole Custer Makes Last-Lap Pass To Win At Texas And Earn A Championship 4 Berthby Hunter Thomas November 4, 2018 0 comments
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Cole Custer pulled off a last-lap pass on Tyler Reddick to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway and solidify a spot in the Championship 4.
On the final lap of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Reddick and Custer slammed doors while racing down the backstretch. As the two drivers headed into Turns 3 and 4 for the final time, it was Custer ahead as he went on to win his first race of the season and only the second of his career. With the win, Custer will now compete for the series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, November 17.
“I can’t believe it,” said Custer, driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Autodesk Ford. “Going to Homestead – it’s awesome. We haven’t won all year but have been so close. This is perfect time to do it. We had this fairly long winless streak and you begin to question everything you’re doing. Today, I was put in a situation to make something happen and it worked out. But you’ve got to put yourself in that situation in the first place.”
Reddick held on to second-place while piloting the JR Motorsports No. 9 BurgerFi Chevrolet. The runner-up finish marks Reddick’s second top-five finish in a row. Reddick feels that his line through Turns 1 and 2 on the final lap set Custer up for the race winning move.
“I just got too caught up in I guess, holding the bottom and not really giving him (Cole Custer) any clean air, and it just absolutely killed my run off,” Reddick said. “I almost was able to keep him blocked enough to where he wouldn’t have been able to pull out where he did and get the run, but unfortunately there, he tried to get away, which he needed to do on the side draft, and I came down right when he came up, and we collided.”
NASCAR Playoff contender, Austin Cindric drove his Team Penske No. 22 Discount Tire Ford to a third-place finish. While Cindric captured a solid finish, it wasn’t an easy afternoon. On the first lap, Cindric had to avoid a Turn 1 crash, and on lap 134, Cindric slid up the track and made contact with fellow NASCAR Playoff competitor, Erik Jones in Turn 3. Cindric was able to continue, but Jones backed his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 GameStop NBA 2K19 Toyota into the outside wall.
“I was the car stuck on the bottom with one guy all over my tail and one guy all over my door,” Cindric said about the lap 134 accident. “I moved up two inches and those were the two inches that the 20 was off my door. I think it is just a racing incident. I don’t think it was anything intentional. We were just racing hard. I knew he was going to be stuck on the top and I wanted to be on the bottom. I don’t see anything further than that. That is his decision to race hard. He was in a points position and I was in a must win position.
Following the accident, Jones who finished 32nd said, “It’s just oddly similar to what happened at Kansas. Just driving along and get poked in the left-rear and around you go. Got away with one spin earlier in the day, just didn’t quite get away with the other one later on.”
John Hunter Nemechek finished fourth, and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 were Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Spencer Gallagher and Daniel Hemric.
Throughout the 200-lap race, there were 13 caution for 54 laps. Nine of the cautions were for multicar accidents.
Cole Custer is the only driver locked into the championship battle. With one race to go before the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Tyler Reddick is second, 20 points ahead of the Championship 4 cutline. Elliott Sadler is third (+13), and Daniel Hemric is fourth (+12). Below the cutline includes Justin Allgaier (-12), Matt Tifft (-14), Christopher Bell (-34) and Austin Cindric (-61).
Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway on Sunday, November 11. Live coverage will broadcast on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images
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