Cole Custer Holds Off Kyle Busch To Win Xfinity Series Race In Home State Of Californiaby Hunter Thomas March 16, 2019 0 comments
FONTANA, Calif. – California native, Cole Custer outran Kyle Busch on Saturday to win the Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway.
The win marks Custer’s third victory of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career. The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Thompson Pipe/Haas CNC Ford started the race in third and led 29 laps. Custer now has three top-five finishes this season.
“To win here, at home in Southern California – I grew up racing in San Bernardino and Irwindale,” Custer said. “It means a ton. To come back here. I can’t thank the Thompson Pipe group enough. I wouldn’t be racing without what their family did for me. Haas Automation is a local company also. It was such a huge race for us. Everybody, it is a home town race for our whole team. I am pretty pumped up.”
Kyle Busch won the first two stages and led a race high of 98 laps on Saturday, but he wasn’t able to capture his 200th NASCAR national series victory. Busch entered the weekend winning the past two NASCAR Xfinity Series races, but in the end, he just wasn’t fast enough to challenge Custer for the race win.
“I just wasn’t fast enough,” Busch said. “At the end there, he (Custer) was really good and really fast and had a good car. They got better throughout the day and got closer to our rear bumper there on that second-to-last run before we had our pit road problems and dropped us back in the pack. Obviously, we were able to rebound, but when you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times and they stay the same distance apart. We just weren’t quick enough there at the end to chase them down.”
Christopher Bell finished third despite battling throttle issues during the race. The top-five effort is his second of the year, and it comes as a relief after a disappointing 30th-place effort last weekend at ISM Raceway. Even though he finished third, Bell was frustrated with Saturday’s performance.
“It was a pretty awful race for us,” Bell said. “One of the worst ones I’ve had. My pit crew was outstanding. They got us out front almost every time. That’s how we got this Rheem Supra to finish third. As soon as they dropped the green flag, we had the back-up lights on.”
Pole-sitter, Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe completed the top-five in the finishing order. Completing the top-10 was Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece, Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley.
There were only two multi-car accidents throughout the afternoon. Contact between Ryan Sieg and John Hunter Nemechek, sent Nemechek hard into the inside wall on the frotnstretch on lap 85 in the third stage.
On lap 125, Brandon Jones spun in Turn 4. Preece also spun to avoid Jones.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 30 for the My Bariatric Solutions 300. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 1 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images