Cole Custer brings the win home at Auto Club Speedway

by Michelle Lippold On Sat, Mar. 16, 2019

Cole Custer celebrates in victory lane at Auto Club Speedway after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Production Alliance Group 300. Photo by Rachel Schuoler for SpeedwayMedia.com.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced at the Auto Club Speedway for the Production Alliance Group 300 today, where Cole Custer denied Kyle Busch his 200th win.

Custer, driving No. 00 Stewart-Haas Ford captured his third career win on his home track. Busch driving his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led the most laps, 98 of 150, finishing in the runner up spot. A Cup driver has won the last 23 races at this track.

“Just a great job overall,” Custer replied. “I’m pumped. I’ve never won this early in the season so it’s going to be a little bit more relaxed than in past years.”

Busch who had hoped to tie Richard Petty’s record of 200 wins will get another chance at the milestone tomorrow.

“We had a lack of grip there at the end, we just didn’t have the speed we needed with the No. 00,” Busch commented. “It is what it is I guess. Our Supra was fast, just not enough there at the end.”

Stage 1 started with Reddick and Busch on the front battling for the early lead. Busch grabbed the lead early on and didn’t look back. There was one incident when John Hunter Nemechek brushed the wall, but it didn’t bring out the caution. Busch won the stage handily leading 25 of the 35 laps.

Stage 2 started with Busch beating everyone out of the pits to start in the top spot. The stage went caution free even though Justin Allgaier scraped the wall. It was all about Busch though as he led every lap and won the stage. Reddick was the only driver with a shot at the lead, but he couldn’t catch Busch.

The final stage started with Busch keeping his lead position, once again beating everyone out of the pits. The first caution of the day was when John Hunter Nemechek received a tap from Ryan Sieg and hit the inside wall hard. Cole Custer took the top spot for a few laps but Busch regained the lead without contention.

The spinning car of Austin Cindric brought out the second caution. Busch had problems in his pit losing the lead to Christopher Bell for the start and getting an uncontrolled tire penalty. The third caution came when Brandon Jones spun and tapped Ryan Preece spinning him as well. Custer passed Bell quickly for the lead and didn’t look back. Busch managed to overcome his bad pit stop for second place and tried every line on the track to gain speed, but Custer had a nice cushion and took the win.

Bell, Reddick, and Chase Briscoe all had great runs today and would round out the top five. Cindric, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece, Justin Allgaier, and Justin Haley finished sixth through 10th, respectively.

Reddick leads the Xfinity Series standings with 220 points, Custer is second with 213 points, Bell is third with 206 points, Brandon Jones is fourth with 183 points, and rounding out the top five is Cindric with 179 points.

The Xfinity Series will head next to Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 30.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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