Custer declared winner at Darlington after Hamlin fails post-race inspection

DARLINGTON, S.C. –  Denny Hamlin’s apparent victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 was short-lived when his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota failed post-race inspection. NASCAR determined that the height requirements were not met stating that the left front was too low while it was too high in the right rear.

This was the fourth time this season that a car has been disqualified following a race in the Xfinity Series but only the first time that it has involved the winner.

Cole Custer’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Ford was declared as the winner, moving him from second to first place to claim his sixth victory this season and his first at Darlington Raceway. He is now tied with Christopher for the most wins in the series and is third in the playoff standings.

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‘It’s a really strange feeling,” obviously, Custer said in his post-race interview. “You don’t want to win them that way, but it is what it is. We all play by the same rules. Was that the deciding factor? No, with everything, he won the race but it is what it is. We get the points. We get the money and we get everything, including the trophy so we’ll take it.”

Tyler Reddick finished second after leading 70 laps. Ryan Blaney led 50 laps and is credited with third place with Christopher Bell and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounding out the top five finishers.

Earnhardt was pleased with his result in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet featuring a throwback paint scheme that honored his father’s first start in the premier series in 1975 at Charlotte.

“I love this place,” said Earnhardt. You never know how good you are till you come back and try it. All these guys are elite. All these guys do this every single week, and they’re very, very talented. To think you can take a year off and come back and be good, you just never know. But we did all right!”

Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric rounded out the top 10.

There are only two races left before the Xfinity Series Playoffs begin. Reddick leads the regular-season standings by 51 points over Bell while Custer is 136 points behind in third place.

Next week the Xfinity Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indiana 250.

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.

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