Custer Puts on Clinic in XFINITY Season Finale at Homestead

by Tucker White On Sat, Nov. 18, 2017

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - NOVEMBER 18: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2017 in Homestead, Florida. Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Cole Custer led all but 18 laps on his way to dominating and winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

He first took the lead from Tyler Reddick going into Turn 1 on the fifth lap, and aside from the one time Reddick exited ahead of him under the first stage break caution, he never lost it. Custer won both stages, led 182 laps and put all but eight cars a lap down on his way to scoring his first career victory in 38 XFINITY Series starts.

“We definitely had something to prove this weekend. We were so close to making it last weekend and (we) really wanted to end strong.  We were really good this weekend. Our Haas Automation Mustangs are unreal. We wanted to really have a good showing on Ford Championship Weekend. Even though we weren’t in it, we wanted to win. Hopefully, we can sweep it tomorrow. Obvious we have some good cars in the hunt tomorrow.”

Sam Hornish Jr. finished second and William Byron finished third, clinching for him the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.

“I don’t know that I took a breath the last 20 laps,” said Byron. “That was incredible. I just have to thank this team. This is awesome. Elliott (Sadler, teammate) raced me clean and we just raced hard for it. I just can’t believe this. I’ve just got to thank God for giving me this platform to perform. I can’t believe this. I’m tired, whew. Thanks to all the fans here this evening, this is an unbelievable crowd, I just can’t believe it.”

Reddick and Ryan Preece rounded out the top-five.

Brennan Poole, Matt Tiftt, Elliott Sadler, Michael Annett and Ty Majeski rounded out the top-10.

NOTES OF INTEREST

Caution flew only three times: Two for stage breaks and one for a spin in Turn 2 on Lap 20 by JJ Yeley. Only six cars retired from the race.

Daniel Hemric’s chances at the title came to an end when he made an unscheduled stop on Lap 62 for battery issues. He rejoined the race 12 laps down.

One day after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, Christopher Bell retired from the race with engine issues on Lap 79.

With his runner-up finish, Hornish clinched the 2017 XFINITY Series owners championship for Roger Penske’s No. 22 team.

NUTS & BOLTS

The race lasted two hours, 12 minutes and 13 seconds, at an average speed of 136.140 mph. There were five lead changes among two different drivers and three cautions for 14 laps.

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