Cole Custer victorious at Texas

credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs

by Lisa Janine Cloud

Speed. Danger. Fun.

That’s what the Texas Motor Speedway posters for the NASCAR weekend promised, and with the Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 finish Saturday, the track is two for two on that promise.

Cole Custer powered to his first win of the season and the second of his career by outrunning Tyler Reddick on the last lap. There were a few tense moments as the two tangled on the backstretch, but Custer saved it and held on for the win.

Custer came into the race seventh of the eight drivers fighting for playoff berths. This win put him in the final four in style.

“We haven’t won all year but we have been so close. It starts to frustrate you.” Custer said. “We kept going and this is a perfect time to do it. Thank you to all the fans. Texas is always a great place to come. Thank you, guys.”

Reddick took the points lead with his second-place finish, taking over from Elliott Sadler, who ended up eighth in his final appearance at Texas Motor Speedway. Sadler dropped to third in points, seven behind Reddick.

After a first-lap incident that inflicted some damage on the No. 22, Austin Cindric finished third and was happy to do so.

“I had damage from lap one of the race when they had that big stack up and I nursed that damage. That damage got worse and then our contact with the 20 later made that worse. We were basically damaged the whole day. I honestly think we had a race-winning car and I think that shows in the final stint. That is a testament to the team and the work those guys did over the wall,” Cindric said. 

“It was a lot of fun in the end now that I look back on it and say that I survived.” With a points deficit of 61, Cindric must win in Phoenix or be eliminated.

John Hunter Nemechek attempted to play spoiler to the championship contenders around him, trying to score back-to-back wins, but he had to settle for fourth.

Justin Allgaier hung on to finish fifth after complaining throughout the race about the handling of his car. At one point in the race he told crew chief Jason Burdett that, “The word frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe this” saying that the track was “tricky” and “treacherous.” Allgaier heads to Phoenix 12 points below the cut line.  

The race slowed for caution 13 times, a new track record even without the two stage-break cautions, as the previous mark was 10, set in the 2003 spring race.

Daniel Hemric, who won the first stage and led 42 of the 200 laps, ended up in ninth. He sits 12 points out of the final four, while polesitter Christopher Bell suffered damage on Lap 1 from contact with Cindric, but it was their dustup on Lap 133 that put Bell out of the race, relegated to a 32nd-place finish and is now 34 points out of the final four, 20 back from Matt Tifft who ended up seventh.

Cole Custer victorious at Texas Cole Custer victorious at Texas Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Saturday, November 03, 2018 Rating: 5