Cole Custer

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Cole Custer fastest in final Xfinity practice at Iowa Speedway

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The final Xfinity Series practice at Iowa Speedway was led by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer.

In his No. 00 Ford, Custer posted a top speed of 132.164 mph around the short track.

The top five was filled by Christopher Bell (131.398), Blake Koch (130.939), Brandon Jones (130.792) and Ben Kennedy (130.657).

Sam Hornish Jr. was 10th fastest in the session.

Tyler Reddick recorded the most laps in the session with 70.

Bell had the best 10-lap average at 129.196 mph.

Click here for the full practice report.

Spencer Gallagher, Ryan Reed fastest in first Xfinity practice at Michigan

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Spencer Gallagher and Ryan Reed were the fastest drivers in the first of two Xfinity Series practices today at Michigan International Speedway in preparation for Saturday’s Irish Hills 250.

Gallagher was the fastest of the 40 drivers that took to the two-mile, high-speed track, clocking in a speed of 190.305 mph. Reed was second-fastest at 190.119 mph.

NASCAR Cup regular Brad Keselowski was third-fastest at 189.708 mph, followed by fellow Cup regular Kyle Busch (189.499).

Elliott Sadler was fifth-fastest (189.459), followed by Brennan Poole (189.334), William Byron and Cole Custer (tied for seventh-fastest at 188.971 mph), Cup regular Denny Hamlin (188.952) and Brandon Jones (188.897).

The second and final Xfinity practice takes place later this afternoon from 3 to 3:55 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full field rundown of the first Xfinity practice.

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Cole Custer honors two-time Xfinity champion Sam Ard with Darlington paint scheme

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Rookie Cole Custer will honor the memory and career of Sam Ard with a special paint scheme in the Sept. 2 Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Custer and Stewart-Haas Racing revealed the paint scheme Wednesday at Darlington.

Sam Ard with the No. 00 car he drove in the early 1980s. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images)

A two-time Xfinity Series champion in 1983 and 1984, Ard passed away on April 2 at the age of 84. Custer, 19, drives the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. Ard drove the No. 00 in all 92 of his Xfinity Series starts.

In those 92 starts in what was then the NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series, Ard won 22 races and earned 67 top-fives, 79 top 10s and 24 poles.

Custer’s car will have the colors and lettering of Ard’s No. 00 Oldsmobile Omega that now sits on “Glory Road” in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Ard’s name will also be on the roof of the car.

“The 00 number has been a part of my entire NASCAR career, and over the years I’ve gotten to know its history and met some of the people who worked with Sam and saw him race,” Custer said in a press release. “The more I learn about Sam and all that he accomplished, the more impressive it becomes. I feel like I’m driving his car, and I want to make him and his family proud. Guys like Sam Ard helped shape the sport into what it is today. Without him, I don’t know if the opportunity to drive racecars for a living would exist. I’m grateful for it and I’d like him and his family to know it.”

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Ard was was born in Pamplico, South Carolina, roughly 45 minutes southeast of Darlington. Ard worked on aircraft at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina, during the Vietnam War.

Ard made four starts at Darlington and never finished worse than sixth.

MORE: Brad Keselowski driving Rusty Wallace paint scheme in Southern 500

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Kyle Benjamin wins first Xfinity pole for Pocono Green 250

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Kyle Benjamin will start from the pole in the Xfinity Series’ Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway.

Benjamin, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, earned his first Xfinity pole with a speed of 172.844 mph.

Benjamin, 19, is starting in just his second Xfinity race. He started second in his first race in April at Richmond International Raceway.

Making up the top five is Daniel Hemric (172.305), Cole Custer (172.295), Justin Allgaier (172.219) and William Byron (171.775).

Casey Mears‘ qualifying run in the first round was disallowed by NASCAR for impeding the progress of Matt Tifft during his qualifying run. Mears and the No. 98 Ford will start 40th. Tifft and the No. 19 Toyota will start 31st.

“Just a huge mistake on my part, I haven’t done single-car qualifying here in a long time,” Mears told Fox Sports 1. “Typically what you need to do is go down and run along the access road. I was in the middle of Turn 2 and I looked in my mirror and I went ‘I didn’t get down.’ I was the radio talking to (Crew Chief) Jon (Hanson) telling him what the car was doing. Shoot, I can’t remember the last time I did that. I hate it for the 19 guys. I was hoping they were on there up to speed lap, but it was their money lap.”

The first round of qualifying was briefly stopped due to a fox being near the track surface.

Click here for the full qualifying report.

Kyle Benjamin is fastest in final Xfinity practice at Pocono

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Kyle Benjamin was the fastest in Friday afternoon’s second and final Xfinity Series practice, with a speed of 170.707 mph.

Benjamin not only was the only driver to exceed 170 mph, he also was faster than the fastest driver in the day’s first practice, Brad Keselowski, who turned a best lap earlier in the day of 169.14 mph.

Daniel Hemric was second-fastest in the final practice (169.827 mph), followed by Keselowski (169.240), Daniel Suarez (169.151) and Blake Koch (169.138).

Sixth through 10th were Kyle Larson (168.773), Paul Menard (also 168.773), Ty Dillon (168.710), Spencer Gallagher (168.681 and Cole Custer (168.561).

Tomorrow will feature qualifying and then the Pocono Green 250 race at 1 p.m. ET (TV: Fox).

Click here to find out how the final practice session played out.

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