The rookies have arrived.
It was his second career Cup top-five finish after he claimed the first the weekend before at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It marked the second straight race that at least two rookies finished in the top 10 and third time in the last six races it has happened. At Indianapolis, Reddick placed eighth. At Miami, Reddick finished fourth and Bell placed eighth.
Through 17 races, Reddick and Bell each have five top 10s, Custer has three, including his two top fives, and John Hunter Nemechek has two. Those 15 top 10s better the total rookie top 10s from 2018 (seven) and 2019 (six) combined.
At least one rookie has finished in the top 10 in nine races in 2020. Rookies finished in the top 10 in only five races in both 2018 and 2019.
With his win Sunday, Custer jumped ahead of Reddick, Bell and Nemechek to qualify for the 16-driver playoff field in addition to Wednesday night’s All-Star Race.
“It takes a lot of stress off,” Custer said Sunday. “I mean, it was definitely really stressful. We kind of dug ourselves in a hole a little bit, not from wrecking cars or anything, just from inexperience, not knowing what to expect going into the races, not having a feel for the cars. I think we started to put the whole picture kind of together during the races.
“It’s a matter of I think we’ve at least gotten to the point now where we can take advantage of things when we’re at the front. Definitely takes a lot of stress off going into the rest of the year. We can kind of get the monkey off our back, focus on what’s ahead, not second guess ourselves.”
— Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) July 12, 2020
Confusing day. Thought we had lot of speed early but was hard to pass & was trying 2b patient & then Jason & the @lfr_95 guys got me track position late & didn’t feel like our @toyota Camry was as fast. All in all a good day finishing P7. On to the open @BMSupdates #teamtoyota pic.twitter.com/Hb1mwRQo3N
— Christopher Bell (@CBellRacing) July 12, 2020