Getty Images

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Auto Club Speedway

3 Comments

Cole Custer won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway, beating Kyle Busch for his third career Xfinity win.

Custer, a native of Ladera Ranch, California, led the final 19 laps, scoring his first victory since last fall’s playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“It means a ton,” Custer told Fox Sports 1. “To start the year off with a new crew chief in Mike (Shiplett) and a new engineer in Davin (Restivo), they just did a good job in coming over here, just trying to work through all the things. We’ve been a little frustrated with ourselves, we’ve been wanting to run better than fourth and top five. But today we accomplished that.”

Custer is the first non-Cup competitor to win at ACS since Scott Riggs in April 2002 (23 races).

“Kyle Busch is one of the legends of our sport,” Custer said. “To keep him … from getting 200 (NASCAR wins) means a lot. I am sure he is probably a little frustrated but we have a great time racing him and hopefully we do it more in the future.”

Busch, who led 98 of 150 laps, finished second after he bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty on pit road in the middle of the final stage. That forced him to restart 13th with 33 laps to go. Busch will have to wait at least one more day to earn his 200th national NASCAR series win.

“I just wasn’t fast enough,” Busch said. “At the end there, he (Custer) was really good and really fast and had a good car. They got better throughout the day and got closer to our rear bumper there on that second-to-last run before we had our pit road problems and dropped us back in the pack. Obviously, we were able to rebound, but when you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times and they stay the same distance apart. We just weren’t quick enough there at the end to chase them down.”

The top five was completed by Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe.

Reddick fought back from an unscheduled pit stop for a cut tire on Lap 108 to earn his top five.

Austin Cindric (sixth), Brandon Jones (seventh) and Ryan Preece (eighth) all bounced back from spins to place in the top 10.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Click here for race results

Click here for the point standings.

WHAT’S NEXT: My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway at 1 p.m. ET on March 30 on Fox Sports 1

Xfinity practice report from Fontana

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Allgaier wrapped up the second and final Xfinity Series practice session Friday at Auto Club Speedway with the top speed (178.059 mph).

Tyler Reddick was second fastest (177.139), followed by Christopher Bell (176.956), Kyle Busch (176.670) and Noah Gragson (176.432).

Sixth through 10th were Ryan Preece (176.280), Cole Custer (176.061), Chase Briscoe (175.794), John Hunter Nemechek (175.640) and Brandon Jones (175.200).

A total of 34 drivers took to the track in the session.

Qualifying will take place Saturday at 1:10 p.m. ET.

A few hours later, the Production Alliance Group 300 race (150 laps/300 miles) will take the green flag at 5 p.m. ET (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Click here for the full second practice speed chart.

FIRST PRACTICE:

Cole Custer was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practices Friday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

The Stewart Haas Racing driver roared around the 2-mile high speed oval in his Ford Mustang at 177.039 mph, the only driver to exceed 177 mph.

Christopher Bell was second fastest (176.882 mph), followed by the man who is getting the most attention this weekend, Kyle Busch (176.350 mph), who is seeking to become only the second driver in NASCAR history to reach 200 wins in a career.

Busch comes into this weekend with 199 career NASCAR wins: 52 in Cup, 53 in Trucks and 94 in Xfinity. He can reach 200 with a win in Saturday’s Xfinity race or in Sunday’s Cup event.

Tyler Reddick was fourth fastest in the session (175.970 mph), leading a surge of five Chevy drivers in a row, followed by Justin Allgaier in fifth (175.833), Noah Gragson (175.653), Jeremy Clements (174.834) and John Hunter Nemechek (174.478).

Rounding out the top 10 were Austin Cindric (174.338 mph) and Ryan Preece (174.350).

The final Xfinity practice will take place later this afternoon from 4:35 to 5:25 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full Xfinity practice speed chart.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Speed Tweets: A rescheduled wedding, a hole-in-one and a driver fight

Alex Bowman
Leave a comment

The week leading up to today’s Cup race at ISM Raceway was not without big news stories.

That also means there wasn’t a lack of social media reaction to said news.

The week got started off with the announcement that the Cup Series Awards banquet would be held in Nashville.

But what concerned Xfinity driver Chase Briscoe was the date for the Xfinity and Truck Series banquet, held the week before Thanksgiving.

There was a slight scheduling conflict.

Some other big news this week came in the form of the possibility that racing will return to Rockingham Speedway, which hasn’t hosted a Cup race since 2004.

The news caught the attention of Rick Mast, who last competed in the Cup Series in 2002.

How many others drivers could be lured out of retirement by The Rock?

The Year of Denny Hamlin continues.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has followed up his Daytona 500 win last month with another sporting achievement.

He started his weekend off with hitting a hole-in-one.

In case you didn’t hear, Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell got into a bit of a shoving match Friday during qualifying.

Their fellow competitors sure noticed.

During media availability Friday at the track, Alex Bowman had a little fun and “interviewed” his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. If anyone says Bowman doesn’t have a personality, they don’t know what a personality is.

 

Justin Haley fastest in final Xfinity practice in Las Vegas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Haley led a 1-2 sweep by Kaulig Racing of the top spots in Friday’s final Xfinity practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Haley posted a top speed of 180.307 mph around the 1.5-mile track. He was followed by Austin Dillon, who posted a speed of 178.194 mph in the No. 10 Chevrolet.

The top five was completed by Kyle Busch (177.977 mph), Christopher Bell (177.930) and Tyler Reddick (177.778).

Busch, who had the best 10-lap average at 176.792 mph, scrapped the outside wall in Turn 2 early in the 50-minute session but won’t have to go to a backup car.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

In a session that was heavily impacted by 23 cars incurring pre-practice inspection penalties, Justin Allgaier was fastest in Friday’s first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Allgaier covered the 1.5-mile track at a speed of 178.737 mph and was followed by Busch (178.642 mph), Reddick (178.642), Haley (178.625) and Cole Custer (178.536).

Sixth through 10th were Dillon (178.394), Bell (177.819), Austin Cindric (177.427), Noah Gragson (177.282) and Zane Smith (177.264 mph), who is making his Xfinity Series debut this weekend.

Those drivers penalized due to inspection issues and the amount of practice time they lost due to the penalty were:

Late to inspection (15 minutes): Jeremy Clements, Cole Custer, Mike Harmon, John Jackson

Two-time failures (15 minutes): Jeff Green, Garrett Smithley, Justin Haley, Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell, Stephen Leicht, Chase Briscoe, Josh Williams, Vinnie Miller, Kyle Busch, Matt Mills, Timmy Hill

Late to inspection and two-time failures (30 minutes): Ryan Sieg, BJ McLeod, Ja Junior Avila, Cody Ware

Three-time failures (30 minutes): Joey Gase

Click here for the full practice speed list.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Justin Haley, Chase Briscoe fastest in Xfinity practices at Daytona

Justin Haley was fastest in the 2nd Xfinity practice Friday. Photo: Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Haley (189.581 mph) was fastest in the second and final Xfinity Series practice Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

Noah Gragson was second-fastest (188.743 mph), followed by Ryan Sieg (188.292), David Starr (187.141) and Jeremy Clements (186.761).

Chase Briscoe, who was fastest in the first session, was ninth-fastest (186.637 mph) in the second practice.

Only 22 drivers took part in the second session.

Click here for full results of the second practice.

In the first Xfinity practice earlier in the afternoon, Briscoe turned in the fastest speed (196.455 mph), followed by defending Daytona Xfinity race winner Tyler Reddick (196.344 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (196.202), Ross Chastain (196.002) and Haley (195.135).

Click here for full results of the first practice.

Follow @JerryBonkowski