Custer wins Texas Xfinity race with wild last-lap pass on Reddick

Cole Custer’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the 2018 season was a timely one.

Custer wins Texas Xfinity race with wild last-lap pass on Reddick

Custer got into side of then-leader Tyler Reddick on the final of 200 laps and just beat him to the checkered flag to win Saturday’s O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The win sends Custer to the Championship 4 in two weeks at Homestead, Fla., where he will compete for the series title. Custer won the Homestead race one year ago but was not competing for the championship.

"I can't believe it," Custer said. "I did all I could and drove in deeper than I had all weekend into Turn 1 trying to get on (Reddick's) bumper and it worked out.

"We're going to Homestead and I think we have a great chance to win it. It's just awesome. We haven't won this year but we've been so close. It's been frustrating but we've kept going.

"There is no better time to do it."

Austin Cindric finished third, John Hunter Nemechek was fourth and Justin Allgaier completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Spencer Gallagher and Daniel Hemric, who rebounded from a late-race incident.

On Lap 134, Austin Cindric got into the left-rear of Christopher Bell and Bell spun and backed into the Turn 2 wall. Bell had gotten loose on the previous restart and drifted back in the field and remained in the outside lane when the incident took place.

The damage to Bell’s No. 20 Toyota was extensive and brought an early end to his race, leaving him in a precarious playoff position.

“I’ve won six races this year. I’ve got a chance to win two more,” Bell said. “I’m going to go out there and try to win races. I’ve never been a points racer and my results show for that.

“I’m either up front or crashing.”

The race returned to green on Lap 138 with Hemric leading the way.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Jones and Ryan Preece got into each other on Lap 139 to bring out another caution just as Allgaier passed Hemric for the lead. Allgaier led Hemric on the restart on Lap 145.

After a couple of swaps, Hemric finally cleared Allgaier to return to the lead on Lap 147.

After again fighting side-by-side, Allgaier cleared Hemric to move back to the top spot on Lap 154.

With 30 laps remaining in the race, Allgaier held a small advantage over Hemric as Nemechek moved into third.

With 27 to go, Nemechek powered around Hemric and moved into the runner-up position with Hemric dropping to third.

On Lap 184, Nemechek went to the inside of Allgaier and into the lead for the first time in the race.

Ryan Reed got hit by his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ty Majeski and wrecked on the backstretch on Lap 187 to bring out a caution.

Custer was among those who stayed out and took over the lead on the restart with seven laps to go. He was followed by Reddick, Cindric and Sadler. Nemechek lined up sixth.

With six laps to go, Shane Lee got into Hemric and sent him spinning off Turn 4 and also collected Garrett Smithley. The race returned to green with two to go and Reddick leading the way.

The race featured a track series record 13 cautions covering 54 laps.

Stage 2

Custer held off a furious charge from Allgaier to take the Stage 2 victory.

Preece finished third, Reddick was fourth and Bell completed the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all of the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Hemric the first off pit road and remained in the lead on the restart on Lap 52.

Reddick quickly went to the outside and back into the lead shortly after the restart.

With 25 laps left in the second stage, Reddick held a small advantage over Custer with Allgaier running in third.

On Lap 81, Joey Gase made contact with Reddick who then returned the favor, which sent Gase spinning in front of Reddick and Custer, who was running second. Custer got credit for the lead after the incident.

Most cars elected to pit, with Bell exiting pit road first, but Custer stayed on the track and remained in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 86.

Reddick went to the outside and back into the top spot shortly after the restart. Custer quickly returned the favor and reclaimed the lead.

Stage 1

After taking the lead following a restart Hemric held off Custer to claim the Stage 1 victory. It’s the ninth stage win for Hemric this season.

Reddick was third, Bell was fourth and Sadler completed the top-five.

On the first lap of the race, Bell, the pole-sitter, spun in front of the field. Nemechek and Gallagher also spun trying to avoid Bell. Austin Cindric also received damage in the incident.

“That’s unbelievable,” Bell said over his radio. “I don’t get it.”

The race returned to green on Lap 5 with Lee in the lead.

On Lap 8, Reddick went to the inside of Lee and took over the race lead for the first time. Custer moved into third.

NASCAR displayed a caution on Lap 15 for debris on the frontstretch. The race returned to green on Lap 19.

On Lap 22, Ryan Sieg and Truex made contact coming through Turn 2 to bring out yet another caution. The race returned to green on Lap 25 with Hemric moving quickly into the lead.

With five laps remaining in the first stage, Hemric held a 1.6-second lead over Custer with Reddick running in third.

Seven cars had to start the race from the rear of the field – Ty Majeski and Ross Chastain for unapproved adjustments and Cindric, Joey Gase, Josh Bilicki, David Starr and Morgan Shepherd.

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 00 United States Cole Custer  Ford 200   16
2 9 United States Tyler Reddick  Chevrolet 200 0.162 54
3 22 United States Austin Cindric  Ford 200 0.316  
4 42 United States John Hunter Nemechek  Chevrolet 200 1.075 6
5 7 United States Justin Allgaier  Chevrolet 200 1.190 37
6 19 United States Brandon Jones  Toyota 200 1.682 4
7 2 United States Matt Tifft  Chevrolet 200 1.769  
8 1 United States Elliott Sadler  Chevrolet 200 1.858  
9 23 United States Spencer Gallagher  Chevrolet 200 2.038  
10 21 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 200 2.122 42
11 4 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 200 2.433  
12 39 United States Ryan Sieg  Chevrolet 200 2.765  
13 60 United States Ty Majeski  Ford 200 2.954  
14 51 United States Jeremy Clements  Chevrolet 200 3.311  
15 38 United States J.J. Yeley  Chevrolet 200 4.055  
16 5 United States Michael Annett  Chevrolet 200 24.342  
17 40 United States Chad Finchum  Toyota 199 1 lap  
18 90 United States Brandon Brown  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
19 8 United States Ray Black Jr.  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
20   United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 198 2 laps  
21 45 United States Josh Bilicki  Toyota 197 3 laps  
22 35 United States Joey Gase  Chevrolet 197 3 laps  
23 3 United States Shane Lee  Chevrolet 197 3 laps 6
24 52 United States David Starr  Chevrolet 196 4 laps  
25 76 United States Spencer Boyd  Chevrolet 195 5 laps  
26 15 United States Quin Houff  Chevrolet 193 7 laps  
27 78 United States Vinnie Miller  Chevrolet 193 7 laps  
28 74 United States Mike Harmon  Chevrolet 192 8 laps  
29 16 United States Ryan Reed  Ford 186 14 laps  
30 36 Canada Alex Labbé  Chevrolet 176 24 laps  
31 18 United States Ryan Preece  Toyota 139 61 laps  
32 20 United States Christopher Bell  Toyota 133 67 laps 36
33 11 United States Ryan Truex  Chevrolet 120 80 laps  
34 66 United States Bobby Earnhardt  Toyota 104 96 laps  
35 13 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 56 144 laps  
36 01 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 44 156 laps  
37 99 United States Stephen Leicht  Chevrolet 32 168 laps  
38 93 United States Jeff Green  Chevrolet 10 190 laps  
39 89 United States Morgan Shepherd  Chevrolet 4 196 laps  
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