COLE CUSTER – 2018 NXS Richmond II Race Report

September 22nd, 2018

Date: Sept. 21, 2018
Event: Go Bowling 250 (Round 27 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway (.75-mile oval)
Format: 250 laps, broken into three stages 75 laps/75 laps/100 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/15th (Running, completed 250 of 250 laps)
Point Standing: (9th with 2035 points, 55 points out of first)

Race Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Daniel Hemric of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr. of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

● Custer started fourth, finished 11th.
● The Go Bowling driver ran inside the top-five until lap 50 when he said his No. 00 Ford became tighter as the stage wore on.
● Custer fell outside of the top-10 before the stage concluded after he said he was tight in the center of the turns and loose on exit.
● When the stage ended, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

● Custer started ninth, finished ninth and earned one bonus point.
● Custer raced the Go Bowling Ford back into the top-five by lap 91.
● Tight-handling conditions continued to wear on Custer’s No. 00 Ford, but he kept it inside the top-10 before the yellow flag was thrown on lap 72, ending the stage under caution.
● Custer pitted at the conclusion of the stage for four fresh tires, fuel and more adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-250):

● Custer started eighth, finished 15th.
● Custer raced to sixth place until a lap-161 caution.
● He drove the Go Bowling Ford into fifth place during the restart until the tight-handling conditions continued to hinder his speed.
● Custer pitted during a lap-217 caution for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to help his drive off the turns. He restarted from 10th place.
● Custer began to advance the No. 00 Ford through the field until he was contacted by the No. 22 car, bringing out another caution.
● Custer opted to stay out of the pits and restarted from 15th, where he finished the race.

Notes:               

● Five cautions slowed the race for 40 laps.
● Only 19 of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Christopher Bell won the Go Bowling 250 to score his fifth career Xfinity Series victory, his fifth of the season and second at Richmond. His margin of victory over second-place Ross Chastain was .566 of a second.]

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Go Bowling Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste:    

“We just didn’t have any long-run speed tonight. We had good short-run speed to be able to pick off five or six cars on every restart. During the last restart the ‘22’ (Austin Cindric) go into us. I don’t know what he was doing. It put us way back there and that’s just how it is. We will just have to go to Charlotte and try to win our way in to the next round.”

Playoff Standings:          

1.     Christopher Bell (2090 points) 1 win
2.     Daniel Hemric (2,062 points, -28)
3.     Justin Allgaier (2,056 points, -34)
4.     Ross Chastain (2053 points, -37)
5.     Elliott Sadler (2,051 points, -39)
6.     Matt Tifft (2,047 points, -43)
7.     Tyler Reddick (2046 points, -44)
8.     Brandon Jones (2,035 points, -55)
9.     Cole Custer (2,035 points, -55)
10.   Ryan Truex (2,033 points, -57)
11.   Austin Cindric (2,028 points, -62)
12.   Ryan Reed (2,027 points, -63)