Ryan Blaney Started And Finished In The Same Position At Kansas

Ryan Blaney
Track:    Kansas Speedway

Race:     Kansas Lottery 300

Date:     October 21, 2017

 

No. 22  Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney

Start:    3rd

Finish:   3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 3

Owner’s Points Position (leading by): 1st (+12)

 

Recap: Ryan Blaney started third and finished third in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Blaney showed speed in the Mustang all weekend and wasted no time working his way to the second position at the drop of the green flag. In the opening 45-lap stage, Blaney’s Ford built loose over the long green-flag run. The third-generation driver would remain in the runner-up position before the first caution flag of the race at lap 45, ending the first stage of the 200 lap event. Blaney reported the handling of his Mustang to be slightly loose on corner entry and crew chief Greg Erwin elected to pit for slight adjustments, four tire and fuel.  When the second, 45-lap stage resumed, it was more of the same for the No. 22 Discount Tire Mustang, consistently running fast lap times on the track and battling for the second position. Over the course of the second stage, Blaney’s Ford began to lose rear grip, so Erwin called for more adjustments to help regain the lost handling. At the end of the final stage the 23-year-old would restart ninth with 104 laps remaining in the 300 mile race. Blaney again worked his way back to the front, battling for the second position by lap 112. When the caution flag was displayed for the final time at lap 137, Erwin called the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford into the pits for the final time, adjusting the track bar along with four fresh tires and fuel. Blaney would restart fourth and he immediately charged forward, battling three wide for the race lead on lap 147. Blaney would lead three laps before losing steam and settling into the second position.  With three laps reaming, Blaney ran over debris, cutting down his right rear tire. He would forfeit the runner-up position, limping his Ford to the finish line in third. The third place finish propelled the No. 22 Ford team to the lead in the Owners point standings, leading the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing by 12 markers.

 

Quote: “The 18 and 20 were really strong today. I thought the Discount Tire Ford were getting better there at the end and then we had a right-rear come apart at the end of the race. That sucked. I thought that we had something at the end for the leaders. Just not our day. We just stalled out with 15 laps to go.”

OTIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Christopher Bell Grabs First NXS Victory At Kansas

Christopher Bell

Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 may have been the opening race in the Round of 8 of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff, but the real drama involved two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates outside the championship battle.

On Lap 197 of 200 at Kansas Speedway, Christopher Bell caught and passed Erik Jones for the lead, clearing Jones’ No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with a slide job and drifting up to the outside wall right in front of his JGR teammate.

Under a full head of steam, Jones plowed into the back of Bell’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, wrecking the No. 20 Camry, which slowed markedly and finished 15th, a lap down.

Bell took the checkered flag with polesitter Tyler Reddick and some hard feelings on Jones’ part in his wake.

“It’s not dirt racing,” Jones complained, referencing Bell’s dirt-track background. “He’s not clear. I can’t just stop on the top. I didn’t expect him to drive in on the bottom so hard he wouldn’t be able to hold his lane.

“It’s unfortunate. I thought we were going to race for the win, and unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a race—it was more of a wreck. We’ll just have to move on.”

Jones had led four times for 186 laps before Bell ran him down from more than two seconds back in the closing laps. The series leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Bell got the victory in his fifth start, becoming the first driver to get his maiden XFINITY win at the 1.5-mile track.

Bell also is the 10th straight different winner in the series.

“I never want to wreck anyone, especially my teammate,” Bell said. “I don’t know. My spotter said ‘Clear.’ I drove it in really deep. I felt like I cleared him – I don’t know.

“It’s my first XFINITY win. I’m sorry that Erik didn’t finish the race, but, man, I’m just stoked. This thing was awesome. To be able to win in the XFINITY Series is something I dreamed of as a kid. We were both on old tires. We were sliding around…

“Bummed for the way it finished, but I’m glad it held on, man. I was getting tire smoke in the car there those last couple of laps, and I was worried we weren’t going to make it.”

Ryan Blaney ran third, followed by playoff drivers and JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Justin Allgaier, the latter of whom collected 11 stage points and took over the top spot in the standings by two points over Byron, who had to start from the rear of the field because of unapproved pre-race adjustments to his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

Elliott Sadler, another JRM entry, recovered from a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 76 to finish seventh and is third in the Playoff standings, 11 points behind Allgaier.

“A tire came apart—I don’t know whether I ran over something or not,” said Sadler, who turned sideways in the path of oncoming traffic. Eventual sixth-place finisher Austin Dillon did a masterful job of avoiding Sadler’s spinning car.

“I gave ‘em a big target, but nobody hit us,” a relieved Sadler said after the race.

Beyond the top three Playoff positions, little was decided. With two races left in the Round of 8, there’s an eight-point gap between fourth-place Brennan Poole, who ran 12th on Saturday, and eighth-place Cole Custer, who brought his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to pit road with two laps left because of a cut tire and finished 19th, two laps down.

Check out the unofficial results of the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Pulls Off A Sixth Place At Charlotte

Cole Custer
Date: Oct. 7, 2017

Event: Drive for the Cure 300 (Round 29 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)

Start/Finish: 13th/6th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Playoff Point Standings: 5th (3,007 points, 19 points out of first – ADVANCED TO ROUND 2)

 

Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

 Cole Custer started 13th, finished ninth. Earned two bonus points.

● Piloted his Haas Automation Ford Mustang into the top-10 by lap 20.

● Noted a tight-handling condition, but managed to make a pass and gain one more position before the conclusion of the stage.

● Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments at the end of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

● Started 11th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.

● Custer continued to fight a tight-handling condition at the beginning of the stage.

● Ran as high as seventh during Stage 2 until his car’s balance shifted to being loose.

● At the conclusion of the stage, pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

● Started eighth, finished sixth.

● After a caution on lap 141, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted in the 11th position.

● Custer drove to eighth place before a final caution on lap 160, where he pitted for four more tires and fuel to restart back in 11th position.

● With 40 laps to go, Custer powered his way through the field to finish just outside of the top-five.

 

Notes:              

 Custer was the highest finishing rookie in the Drive for the Cure 300. It was his eighth rookie of the race award this season.

● Custer has earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among XFINITY Series drivers this season.

● Custer earned his 16th top-10 of the 2017 season, his 18th top-10 in 34 career XFINITY Series starts and his third top-10 at Charlotte.

● Custer’s sixth-place finish was his fourth-consecutive top-10 this season.

● Due to inclement weather, qualifying for the Drive for the Cure 300 was canceled. The field was set by owner points.

● This was the final race in the first round of the playoffs. Custer advanced to the second round and is seeded fifth.

● There were eight caution periods for 43 laps in the Drive for the Cure 300.

● Alex Bowman won the Drive for the Cure 300 to score his first career XFINITY Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Sam Hornish Jr. was 1.390 seconds.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It was a really good night for us. We got our car better. We didn’t have the track position that we wanted, so I think we were more of a third- or fourth-place car, but our Haas Automation Mustang was really solid tonight. I was happy with the improvements we made through the weekend, so I’m looking forward to the next round. It’s going to be a dogfight, that’s for sure. Everybody in this next round has a lot of speed. I think if we can win a race it’s going to be huge. It will be tough, but we just have to really be on our game and fire on all cylinders.”

 

Playoff Standings:        

1.        William Byron (3,026 points)

2.        Justin Allgaier (3,023 points, -3)

3.        Elliott Sadler (3,020 points, -6)

4.        Daniel Hemric (3,009 points, -17)

5.        Cole Custer (3,007 points, -19)

6.        Brennan Poole (3,006 points, -20)

7.        Ryan Reed (3,005 points, -21)

8.        Matt Tifft (3,004 points, -22)

 

Failed to advance to the Round of 8

9.     Brendan Gaughan (2,079 points)

10.   Michael Annett (2,058 points)

11.   Blake Koch (2,055 points)

12.   Jeremy Clements (2,052 points)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

 

Team Penske Reviews The Charlotte NXS Race

Joey Logano

Track:   Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race:    NC Drive for the Cure 300

Date:     October 7, 2017

 

No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang – Sam Hornish Jr.

Start:    31st

Finish:   2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 0

Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): N/A

 

Recap: Sam Hornish Jr. started 31st and finished second in the No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang in Saturday night’s NC Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite the deep starting position, the Defiance, OH native, wasted no time working his way forward at the drop of the green flag. In the opening 10 laps, Hornish wheeled the colorful PPG Mustang inside the top-20, reaching the 16th position before the first caution flag of the race at lap 28. Hornish reported the handling of his Mustang to be slightly loose on corner entry and tight in the center. Crew chief Brian Wilson elected to leave the PPG Ford on the track with only a handful of teams taking the opportunity to pit. Hornish continued his forward march during the remaining laps in the first stage, reaching the 10th position when a caution flag at lap 42 ended the stage. Wilson elected to adjust with wedge, also having the crew add tape to the nose to give Hornish more forward turn. When the second stage resumed, it was more of the same for the No. 12 PPG Mustang, consistently running the fastest lap times on the track while marching inside the top-five and finishing the second stage in the third position. The handling had swung to the free side on corner exit during the second stage, so Wilson elected to adjust with track bar on the second stop of the night. The No. 12 Team Penske crew gained a one position on pit road, allowing Hornish to restart on the front row for the beginning of the final stage. The No. 12 Mustang struggled on restarts, but after 10 laps proved to be the fastest car on the track. On the third pit stop of the night, Wilson elected to leave the car alone, servicing it with just four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the track would take another swing, adding grip as the conditions continued to cool off, and Hornish would have to battle a car that was too tight. When the caution flag was displayed for the final time at lap 160, Wilson called the No. 12 PPG Ford into the pits for the final time, adjusting with track bar, and additional tape on the nose preparing for the sprint to the finish. Several of the lead lap cars had pitted on the lap 141 caution, which shuffled the No. 12 team to the ninth position on the ensuing restart. Again, wasting little time, Hornish charged forward, battling teammate Ryan Blaney for the second position where he would finish the night.

 

Quote: “I think if it had been anybody else other than my teammate or Bowman winning I’d probably been pretty disappointed with tonight for as fast as we were, but the fact that we stuck with it. The car was great.  We needed long runs and didn’t have any early on in the race.  Finally got the car adjusted right where we thought we needed to be and kind of overstepped it.  On that last restart I kind of got stuck on the bottom and it also freed the car up a little bit right there too, knowing that we’re gonna be back in traffic.  It took us a little bit longer.  The top lane rolled and the 2 and the 42 were able to make a lot of ground on us there early, and it was everything that Alex needed to be able to win and it was a bit of fighting for me to be able to get back second.  By the time I had a slip-up underneath the 22 car.  I’m really glad we didn’t end up getting together.  I figured I kind of slid around the corner long enough that I figured I wasn’t gonna correct until he was past me again, and made the right-rear tire mad and it took us about five or six laps to get that calmed back down, go back after him and just not enough time there at the end.”

 

No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney 

Start:    2nd

Finish:    3rd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 200/200

Laps Led: 38

Owner’s Points Position (behind leader): 2nd (-8)

 

Recap: After an extensive rain delay at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS), Ryan Blaney finished the NC Drive for the Cure 300 in the second position, capturing his 34th career top-five finish. Blaney and the No. 22 Discount Tire team started the 200-lap event second after Saturday’s qualifying session was rained out and the field was set by the rule book. During the first 45-lap stage, Blaney raced within the top three, battling a loose Ford Mustang. The first stage saw two cautions where Blaney communicated to his team the Ford had no turn or drive on take-off. Blaney would remain in the third position until the end of the stage. Crew chief, Greg Erwin called the third-generation-driver down pit road, under caution on lap 47 for minor adjustments to help tighten up the Ford and help on take-off. The 23-year-old would restart from the third position once the second stage started on lap 51. Shorty after, Blaney captured the second position making it three-wide. Over the course of the long run, Blaney’s Ford became increasingly free, dropping to the fourth position by the end of the second stage on lap 90. Blaney raced his way up to the second position on lap 97 before the race fell under caution once again on lap 104. During the restart, Blaney would battle hard for position, almost capturing the race lead before settling into the second position.  Erwin called Blaney down pit road on lap 123 for a scheduled pit stop under caution. The No. 22 team won the race off pit road and Blaney would restart as the race leader with 74 laps remaining. The race would see yet another caution on lap 147, gambling the caution would come out again, Erwin elected to stay out while other teams came to pit road. Blaney would go on to lead 38 laps before the caution flew again on lap 160. Blaney came to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and minor adjustments on lap 162. Blaney would restart eighth and drive up to the second position before falling back to third at the end of the race. Blaney’s third place finish was his fourth top-10 finish in six races at CMS.

 

Quote:  “I thought we had a pretty decent car.  We started off great.  I thought we lacked a little bit of speed and I was real loose.  We did a pretty good job of getting it tighter to where it might be a little bit better.  We got the lead on pit road, which is good.  They did a great job on pit road all night with really fast stops and that helped out a bunch.  On that last restart we got running there and some cars stayed out.  They gambled a little bit and we got stuck behind the 5 a little bit.  The 42 did a good job.  He got a big run on the top and drove away from us.  He was better than us that last run anyway.  We lost a little bit of speed there.  It stinks we couldn’t have won that race, but I thought we learned a little bit and hopefully we can apply that tomorrow.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Alex Bowman Shows Why He Will Be In The HMS No. 88 Next Year

Alex Bowman
Behind the wheel of a car on something other than a virtual race track for the first time in nearly a year, Alex Bowman warmed up for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports ride he’ll inherit next season with a stunning victory in Saturday night’s rain-delayed Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor  Speedway

Behind Bowman, who won for the first time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Ryan Reed soldiered home in 12th place, one position behind Brendan Gaughan. But Reed moved on to the XFINITY Playoff’s Round of 8 by one point over Gaughan, who was eliminated along with Jeremy Clements (20th on Saturday), Blake Koch (25th) and Michael Annett (27th).

Reed joins Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole, Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric, William Byron and Matt Tifft in the Round of 8, with the series set to resume competition Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.

“Bowman The Showman”, who hadn’t raced since his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup / XFINITY Series doubleheader last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, finished 1.390 seconds ahead of part-timer Sam Hornish Jr., who passed Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney in the closing laps for the second position. The start was Hornish’s fifth of the season.

The car Bowman drove to victory in a race that started five hours late because of persistent rain was the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, under an agreement with Hendrick Motorsports. Since his last races at Homestead, Bowman has spent the bulk of his time driving simulators for HMS.

“I can’t thank Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and Chip Ganassi enough for letting me drive this car,” said Bowman, who will succeed Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Chevy in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next year. “To get my first win here at my second home in Charlotte means so such.

“Thank you so much to all the fans for sticking out this rain delay. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced. My pit stops were terrible. I didn’t do a good job on pit road, but I felt like my restarts were really good. It feels amazing to finally get us one.”

With Bowman pulling out to a sizable lead after the final restart on Lap 167, the real suspense involved Gaughan and Reed, who were locked in an intense battle for the final playoff position. Gaughan passed Reed for 12th on Lap 181 of 200, but needed one more position to stay alive in the Playoff.

Gaughan passed Byron for 11th, but Reed followed. As Gaughan chased Sadler for 10th, Reed had to ward off a challenge from Brandon Jones, Gaughan’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing. Gaughan ran out of time in his pursuit of Sadler, who was on older tires, and the last playoff spot belonged to Reed.

“We were getting the 1 (Sadler), but we need Brandon to get in front of (Reed), but a good run,” Gaughan said. “We had a decent season, but I wouldn’t say great. We’re going to go on and try to see if we can win a couple of races…

“Nothing ever comes easy around me and (crew chief) Shane Wilson, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Though he qualified for the Round of 8, Tifft had his share of nervous moments. On Lap 99, he came to pit road complaining of a vibration, incurred a penalty for a runaway tire and lost a lap. But Tifft regained the lead circuit under caution for Erik Jones’ spin on Lap 121 and salvaged a ninth-place result.

“We’ve been fighting back from a lot of difficult situations,” Tifft said. “We were able to put our MotoRad Camry back in the top 10 today, and we had so much stuff going on today.

“Really excited about our chances in the second round, and we’re riding the right wave right now, and I feel like we’re getting things clicking between the team and I right now. So it’s a good time for us right now, and it was a good fight today for sure.”

Note: Justin Allgaier, who entered the race as the series leader, hit a battery that fell from Angela Ruch’s car when Ruch spun in Turn 2 for the second time. Allgaier’s engine overheated and finally expired, relegating the JR Motorsports driver to a 33rd-place finish.

Check out the unofficial results of the Driver For The Cure 300 at Charlotte.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Logs Another Top Ten Finish At Dover

Cole Custer
Date: Sep. 30, 2017

Event: Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 (Round 28 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Mile oval)

Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/120 laps)

Start/Finish: 6th/8th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Playoff Point Standings: 4th (2,093 points, 14 points out of first)

 

Race Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

● Cole Custer started sixth, finished eighth. Earned three stage points.

● In the opening laps of the stage, Custer piloted his Haas Automation Mustang in and around the top-five, but noted loose-handling conditions.

● At the conclusion of Stage 1, Custer pitted for four fresh tires, fuel, chassis adjustments and air pressure adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):     

● Started sixth, finished seventh. Earned four stage points.

● Custer ran as high as fourth place in the second stage.

● Throughout the stage, the balance of Custer’s Haas Automation Mustang shifted to the tight side as the stage wore on.

● Custer pitted for four more tires, fuel and adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 2.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 120-200):          

● Started seventh, finished eighth.

● On the initial restart of the final stage, Custer was caught in traffic and fell to the 12th position.

● He continued to note tight-handling conditions, but re-entered the top-10 halfway through the stage.

● Custer continued to move his Haas Automation Mustang up through the field, gaining a few more spots by the time the checkered flag waved in order to earn his 15th top-10 of the season.

 

Notes:              

 The Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 was Custer’s 33rd NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his seventh at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

● Custer earned his 15th top-10 of the 2017 season, his 17th top-10 in 33 XFINITY Series starts and his third at Dover.

● Custer earned a total of seven combined stage points.

● Five cautions slowed the race for 28 laps.

Ryan Blaney won the Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 to score his sixth career XFINITY Series victory, second of the season and first at Dover. His margin of victory over second-place Justin Allgaier was 4.852 seconds.

 

Playoff Standings:         

1.     Justin Allgaier (2,107 points)

2.     William Byron (2,104, points, -3)

3.     Elliott Sadler (2,094 points, -13)

4.     Cole Custer (2,093 points, -14)

5.     Daniel Hemric (2,090 points, -17)

6.     Brennan Poole (2,082 points, -25)

7.     Matt Tifft (2,067 points, -40)

8.     Ryan Reed (2,055 points, -52)

9.     Brendan Gaughan (2,053 points, -54)

10.   Michael Annett (2,048 points, -59)

11.   Blake Koch (2,043 points, -64)

12.   Jeremy Clements (2,035 points, -72)

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We had a solid Haas Automation Mustang. We definitely didn’t have the best car but we made it better all day. The last restart didn’t play out for us; it was tough to pass. We got held up in the wrong lane there. We didn’t make any mistakes and got the points that we needed. It was a good day and we’ll head to Charlotte with confidence.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Dominated The Last 2/3 Of The NXS Race At Dover

Ryan Blaney
Once Ryan Blaney got the lead in Saturday’s Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway, it was “game over” in the second NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff race of the season.

After Playoff driver William Byron led every lap of the 60-circuit first stage and banked a playoff point, Blaney took the lead off pit road under caution on Lap 64. Blaney kept his No. 22 Team Penske Ford out front the rest of the way, except for one lap led by Daniel Suarez on pit road under caution after the conclusion of Stage 2.

Playoff driver Justin Allgaier charged from fourth to second on the Lap 128 restart that began the final stage, which ran under a green flag to the finish. Though Allgaier was able to hold off Byron, his JR Motorsports teammate, and hold the series lead, he had nothing for Blaney, who finished 4.852 seconds ahead of Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

“It’s really hard to get a car like that, and, to be honest, we didn’t have it in the first run,” said Blaney, who will try to advance to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 in Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400. “We were a little bit off on the first run. We made some great changes after the first stage to get it better to where it needs to be.

“We actually got it better for the last run… As a driver, that’s all you can ask for, great changes throughout. It’s awesome to get to Victory Lane with (sponsor) Fitzgerald. This is really cool. We were close the first race this year and just didn’t quite get it. Definitely learned a lot for tomorrow.”

The victory was Blaney’s sixth in the series, his second this season and his first at the Monster Mile.

Though he couldn’t catch Blaney over the final run, Allgaier also had reason to celebrate as the highest finishing series regular. Heading to Charlotte 54 points above the current cut line for the second round of the XFINITY Playoff, Allgaier is a virtual lock to advance.

So is Byron, who chased Allgaier for the final 73 green-flag laps but couldn’t find a way past his teammate. Byron is 51 points above the cutoff with the Playoff field scheduled to be pared from 12 to eight drivers next Saturday at Charlotte.

“I was trying to put it in Victory Lane,” Allgaier said. “We just needed a little more. I ran high some, low some. There at the end we made a great adjustment, and I was able to run the bottom, where I wanted to run all day.

“It paid off. Obviously, second place is not quite Victory Lane, but in the points battle we’re playing, it’s pretty darn close.”

In the battle to survive the Playoff cutoff, Brendan Gaughan gained ground with a 10th-place finish. Facing the elimination race at Charlotte, Gaughan is ninth in points, two behind eighth-place Ryan Reed, who finished a lap down in 16th-place at Dover.

Playoff drivers Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole and Matt Tifft came home fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, to improve their chances to make the Round of 8. Daniel Suarez ran seventh, joining Blaney as the only non-XFINITY regulars to finish in the top 12.

Rookie Cole Custer and regular-season champion Elliott Sadler, both well above the current cut line, ran eighth and ninth respectively.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Logs A Fifth Place Finish At Kentucky

Cole Custer
Date: Sept. 23, 2017

Event: VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (Round 27 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)

Start/Finish: 3rd/5th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Playoff Point Standings: 1st (2,057 points… tied with Justin Allgaier)

 

Race Winner: Tyler Reddick of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

Cole Custer started third, finished first. Earned one playoff point and 10 bonus points.

● Custer powered his Haas Automation Ford Mustang to second place on the first lap of the opening stage.

● On lap 41, Custer passed leader Kyle Benjamin to secure the first stage win of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career.

● Custer pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

● Started second, finished first. Earned one playoff point and 10 bonus points.

● Custer regained the lead on the first lap of Stage 2.

● Despite a caution on lap 74, Custer led the field for the remainder of Stage 2 before earning his second-straight stage win.

● At the conclusion of the stage, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He was the first car on four tires off pit road.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

● Started sixth, finished fifth.

● Custer noted a loose-handling condition at the beginning of the final stage.

● On lap 151, Custer pitted under green-flag conditions for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.

● Custer said his Haas Automation Ford Mustang ran free into the corners and was tight to the center of the turns, but managed to fight the balance issues to earn his fifth top-five of the season.

 

Notes:  

● Custer won Stages 1-2 to earn two playoff points and 20 stage points. These were the first stage wins of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career.

● Custer is tied for first in the playoff point standings with Justin Allgaier. Each driver has 2,057 points and is two points ahead of nearest pursuer Elliott Sadler.

● Custer’s 20 bonus points were his highest single-race total in 32 career XFINITY Series starts.

 Custer earned 52 points in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300, the second-highest total in the race.

 Custer led twice for 49 laps, the third-highest total in the race.

● The 49 laps led were Custer’s highest single-race total in 32 career XFINITY Series starts, breaking Custer’s previous best of 41 laps led in the preceding XFINITY Series race Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

● Custer was the highest finishing rookie, earning his seventh rookie of the race award this season and his fourth at a 1.5 mile-oval.

● Custer earned his fifth top-five of the 2017 season and his sixth top-five in 32 XFINITY Series starts.

● This marked Custer’s 14th top-10 of the 2017 season and his 16th top-10 in 32 XFINITY Series starts.

 Three cautions slowed the race for 14 laps.

● Tyler Reddick won the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 to score his first career XFINITY Series victory.  His margin of victory over second-place Brennan Poole was 14.540 seconds.

 

Playoff Standings:        

1.     Justin Allgaier (2,057 points)

2.     Cole Custer (2,057 points, 0 – TIED FOR FIRST)

3.     Elliott Sadler (2,055 points, -2)

4.     Daniel Hemric (2,052 points, -5)

5.     William Byron (2,051, points, -6)

6.     Brennan Poole (2,047 points, -10)

7.     Matt Tifft (2,036 points, -21)

8.     Ryan Reed (2,034 points, -23)

9.     Brendan Gaughan (2,026 points, -31)

10.   Blake Koch (2,025 points, -32)

11.   Michael Annett (2,022 points, -35)

12.   Jeremy Clements (2,020 points, -37)

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We accomplished just about everything we wanted to tonight. We had an extremely fast Haas Automation Mustang and had an incredible points night. We put ourselves in a great position. Now, we’ll just have to stay focused on executing each race.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Tyler Reddick Grabs First NXS Victory At Kentucky!

Tyler Reddick

Running a partial NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule this season, Tyler Reddick spoiled the party for the opening round of the Playoffs by earning his first career win in Saturday night’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver took control of the lead 74 laps from the finish and never looked back. His 14.540-second margin of victory over teammate Brennan Poole was the largest in the series’ history at the 1.5-mile speedway in 16 years of competition.

“I don’t know if it was necessarily me making a statement, it was just Chip Ganassi Racing making a statement,” said Reddick, who earned the triumph in his 15th XFINITY Series start. “Me and Brennan (Poole) were really fast all night.

“We had a really fast car last weekend, our mile-and-a-half program has been unreal. Mike Shiplett (crew chief) brought me from ground zero all the way to here. All the guys at Ganassi have gone above and beyond in helping me become a better driver.”

Reddick who hadn’t led a lap in his previous 14 races this season, but led a race-high 66 laps Saturday night added, “To be here today is surreal. We had such a really fast car the last time we were here, to be able to bring it to Victory Lane, I knew the car was capable.”

Poole earned a career-best finish behind Reddick, giving Chip Ganassi Racing its first 1-2 finish in XFINITY Series competition.

Poole was also the highest-finishing playoff XFINITY Series Playoffs driver in the Round of 12.

“I just think it was a strong statement tonight,” said Poole, who earned his second top-five of 2017. “I’m proud of our Ganassi team coming up one-two. This is really a track that we have struggled at in the past. To come out and be strong in the first race of the playoffs is pretty awesome.

“I want to thank everyone who has put effort into this thing. It’s really showed off the past couple of months. We’ve been really consistent and been right there. A win’s coming for us.”

Playoff driver Justin Allgaier rebounded from a flat tire inside the event’s opening 25 laps and utilized a gutsy wave around call and the beneficiary of a Lap 75 free pass to bolt from a race-low 36th to finish third, his eighth top-five of 2017.

“My team at JR Motorsports obviously does a great job,” said Allgaier who is tied for the XFINITY Series points lead with Cole Custer. “We talked about not beating ourselves in the first Playoff race. It was unfortunate there getting a flat tire. It wasn’t in our control. We did what we had to do and persevered through it and we did a great job on pit calls and pit stops.

“I thought we had a car that maybe could win the race. After the race, I told my team we might not have won the playoffs tonight but we definitely salvaged what we needed to tonight to move ourselves forward.”

NASCAR Next alumnus Kyle Benjamin in his fifth start of the season led the field to green after earning his second-career pole, until Stewart-Haas Racing’s Custer muscled his way to the lead on Lap 42 and clinched his first career stage win.

With a two-tire strategy, Benjamin returned to the point to start Stage 2, but Custer soared back to the lead by the exit of Turn 2 on Lap 52 and dominated the stage to earn another 10 crucial stage points toward his playoff total.

Defending race winner Elliott Sadler elected to stay out at the end of Stage 2 and led the field back to green for the start of Stage 3 until Iowa XFINITY winner Ryan Preece on a similar strategy throttled to the lead on Lap 105 passing Sadler off Turn 2.

Reddick, with fresher tires, reeled in Preece for control of the race and made the pass on Lap 126. He checked out from the field until he pitted with 49 laps to go for his final pit stop of the night.

Reddick cycled back into the lead 10 laps later, pulling away from the competition and ultimately setting the tone for the finish.

Notes: Following the opening round at Kentucky, playoff drivers Jeremy Clements, Michael Annett, Blake Koch and Brennan Gaughan find themselves below the cutoff line for the Round of 8. William Byron suffered a loose wheel late in the race, leaving little time to recover, finishing 18th. Still, he remains fifth in the playoffs standings with benefit from the stage points he acquired during the 2017 season.

Check out the unofficial results of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Runs Strong With A Seventh Place Finish At Chicagoland

Cole Custer
Date: Sept. 16, 2017

Event: TheHouse.com 300 (Round 26 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)

Start/Finish: 5th/7th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Playoff Point Standings: 8th (2,005 points, 20 points out of first – IN THE PLAYOFFS)

 

Race Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

Cole Custer started fifth, finished third. Earned eight stage points.

● Custer kept his No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang inside the top-five throughout Stage 1 and ran as high as third.

● Custer radioed to crew chief Jeff Meendering that he was tight to the center and over the bumps in turns three and four.

● At the conclusion of the stage, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He gained one position on pit road.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

● Started second, finished second. Earned nine stage points.

● Custer piloted his Haas Automation Ford Mustang into second place for the entirety of

Stage 2.

● Custer pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and more air pressure adjustments at the end of the stage.

● During the race off pit road, Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 car, earned a speeding penalty, handing the lead to Custer.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

● Started first, finished seventh.

 Custer held the lead for the first 38 laps of the final stage.

● During a lap-181 caution, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He restarted in the fourth position.

● Custer was caught in traffic on the restart. With nowhere to go, he made contact with the rear of the No. 22 car of Ryan Blaney.

● Custer’s Haas Automation Ford Mustang suffered light nose and side damage as result of the contact.

● After pitting to assess and repair the damage during a caution on lap 190, Custer restarted in the 16th position and rallied to his 13th top-10 of 2017.

 

Notes:              

 Custer led four times for 41 laps, the second-highest total in the race.

● The 41 laps led were Custer’s highest single-race total in 31 career XFINITY Series starts.

● Custer’s 17 stage points were his highest single-race total in 31 career XFINITY Series starts.

● Custer was the highest finishing rookie and XFINITY Series regular in Stages 1-2.

● Custer earned his 13th top-10 of 2017 and his 15th top-10 in 31 career XFINITY Series starts.

● Custer will start the seven-race playoffs as the eighth seed among the 12 eligible drivers.

● Five cautions slowed the race for 24 laps.

Justin Allgaier won TheHouse.com 300 to score his fifth career XFINITY Series victory, his second of the season and second at Chicagoland Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 1.772 seconds.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I was happy with that today. That is the best speed we’ve had all year in the Haas Automation Mustang. It was really good and a huge momentum builder. That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a stock car, doing those crossover passes. I have respect for him (Kyle Larson) racing me clean there. That was a lot of fun. Erik (Jones) was just pushing it. I think he knew he was probably in a bad spot and tried to keep it in the gas and forced Blaney in the wall. I was right behind it and couldn’t go anywhere. That is how it goes, though.”

 

Playoff Standings:        

1.     William Byron (2,025 points)

2.     Justin Allgaier (2,023 points, -2)

3.     Elliott Sadler (2,020 points, -5)

4.     Daniel Hemric (2,009 points, -16)

5.     Brennan Poole (2,006 points, -19)

6.     Ryan Reed (2,005 points, -20)

7.     Jeremy Clements (2,005 points, -20)

8.     Cole Custer (2,005 points, -20)

9.     Blake Koch (2,005 points, -20)

10.   Matt Tifft (2,004 points, -21)

11.   Brendan Gaughan (2,003 points, -22)

12.   Michael Annett (2,001 points, -24)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!