Xfinity: Custer Wins After Tech Inspection

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 31: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Production Alliance Group Ford, races Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 McCall's Supply Ruud Toyota, during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway on August 31, 2019 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Although he was first to cross the finish line, Denny Hamlin was not the winner Saturday at Darlington Raceway. NASCAR announced that after tech inspection, Cole Custer was the winner of the race. The original winner, Hamlin, failed post-race ride height.

Custer Wins After Tech Inspection

For the majority of the race, it didn’t appear to be Hamlin’s day. Despite getting into the top-10 quickly after the green flag, the car just wasn’t there. In fact, for the first half, Hamlin was convinced something was broke inside the car. At the last portion of the Sports Clips 200 at Darlington Raceway, things changed quickly.

Ryan Blaney led the first 16 laps, but was overtaken by Tyler Reddick who took the green-checkered at the end of Stage 1. Reddick continued to lead through the second stage until just five laps before the stage completion when Blaney grabbed control to the end of Stage 2.

The two drivers would continue to battle at the beginning of Stage 3, with Blaney having the advantage. With just 27 laps to go, Hamlin charged up to Blaney and made the pass to change the lead for the final time.

Only NASCAR Xfinity Series regular, Cole Custer, could challenge at the end. Custer got to the bumper of Hamlin, but could go no further. At the conclusion of the race, Hamlin crossed the line .602 seconds ahead of Custer. The results were modified after the race during tech inspection, where Custer was awarded his 6th win.

The race was slowed three times outside of stage completions. They included lone spins from John Hunter Nemechek, Brandon Brown, and Josh Williams.

Bell Frustrated With Performance Struggles

Throughout the race, one of the major contenders for the championship, Christopher Bell, didn’t have the performance he wanted. This resulted in some frustration from the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Bell started the race second, but couldn’t keep up with the top drivers for the majority of the race. After the first set of pit stops, the car did not get any better, causing Bell to slide back to 7th.

While most of the other drivers were complaining of being tight, Bell could not be tight enough as he commented on the radio:

“I feel like I am driving a drifting car. I don’t understand how we can win practice and be so bad in the race.”

Despite not being the day he wanted, the team ultimately rebounded to a 5th place finish. With 6 wins this year, Bell has the most victories of the other Xfinity regulars heading into next weekends race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Two Races Until The Playoffs

Just Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Las Vegas remain until the start of the playoffs. Besides the drivers that have wins, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson have clinched their way in. This leaves just four spots open, and a good chance for Justin Haley,  Nemecheck, Brandon Jones, and Ryan Sieg to get in.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Grid
Position Driver Wins Playoff Points
1 Christopher Bell 6 43
2 Cole Custer 6 36
3 Tyler Reddick 4 24
4 Austin Cindric 2 11
5 Chase Briscoe 1 7
6 Michael Annett 1 6
Wildcard Standings (no wins) Cutoff
7 Justin Allgaier Clinched
8 Noah Gragson Clinched
9 Justin Haley +207
10 John H. Nemechek +154
11 Brandon Jones +141
12 Ryan Sieg +119
Behind Cutoff
13 Gray Gaulding -119
14 Jeremy Clements -129


Custer Wins After Tech Inspection

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