Monday, May 27, 2024

Cole Custer wins Portland in chaotic ending

Sheldon Creed just cannot catch a break.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series sophomore was hoping to finally get to Victory Lane and appeared to be in prime position to do so when he won his first career pole for Saturday’s Portland International Raceway event, a track where he previously excelled in Stadium Super Trucks. Unfortunately for him, every other contender had the same idea.

After surviving a clash with John Hunter Nemechek in which the latter spun Creed at the end of Stage #2 before he returned the favour the next leg, he chased down Justin Allgaier before Riley Herbst‘s car caught fire in the final three laps to set up overtime. As Creed and Allgaier entered the first chicane on the ensuing restart, Parker Kligerman attempted to create a third line along the inside, but inadvertently caused the three to stack up together and send Allgaier and Creed off course.

“I went for it,” said Kligerman. “It was the correct move to make to win. Just mis-timed.”

Cole Custer, who was running behind the trio, snuck by to assume the lead. Allgaier tried to catch up, but could not find a clean overtaking opportunity as Custer beat him to the finish. The victory is Custer’s first since being demoted to the Xfinity Series from Cup.

“I saw them drive in there so deep, and I did the same thing like two restarts ago,” remarked Custer. “I’m just so happy. I’ve never won a road course race before. I’ve been so close, so many times. It’s just awesome to win this.”

Creed and Nemechek conversed about their clashes after the race, which ended on amicable terms. On the other hand, tensions between Nemechek and team-mate Sammy Smith lingered after the two tangled, though any matter between the two will likely be settled in the team meeting. The same could not be said for Jeb Burton, who argued with Chandler Smith regarding Smith nearly turning him in turn one with four laps remaining until a Kaulig Racing crewman put Burton in a headlock.

While the aforementioned have plenty of reason to leave Portland as angry drivers, others like Connor Mosack were probably more happy as he secured his first career top ten.

Brad Pérez replaced Leland Honeyman after twenty laps as the latter was dealing with food poisoning. Pérez had started the race as a crew member for their team and finished twenty-eigth.

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 2 00 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 77 Running
2 5 7 Justin Allgaier JR Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
3 36 1 Sam Mayer JR Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
4 3 8 Josh Berry JR Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
5 8 21 Austin Hill Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
6 9 19 Myatt Snider Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 77 Running
7 1 2 Sheldon Creed Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
8 11 24 Connor Mosack Sam Hunt Racing Toyota 77 Running
9 7 16 Chandler Smith Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
10 4 20 John Hunter Nemechek Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 77 Running
11 15 91 Alex Labbé DGM Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
12 19 25 Brett Moffitt AM Racing Ford 77 Running
13 37 9 Brandon Jones JR Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
14 14 48 Parker Kligerman Big Machine Racing Team Chevrolet 77 Running
15 27 02 Blaine Perkins Our Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
16 28 92 Josh Williams DGM Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
17 23 31 Parker Retzlaff Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
18 24 39 Ryan Sieg RSS Racing Ford 77 Running
19 31 45 Jeffrey Earnhardt Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
20 29 53 Patrick Emerling Emerling-Gase Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
21 17 78 Anthony Alfredo B.J. McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
22 20 51 Jeremy Clements Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
23 33 38 Joe Graf Jr. RSS Racing Ford 77 Running
24 35 4 Garrett Smithley JD Motorsports Chevrolet 77 Running
25 13 27 Jeb Burton Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
26 18 26 Kaz Grala Sam Hunt Racing Toyota 77 Running
27 6 10 Jordan Taylor* Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 77 Running
28 21 43 Leland Honeyman/Brad Pérez ^ Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet 76 Accident
29 22 44 Dylan Lupton Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet 76 Running
30 16 18 Sammy Smith Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 75 Running
31 25 08 Preston Pardus SS-Green Light Racing Ford 72 Running
32 12 98 Riley Herbst Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 65 Engine
33 10 11 Daniel Hemric Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 47 Running
34 30 28 Kyle Sieg RSS Racing Ford 46 Rear Gear
35 32 35 Parker Chase Emerling-Gase Motorsports Toyota 36 Tie Rod
36 34 66 Mason Maggio* MBM Motorsports Toyota 28 Transmission
37 38 07 Stefan Parsons SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet 17 Overheating
38 26 6 Brennan Poole JD Motorsports Chevrolet 15 Accident
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
^ – Pérez replaced Honeyman mid-race; Honeyman is credited with the finish
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