Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Fontana, denying Kyle Busch – The Associated Press

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Fontana, denying Kyle Busch - The Associated Press
Cole Custer holds off Kyle Busch for home state win
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Cole Custer postponed Kyle Buschs historic 200th victory for at least one more day.

Custer held off Busch to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, preventing Busch from tying Richard Pettys record with his 200th win across NASCARs three major series.

As far as layout is concerned, there is only one other track that is a copy of it in Michigan International Speedway with both being two-miles in length per lap and being classified as D-shaped Ovals because of their bowed out front-stretch. The track was originally partly-owned by Roger Penske and he played a pivotal role in it being built out west and the design of the track and grandstands. In fact, he specifically designed the D-shape in the track so that every seat would have a better view of the race than at a normal track, but I digress. The racing surface is very wide, even for a longer track, and can easily fit 4-5-wide for good portions of the front and back stretches making the racing quite exciting. The track is also one that allows for drivers to find multiple ways around the track in that the bottom and top grooves will be well-utilized but so will the middle ones as well. The turns are all banked at a fairly shallow 14 degrees of tilt making it not quite as fast as it’s sister track in Michigan but there will still be speeds of 180-plus MPH on Sunday. The racing surface is very old. It’s job is to eat and destroy tires and it’s quite good at its job. The surface is comparable to Atlanta and Chicagoland in terms of tracks that tire wear plays a big role.

The 21-year-old Custer capitalized when a disastrous pit stop dropped Busch to 14th place with 33 laps to go in a race Busch had dominated up to that point. Although Busch charged back through the field, he couldnt catch up to Custer, who drove his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to his third career Xfinity victory on his home track.

The Associated Press called Kyle Buschs 200th victory too soon

You definitely look in the mirror and you see that black car, and youre just hoping it doesnt get bigger, Custer said.

Video: California kid Cole Custer celebrates first Auto Club win

Custer is from Ladera Ranch, an affluent coastal community in Orange County about 55 miles south of Fontana. The son of veteran racing executive Joe Custer earned his fifth overall victory across NASCARs three major series — just 194 fewer than the 33-year-old Busch.

NEXT ARTICLE DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT! Get The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to win your fantasy league. It is EVERYTHING you need to draft in snake or auction drafts including a tight grid with tiers & auction values plus rankings, sleepers, rookies, busts & a games by position chart. DOMINATE TODAY! Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (just east of Los Angeles) plays host to the race this Sunday, the aptly named Auto Club 400. This is a relatively new track by NASCAR standards with it opening in 1997 for the first races here and in that time it has hosted 29 races wavering back and forth between one race and two races a year.

I grew up racing about 20 minutes from here, (so) it means a lot to come back here and win, Custer said. Every driver wants to win here because of how cool the track is, but also because its a hometown track, it means a lot to me. … Kyle, hes got to be one of the legends of our sport To keep him (waiting) one more race for that 200th win is pretty great. I know hes probably pretty frustrated, though.

One last note before we breakdown the Props Challenge questions and the drivers in the playbook. Qualifying was pretty much a bust. The final round so no driver take an actual time as all 12 failed to make it across the start/finish line for the start of their timed lap before the clock hit 0:00. That means their starting spots were determined by the order of their second-round runs meaning the first 12 spots aren’t the truest depiction of who has a pole worthy car and who doesn’t.

Thanks to a pit stop that included a jack mistake and an uncontrolled tire penalty, Busch missed his first chance to match Pettys hallowed mark despite leading 98 of the 150 laps. Hell get another opportunity when he competes in the Cup Series race at Fontana on Sunday.

Video: No. 18 team pit road woes drops Kyle Busch from lead

When you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times and they stay the same distance apart, Busch said. We just werent quick enough there at the end to chase them down. … Well see what happens (Sunday).

First, he took a penalty which dropped him from first to eighth when he had a slow start on pit road.

Cup regular drivers had won 23 consecutive Xfinity series races at Fontana since 2002, but Custer broke the streak at the expense of Busch and Ryan Preece, who finished eighth.

This event is also a popular draw for NASCAR DFS players, with FanDuel hosting a $100K Sunday Intimidator and DraftKings running a $400K Piston tournament. If youre setting a lineup for one of those tournaments or any cash games, check in with SportsLines Mike McClure. Hes a professional DFS player who has won almost $2 million in his career, and his top NASCAR DFS picks, optimal lineups and advice can help you cash in at Fontana on Sunday.

I felt like we were honestly pretty good, Custer said. It was just a matter of getting the track position and getting a tick better, and I think we accomplished all of that.

NASCAR Xfinity Auto Club race results: Cole Custer denies Kyle Buschs run to 200

Busch clearly was the class of the Fontana field under serious gusting wind on the weathered 2-mile asphalt track one hour east of Los Angeles. He led each of the first two stages and was cruising toward his landmark win — but he lost seven spots of track position when his crew had a painfully slow pit stop with 35 laps to go, making a mistake with the jack.

For the 2019 Auto Club 400 on Sunday, we can tell you McClure is banking on Joey Logano at $12,800 on FanDuel and $10,400 on DraftKings. Logano has looked extremely comfortable at Fontana, recording a top-five finish in his past three starts at this track. In total, he has five top-five finishes in 12 appearances at Auto Club Speedway as well as three Xfiniity Series victories at Fontana.

Video: Custer: It means a ton to keep Busch at 199

Buschs team was then hit with a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, pushing Busch back to 14th when the race resumed. He moved up to second with 15 laps to go, but he just couldnt catch Custer.

They didnt get the jack high enough and they couldnt get the tire off, Busch said. We lost track position there and we had an uncontrolled tire on the same stop and had to go to the back, and (we) rebounded. Thats all there is to it.

Busch started second and took the lead with a side draft on the opening lap of the Xfinity race on Saturday, and he only briefly gave back the lead before reclaiming it and finishing the first stage in front by a healthy 5 seconds. He also led after the second stage, and he stayed in front under pressure from Tyler Reddick before the field slowed up in two cautions, leading to the decisive pit stop.

A strategy ploy that failed under the sport’s new handling package ended in embarrassment as all teams were left holding their cards. All 12 drivers who made the final round of qualifying started too late in the session, determined not to be the one at the front of the group draft. Reduced horsepower has made drafting important in order to gain some extra speed for a one-lap run. In many cases, drivers are simply running wide open, not tapping the brakes so they’re searching for any small way to gain time.

Reddick took the overall Xfinity points standings lead with his fourth-place finish. Custer is seven points behind.

There’s been a lot of discussion about Kyle Busch approaching 200 career NASCAR victories (across all national circuits, not the 200 top-tier wins Richard Petty recorded), and so it’s not surprising that news organizations had stories queued up and ready to go if he picked up his 200th win in the Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway Saturday afternoon in Fontana, California. However, one of those organizations sent their story out too soon, declaring Busch the winner before the race ended.

Busch would eventually go on to lose to Xfinity Series regular Cole Custer (who was competing on his home track), and it was the Associated Press that sent out a much-too-soon alert, so that led to a widely-syndicated error. Here’s a look at the news alert they moved via Jay “Jayski” Adamczyk (formerly affiliated with ESPN, now independent), in what looks like a screenshot of The Washington Post:

Shoot, even the AP and FOX 5 Sports knew who was going to win before the end of the race.#NASCAR 🏁

Its a little bit on us that we hoped things would go better than that,” Miller added. We certainly want to provide our fans with what they deserve and we and the teams didnt do a very good job of that today, so were really disappointed.

@FOX5Sports We have a new winner in the rush to be the first to report news! Announcing Kyle Busch as the winner of the Xfinity race over an hour before the race is even over! 🙄🙄🙄

The 33-year old future Hall of Famer has won 199 times combined in NASCARs three national series — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck. The historic mark could come with a win in Saturdays Production Alliance Group 300 Xfinity race at Californias Auto Club Speedway or Sundays Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Things all went wrong for Busch with a bad pit stop with 35 laps to go, which dropped him to 14th place. That included a penalty for an uncontrolled tire:

Even more trouble on pit road for Kyle Busch. He's currently P.14. 32 laps to go.

Busch fought his way back to second in the end, but didn’t have enough to catch Custer. Even if the AP previously thought he did.

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