Cole Custer is the newest winner in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Restarting sixth with two laps to go, Custer passed leaders Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap to capture his first win in NASCAR’s elite series.
“I didn’t think we were coming here and [winning], now we’re gonna be in the All-Star Race,” Custer said. “I don’t even have to run the Open. Hopefully, I make it to Bristol.”
Custer led twice for five laps — his first laps led in Cup Series competition.
The Stewart Haas Racing driver is now the only rookie currently virtually guaranteed to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
“We had a great car all day, one of the best cars I’ve ever driven in my life,” Custer said.
Truex Jr. settled for second place after leading three times for 57 laps.
“Just an unbelievable race car,” said Truex, a two-time Kentucky Speedway winner. “In the end there, just a bit unlucky losing the lead to (Ryan) Blaney on that first restart by a couple thousandths and then again to the 4 (Kevin Harvick) when the caution came out.”
Matt DiBenedetto, who finished third, earned his highest finish since a second-place run at Las Vegas in February.
“We were 18th because of track position how it cycled out with like seven to go,” DiBenedetto said. “We had two monstrous restarts and then pushed Cole to the win there, which kind of felt cool.”
Kevin Harvick finished in fourth and Kurt Busch, the defending race winner, rounded out the Top-5.
THROUGH THE FIELD
Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski and Tyler Reddick finished in positions sixth through 10th.
Jimmie Johnson, making the return to the No. 48 car, finished 18th.
Defending series champion and race polesitter Kyle Busch finished 21st.
The next event for the Cup Series is the All-Star Race scheduled for July 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The next points race for the series is scheduled for July 19 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick remains the points leader with 675 total points over Brad Keseloski (587), Ryan Blaney (580), Chase Elliott (575) and Joey Logano (564).
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.