DOVER, Del. — Cole Custer celebrated his seventh victory on the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity series season at Dover International Speedway on Saturday afternoon, the ninth win of his NXS career.
The call to stay out and wait on their final pit stop of the day by Crew Chief Mike Shiplett proved to be the winning one for Custer, as it trapped a majority of the field off of the lead lap when the caution flew during green flag stops late in the event.
“I knew we were probably in a good spot staying out there,” Custer said. “It was a great pit call by Mike (Shiplett) to stay out. It is all about track position here. Whatever you can do on strategy and pit stops to get track position, it is what you need to do.”
On the final two restarts of the day, Custer held off Justin Allgaier, who was in prime position for the victory had the race stayed green.
Allgaier swept both stages earlier in the event, but when the caution flew in the middle of green flag pit stops, he was trapped off of the lead lap.
Allgaier utilized the “free pass” on the same caution, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to get back to the front, and came home second.
“Unfortunately, we short pitted, and I thought we were playing the right strategy,” Allgaier said. “Looking back on it, I still think it was the right strategy, but those guys went way, way further than we anticipated.”
Chase Briscoe took home a Top-5 finish after a tumultuous day in Dover.
Briscoe earned the pole, despite possible electrical issues during his qualifying lap. His No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing team decided to fix whatever the could before the race, which sent them to the back for unapproved adjustments.
The team earned 12 total stage points regardless of the poor start, and took over the lead during stage break pit stops to begin the final stage.
The issues that appeared during qualifying seemed to return during the final stage, but Briscoe soldiered on and continued to lead. Briscoe pitted for the final time at lap 169 but fell victim to the untimely caution at lap 178 and was trapped one lap down.
Briscoe took the wave around, and came back to finish fifth.
“It is encouraging how fast of a car we had, but that is two weeks in a row I feel like we had the best race car and didn’t get the win,” Briscoe said. “There are so many circumstances that go into winning these races and one little thing that you don’t catch at the right time just kills you.”
The “Monster Mile” closed out the NXS Playoff Round of 12, and four drivers were eliminated from championship contention.
John Hunter Nemechek was the first man out, but it wasn’t without trying. Nemechek earned six total stage points through the first half, and was on pit road when the caution flew in the middle of the green flag pit stops, ultimately coming home in eighth.
Justin Haley and Ryan Sieg were both essentially in must-win situations entering Dover, and finished fourth and tenth, respectively.
Brandon Jones was the last of the bunch after his day ended on the first lap of the race. A chain reaction took out both Jones and his Joe Gibbs Racing Teammate, Harrison Burton, resulting in a 37th place finish for Jones.
Jones was only 11 points outside coming into the event, but the untimely exit was an immediate elimination for the No. 19 team.
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) October 5, 2019
Advancing to the next round of the playoffs are Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, and Michael Annett.
The series will take off next week, and will return at Kansas Speedway on October 19th to begin the Round of 8.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com