RICHMOND, VA. — Facing the threat of rain the majority of the night, Cole Custer fought his way to the top of the leaderboard, taking the checkered flag and the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus check on Friday (April 12) at Richmond Raceway.
Custer passed Austin Cindric to retake the lead for the final time with 20 laps to go, claiming his second victory of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
“They kept saying the rain was 15 or 20 laps away and it never came,” Custer said post-race. “They made us work for it, but it means a lot that we actually did finish the race. It is just huge for our team to get this second win and inching toward being the team to beat.”
Custer now has four career victories in 79 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
Qualifying was rained out earlier in the day, so the field was set by the 2019 Owner’s Standings. Riley Herbst, making his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series start, led the field to the green flag in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Herbst led the first lap of the race, but Custer took it over on the very next lap and led the next 18.
Justin Allgaier took over command from Custer on lap 20. Christopher Bell then claimed it at lap 37.
Bell and Allgaier paced the field until the first caution of the night on lap 66. On the ensuing restart, Allgaier retook the lead and went on to win Stage 1.
In Stage 2, Allgaier continued leading until the third caution flag flew, and that’s when the strategy mixed up the running order.
Allgaier opted to stay out with a handful of other cars, while many of the front-running cars came in to pit. Custer wound up as the beneficiary of the strategies, taking over the lead from Allgaier en route to the Stage 2 victory.
To begin the third stage, Allgaier restarted mid-pack while Custer stayed out and continued to lead.
With the race official, and the threat of rain imminent, Custer looked to be in the best position to win. The rain never came, and the race was on to the official distance.
Allgaier worked his way back up to second, but stalled out as the tires continued to wear. The second-to-last caution brought the field back down pit road, and back on equal tires. Custer was able to maintain the lead over Allgaier.
On the final restart, Cindric was able to take over the lead from Custer, but with 20 laps to go, Custer regained the lead and continued on to victory lane.
Tyler Reddick continues to lead the standings over Christopher Bell, the gap now at 24 points.
Custer, Cindric, Allgaier, and Reddick all have qualified for the third round of the Xfinity “Dash 4 Cash” at Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com