Overtime pass propels Cole Custer to road course win in Portland

Overtime pass propels Cole Custer to road course win in Portland

Taking advantage of a melee in Turn 1 after an overtime restart, Cole Custer held off charging Justin Allgaier to win Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway.

After a Lap 73 caution for debris on the track, Allgaier held the lead for the overtime restart on Lap 76. Restarting behind Allgaier, Parker Kligerman steered to the inside and charged the first corner, carrying Allgaier wide and knocking second place Sheldon Creed, the pole winner, off the track.

From the inside lane, Custer shot into the lead through Turn 1.

Allgaier negotiated the barriers in the Turn 1 chicane and retained second place, and though he got to Custer’s bumper on the final lap, he couldn’t make a clean pass for the win. Custer won the drag race to the finish line by .142 seconds to score his first victory of the season in the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

“I was just trying not to make mistakes,” Custer said of the final restart. “I did the exact same thing (that Kligerman did). I saw him drive in so deep, and I did the same thing two restarts ago.

“Man, I’m just so happy. I’ve never won a road-course race before. I’ve been so close so many times, and it’s just so awesome to win this… I’m pumped for the rest of the year. We’ve got fast cars.”

Custer, who won the second stage in a drag race against John Hunter Nemechek, led five laps to claim his 11th career victory. Allgaier led 23 and held a comfortable four-second advantage when Riley Herbst pulled off the track in Turn 9 with flames shooting from his front wheel wells.

That incident caused the fourth caution on Lap 68, but a strong restart kept Allgaier in the lead until the final debris caution and subsequent overtime.

Allgaier was philosophical about Kligerman’s change into the first corner.

“I saw a guy that decided he wanted to win his first race and just missed the braking zone,” said Allgaier, who picked up his first victory of the season in Monday’s rain-delayed Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I understand it. I don’t blame him for being aggressive. I just hate it for everybody on this team.

“I felt like we did everything we needed to do today. These guys put an absolutely incredible Camaro underneath me. We were able to get up there and mind our business and not make anybody mad and have good, solid laps. And then there at the end, to have it taken away like that and finish second is really tough.

“Hats off to Cole. He did what he needed to do—he made Turn 1.”

Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammates, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry, finished third and fourth, respectively. Austin Hill was fifth, followed by Myatt Snider, Creed, Connor Mosack, Chandler Smith and Nemechek.