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Race report

Cole Custer wins chaotic NASCAR Xfinity race at Portland

Cole Custer claimed his first victory of the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity season at Portland International Raceway after a wild road course race.

Custer lined in the third row for the final restart, but was actually in the perfect position to inherit the race lead. A failed attempt at a three-wide pass for the lead from Parker Kligerman, Custer jumped into the lead of the race.

Justin Allgaier closed the gap the final two laps and got all the way to Custer bumper, but was unable to snatch the victory away.

The win was the eleventh of Custer's career, and locks him into the playoffs. Allgaier was second, Sam Mayer third, Josh Berry fourth, and Austin Hill fifth.

Myatt Snider, Sheldon Creed, Connor Mosack, Chandler Smith, and John-Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top-ten.

"Just trying not to make mistakes," said Custer post-race. "I did the same exact thing. I saw him dive in there so deep and I did the same thing like two restarts ago. I'm just so happy. I've never won a road course race before. I've been so close, so many times. It's just awesome to win this.

"I can’t thank Haas Automation, everybody at Stewart-Haas and the Xfinity program, and the Cup program. This is just a great day. J.T. (Jonathan Toney) just for coming in to crew chief. It’s awesome to get this trophy and get that out of the way. I’m pumped for the rest of the year. We got fast cars, and starting to put it all together."

After the race, a brief scuffle ensued as Jeb Burton went to confront Chandler Smith over contact between the two drivers late in the race. They weren't the only drivers upset after 77 laps of competition.

 

Stage 1

The race got underway with Sheldon Creed leading the field off into Turn 1. Behind him, Chandler Smith went for a spin and lost all of his track position.

Soon after, Sammy Smith made an unscheduled pit stop due to shifter issues.

Creed was constantly hounded by Nemechek, who finally made a move with six laps to go in the opening stage. But a caution for a stalled car would delay their battle.

During the caution period, Daniel Hemric saw his race end abruptly as fire erupted from under the hood of his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

The battle for the stage win was a thrilling one with Nemechek fighting his way past Creed with just one lap to go. However, he ran wide in the final corner and Creed slipped back around him for the stage win.

They were followed by Allgaier, A. Hill, Berry, Jordan Taylor, Custer, Snider, Kligerman, and Riley Herbst.

During the stage break, Leland Honeyman Jr. wasn't feeling well, so he climbed out of the car. Brad Perez replaced him behind the wheel of the No. 43 Alpha Prime entry.

 

Stage 2

At the beginning of the second stage, it was now Berry who went for a spin in Turn 1.

At the front, Allgaier got around Nemechek for second place, but was unable to take the lead from Creed.

There were single-car spins throughout the pack during the stage, but nothing caution-worthy.

On the final lap, it was Nemechek versus Creed once again, but it all went wrong in the final corner.

Nemechek got into Creed, who then spun. Custer took advantage of the chaos and pulled alongside Nemechek. In a photo finish, Custer stole the Stage 2 win. The margin of victory was just 0.012s.

Custer and Nemechek were followed by Allgaier, Kligerman, Taylor, Creed, Mayer, Herbst, A. Hill, and J. Burton.

 

Stage 3

Custer led the way at the start of the final stage, but only for a moment as he blew the entry into Turn 1 and lost several positions.

Allgaier took over the race lead, while Creed hunted Nemechek back down for revenge. Once there, he spun him out in the final corner. The move also cost Creed several seconds on track.

Allgaier skipped away from the chaos behind, and things were about to get worse for Nemechek. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith ran into him as they raced down into Turn 1, costing both dearly. Nemechek took his frustrations out on his teammate, and doored him later in the lap.

After pitting for repairs, an irate Nemechek returned to the track just in front of Creed, and appeared to make the pass as difficult as possible for him.

Allgaier was cruising to Victory Lane it seemed, but a late caution for the car stationary car of Riley Herbst closed the field back up.

Allgaier survived the restart, but Creed was in hot pursuit. The caution flag flew once again with three laps to go.

It didn't take long for a two-lap dash to the finish to become chaotic. Kligerman made it three-wide for the race lead, but blew the entry into Turn 1. Both Allgaier and Creed missed the corner as a result, clearing the way for Custer to take the race lead and ultimately, the victory.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 00 United States Cole Custer Ford 77 2:05'51.726     5
2 7 United States Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 77 2:05'51.868 0.142 0.142 23
3 1 Sam Mayer Chevrolet 77 2:05'53.417 1.691 1.549  
4 8 Josh Berry Chevrolet 77 2:05'54.751 3.025 1.334  
5 21 United States Austin Hill Chevrolet 77 2:05'55.508 3.782 0.757  
6 19 United States Myatt Snider Toyota 77 2:05'55.996 4.270 0.488  
7 2 United States Sheldon Creed Chevrolet 77 2:05'56.136 4.410 0.140 47
8 24 Connor Mosack Toyota 77 2:05'56.475 4.749 0.339  
9 16 Chandler Smith Chevrolet 77 2:05'57.023 5.297 0.548  
10 20 United States John Hunter Nemechek Toyota 77 2:05'57.150 5.424 0.127 2
11 91 Canada Alex Labbé Chevrolet 77 2:05'57.713 5.987 0.563  
12 25 United States Brett Moffitt Ford 77 2:05'57.951 6.225 0.238  
13 9 United States Brandon Jones Chevrolet 77 2:05'58.143 6.417 0.192  
14 48 United States Parker Kligerman Chevrolet 77 2:05'58.574 6.848 0.431  
15 02 Blaine Perkins Chevrolet 77 2:05'59.620 7.894 1.046  
16 92 United States Josh Williams Chevrolet 77 2:05'59.893 8.167 0.273  
17 31 Parker Retzlaff Chevrolet 77 2:06'00.398 8.672 0.505  
18 39 United States Ryan Sieg Ford 77 2:06'01.749 10.023 1.351  
19 45 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet 77 2:06'02.725 10.999 0.976  
20 53 Emerlingб Patrick Ford 77 2:06'03.345 11.619 0.620  
21 78 Anthony Alfredo Chevrolet 77 2:06'03.349 11.623 0.004  
22 51 United States Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 77 2:06'03.506 11.780 0.157  
23 38 Joe Jr. Ford 77 2:06'04.130 12.404 0.624  
24 4 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 77 2:06'07.409 15.683 3.279  
25 27 United States Jeb Burton Chevrolet 77 2:06'08.288 16.562 0.879  
26 26 United States Kaz Grala Toyota 77 2:06'08.435 16.709 0.147  
27 10 United States Jordan Taylor Chevrolet 77 2:06'33.878 42.152 25.443  
28 43 Leland Honeyman Chevrolet 76 2:04'40.790 1 Lap 1 Lap  
29 44 United States Dylan Lupton Chevrolet 76 2:06'33.272 1 Lap 1'52.482  
30 18 Sammy Smith Toyota 75 2:06'04.790 2 Laps 1 Lap  
31 08 Preston Pardus Chevrolet 72 2:06'07.420 5 Laps 3 Laps  
32 98 United States Riley Herbst Ford 65 1:42'55.841 12 Laps 7 Laps  
33 11 United States Daniel Hemric Chevrolet 47 2:06'36.725 30 Laps 18 Laps  
34 28 Kyle Sieg Ford 46 1:12'57.769 31 Laps 1 Lap  
35 35 United States Parker Chase Chevrolet 36 59'33.926 41 Laps 10 Laps  
36 66 Mason Maggio Toyota 28 49'06.861 49 Laps 8 Laps  
37 07 Stefan Parsons Chevrolet 17 23'04.499 60 Laps 11 Laps  
38 6 United States Brennan Poole Chevrolet 15 19'53.064 62 Laps 2 Laps  

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