Custer Captures First XFINITY Win

Cole Custer

Custer led 183 laps, most ever by a Miami race winner. (Photo: Getty Images)

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Cole Custer dominated Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway en route to capturing his first NASCAR XFINITY Series win.
 
Custer scored his first win in career start No. 37 and gave Stewart-Haas Racing its first XFINITY Series victory.
 
‘"I haven't done that in a while," Custer joked in Victory Lane. "We really wanted to end strong...We wanted to really have a good showing on Ford championship weekend."
 
Custer led 183 laps, most ever by a Miami race winner.
 
“This is just unbelievable,” Custer said. “Going into this year there were just so many question marks. We had nothing in December. To see how far we have come is just incredible."
 
Sam Hornish Jr., William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five.
 
Byron was able to clinch the 2017 series title with his third-place finish.
 
"I can not believe this, I drove so hard, inches off the wall," Byron said. “It's a dream come true. I have to catch my breath, but this is incredible.”
 
Byron had to survive an intense side-by-side battle with JR Motorsports and eventually got by for the top spot with less than ten laps to go when Sadler got hung up behind Ryan Preece racing for position.
 
Sadler confronted Preece on pit road after the race and had to be restrained by NASCAR officials.
 
"He just cost us a championship, and he's not even racing anyone,” an angry Sadler said. “You won't get anywhere in this sport if you race someone like that. You have to race with respect.
 
"I'd say tonight is the most devastating and down and out I've ever felt in my career."
 
Preece insisted he did nothing wrong and was trying to get the best finish possible.
 
"I got hired to race this race for the owner's championship," Preece said.  "If it was anyone else, I would have laid over. I grew up an Elliott Sadler fan...The only thing I could have done is given up second for the owner's championship...it's just team orders.
 
"If there's someone you don't want to cost a championship, it's Elliott Sadler. I was following team orders to win an owner's championship."
 
While JR Motorsports team co-owner was thrilled to see Byron win the title, he understood Sadler’s disappointment.
 
"It's hard to watch Elliott lose a championship and William win one at the same time, you kind of get ripped in two," Earnhardt Jr.

Hornish's second-place finish gave Team Penske the Owner Championship, the organization’s fourth XFINITY Series owner title. This season, the No. 22 was piloted by Ryan Blaney (11 races), Brad Keselowski (nine), Joey Logano (seven), Sam Hornish Jr. (five) and Austin Cindric (one race). 

"I guess when you look at the guys that drove the car and certainly Sam today was all the pressure was on him because we had the 9, we had the 18 and we had the 20. There was four of us that could win this championship," Roger Penske said. "Obviously the way they ran the race, the strategy was perfect.  Obviously Cole Custer had a great car and congratulations to him.  But more important is when you think about Austin, you think about Blaney, Brad and Joey all driving this car during the season and the results really    we've got to take our hat off to Greg Erwin and the guys around that 22 team because they just did a terrific job. 

"We're happy with it, obviously.  I hope I'm sitting here tomorrow, but at the end of the day, this is Saturday, and we had a great run."

 
Brennan Poole, Matt Tifft, Sadler, Michael Annett and Ty Majeski completed the first 10 finishers.

 

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