Cole Custer named winner of Chicago XFinity race after rain cuts short the race

Cole Custer named winner of Chicago XFinity race after rain cuts short the race

Custer was named the winner of the inaugural Xfinity race in downtown Chicago after heavy rain overwhelmed the street course forcing the event to be cut short at halfway point.

Cole Custer was declared the winner of The Loop 121 NASCAR Xfinity Series race after the race was cut short three laps before the halfway point and five laps before Stage 2 had concluded due to torrential rain and standing water on the Chicago Street Course.

As a result of a lightning strike in the vicinity, the race that had begun on Saturday was called off after 25 laps. Due to the weather and the scheduled Cup Series race, NASCAR later decided against resuming the event on Sunday morning.

In his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Custer led each of the first 25 laps just before Saturday’s weather delay. John Hunter Nemechek finished second followed by Justin Allgaier, Brett Moffitt and Austin Hill who rounded out the top five.

Sammy Smith, Daniel Hemric, Chandler Smith, Parker Kligerman and Kaz Grala earned positions six through 10, respectively.

NASCAR had scheduled 55 laps and 121 miles (194 km) as the original distance for the XFinity race.

“It’s been an awesome weekend overall,” said Custer, who drives the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. “The whole event, the whole thing that NASCAR’s put on here — the whole city — it’s been pretty unreal… The course is such a blast to drive.

“Today, we definitely wish we could have run all the laps. We don’t want to win it this way, but at the end of the day, we had a really fast car. I think everybody knew that.”

It was Custer’s second Xfinity Series triumph of the year, his 12th overall and his 10th straight top-10 finish this season. He also triumphed on the road course on June 3 at Portland International Raceway.

This is the first time NASCAR has crowned a winner before the halfway point or the conclusion of the second stage, the two criteria for an official event as the second criterion took effect in 2020 following the introduction of stage racing, which was in 2017.

The decision to shorten the race was explained in a statement by NASCAR: “With standing water and flooding a significant issue at the race track and throughout the city, there was no option to return to racing prior to shifting to NASCAR Cup Series race operations.

“Throughout the entire planning process for the Chicago Street Race, our relationship with the City of Chicago has been strong and among the most valuable assets in reaching this historic weekend.

“In the spirit of that partnership, returning on Monday for the completion of a NASCAR Xfinity Series event two laps short of halfway was an option we chose not to employ. Based on several unprecedented circumstances, NASCAR has made the decision to declare Cole Custer the winner of the race.”

NASCAR also postponed performances by Charley Crockett and Miranda Lambert due to the floods in Lower Hutchinson Field.

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