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NASCAR Xfinity: Cole Custer winner at Darlington after Hamlin disqualified

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – AUGUST 31: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Production Alliance Group Ford, races Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 McCall’s Supply Ruud Toyota, during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway on August 31, 2019 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Denny Hamlin was first at the checkered flag of the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday. But when Hamlin’s car didn’t meet height requirements in post-race inspection, Cole Custer went from runner-up to Darlington race winner. The win was Custer’s sixth NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the season, tying him with Christopher Bell for most by a single driver, so far, in 2019.

“it’s a really strange feeling, obviously,” Custer said. ”You don’t want to win them that way, but it is what it is. We all play by the same rules. Was that the deciding factor? No, with everything, he won the race, but it is what it is. We get the points. We get the money, and we get everything, including the trophy, so we’ll take it.”

Hamlin, meanwhile, went from winner to last (38th) after leading 27 laps.

With inspections completed and the finishing order adjusted, Tyler Reddick was credited with second, Ryan Blaney third and Bell fourth.

“Yeah, that was awful,” Bell said. “I don’t know what happened. We weren’t very good, there. Very thankful that we got to work on this Ruud Supra throughout the race. We took off, and I was really tight, there, in stage one. I was like, ‘Okay, we can work on it here and get it a little better,’ and then, all of a sudden, I was just wrecking loose the entire rest of the race. Not what we wanted at all, but really glad to be driving for this team.”

Hamlin’s disqualification moved Dale Earnhardt Jr. into fifth for a top-five in his only race of the season.

Custer’s latest win came after not leading a lap. Saturday’s race had three leaders, led by Reddick’s 70 laps led in the 147-lap race. Blaney led 50 laps, and Hamlin led the final 27.

Hamlin started in the back after going to a backup car because of a practice crash. He passed 12 cars on the first lap and was about mid-pack when the first caution came on lap 12 when John Hunter Nemechek hit the wall. Hamlin gave up the positions gained to pit, and as a result, was, again, in the back. He was inside the top-five by the time the second stage ended at lap 90, and he took the lead on lap 121.

“We stalled out about 10th or 12th place,” Hamlin said. “We just couldn’t go anywhere. Like I said, I thought something was wrong with the car, because of the lack of steering that it had to it. This track just gets super slick. This is the slickest I’ve seen this race track ever and I’ve been here in the old days when it was a bunch of rocks. It was fun to slide around here today and, hopefully, have some more fun tomorrow (in the Southern 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race).”

Blaney started on the pole and led the first 15 laps before Reddick took the lead on the first restart at lap 16. He continued up front to win the opening stage at lap 45.

Blaney retook the lead on lap 85 and was the winner of the second stage. He was the race leader until Hamlin took the top spot.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway:

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Posted by on August 31, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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