Cole Custer drives through the field to earn Xfinity Series win in overtime at Portland road course

PORTLAND, OREGON - JUNE 03: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway on June 03, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Cole Custer restarted sixth on an overtime restart, took the lead by the first corner and never looked back through the final two laps to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity series Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway by .142 seconds over Justin Allgaier.

The race went to overtime following a debris caution which set the stage for a dramatic restart. At a track where drivers and spun and run off all day, Parker Kligerman overshot the first corner and pushed leader Justin Allgaier wide while sending Sheldon Creed off the track. It opened the door for Custer to drive up the inside.

“I was just trying to not make mistakes,” Custer said of the final restart. “I did the exact same thing as the leaders earlier in the race… I saw them drive in so deep, and I did the same thing two restarts before.”

Custer had driven through the field to reach this point. Though he recorded the second-fastest time in qualifying, he was sent to the rear for an unapproved adjustment. He made his way to the front quickly, though, earning the Stage 2 win before winning the whole race.

“Man, I’m just so happy. I’ve never won a road course race before in the Xfinity Series. I’ve been so close so many times, and it’s just awesome to win this. It’s just a great day,” he added. “I’m so pumped for the rest of the year. We’ve got fast cars, and we’re putting it all together.”

PORTLAND, OREGON – JUNE 03: Justin Allgaier, driver of the #7 BRANDT Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway on June 03, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Allgaier led 23 laps compared to Custer’s five, and was en route to securing the win with a convincing lead when the debris caution flew. He recovered from the contact with Creed to get back to Custer’s bumper, but couldn’t get around him. Allgaier didn’t want to turn Custer, and he didn’t blame Kligerman either.

“I saw a guy that decided he wanted to win his first race and just missed the braking zone,” said Allgaier. “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.”

PORTLAND, OREGON – JUNE 03: Sheldon Creed, driver of the #2 Whelen Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway on June 03, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammates Sam Mayer and Josh Berry finished third and fourth. Austin Hill rounded out the top five.

“This place put on a hell of a show to say the least,” was Mayer’s conclusion.

Polesitter Creed ended up seventh after being sent off the track by Kligerman, while Kligerman himself finished fourteenth.

Though the race had five caution periods, there was more trouble than that would indicate, with numerous drivers ending up off the track. Most noticeable, though, was an incident that occurred under caution when Daniel Hemric’s car caught fire. The team was able to repair the car and send him back on track.

The Xfinity Series returns at Sonoma Raceway on June 10th.

Photos: NASCAR at Portland International Raceway Saturday June 3, 2023

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Pacific Office Automation 147
Portland International Raceway
Portland, Oregon
Saturday, June 3, 2023

1. (2) Cole Custer, Ford, 77.
2. (5) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 77.
3. (36) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 77.
4. (3) Josh Berry, Chevrolet, 77.
5. (8) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 77.
6. (9) Myatt Snider, Toyota, 77.
7. (1) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 77.
8. (11) Connor Mosack, Toyota, 77.
9. (7) Chandler Smith #, Chevrolet, 77.
10. (4) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 77.
11. (15) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 77.
12. (19) Brett Moffitt, Ford, 77.
13. (37) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 77.
14. (14) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 77.
15. (27) Blaine Perkins #, Chevrolet, 77.
16. (28) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 77.
17. (23) Parker Retzlaff #, Chevrolet, 77.
18. (24) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 77.
19. (31) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 77.
20. (29) Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, 77.
21. (17) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 77.
22. (20) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 77.
23. (33) Joe Graf Jr., Ford, 77.
24. (35) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 77.
25. (13) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 77.
26. (18) Kaz Grala, Toyota, 77.
27. (6) Jordan Taylor(i), Chevrolet, 77.
28. (21) Leland Honeyman, Chevrolet, Accident, 76.
29. (22) Dylan Lupton, Chevrolet, 76.
30. (16) Sammy Smith #, Toyota, 75.
31. (25) Preston Pardus, Ford, 72.
32. (12) Riley Herbst, Ford, Engine, 65.
33. (10) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 47.
34. (30) Kyle Sieg, Ford, Rear Gear, 46.
35. (32) Parker Chase, Toyota, Tie Rod, 36.
36. (34) Mason Maggio(i), Toyota, Transmission, 28.
37. (38) Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, Overheating, 17.
38. (26) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, Accident, 15.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 65.126 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 19 Mins, 45 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.142 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 10 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: S. Creed 1-22;J. Nemechek 23-24;S. Creed 25-49;C. Custer 50-52;J. Allgaier 53-75;C. Custer 76-77.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Sheldon Creed 2 times for 47 laps; Justin Allgaier 1 time for 23 laps; Cole Custer 2 times for 5 laps; John Hunter Nemechek 1 time for 2 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,20,7,21,8,10,00,19,48,98
Stage #2 Top Ten: 00,20,7,48,10,2,1,98,21,27

Owen Johnson