From Reid Spencer | NASCAR Wire Service
Taking advantage of a melee in Turn 1 after an overtime restart, Cole Custer held off charging Justin Allgaier to win Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway.
After a Lap 73 caution for debris on the track, Allgaier held the lead for the overtime restart on Lap 76. Restarting behind Allgaier, Parker Kligerman steered to the inside and charged the first corner, carrying Allgaier wide and knocking second-place Sheldon Creed, the pole winner, off the track.
From the inside lane, Custer shot into the lead through Turn 1.
Allgaier negotiated the barriers in the Turn 1 chicane and retained second place, and though he got to Custer’s bumper on the final lap, he couldn’t make a clean pass for the win. Custer won the drag race to the finish line by .142 seconds to score his first victory of the season in the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
“I was just trying not to make mistakes,” Custer said of the final restart. “I did the exact same thing (that Kligerman did). I saw him drive in so deep, and I did the same thing two restarts ago.
“Man, I’m just so happy. I’ve never won a road course race before. I’ve been so close so many times, and it’s just so awesome to win this… I’m pumped for the rest of the year. We’ve got fast cars.”
Custer, who won the second stage in a drag race against John Hunter Nemechek, led five laps to claim his 11th career victory. Allgaier led 23 and held a comfortable four-second advantage when Riley Herbst pulled off the track in Turn 9 with flames shooting from his front wheel wells.
That incident caused the fourth caution on Lap 68, but a strong restart kept Allgaier in the lead until the final debris caution and subsequent overtime.
Allgaier was philosophical about Kligerman’s change into the first corner.
“I saw a guy that decided he wanted to win his first race and just missed the braking zone,” said Allgaier, who picked up his first victory of the season in Monday’s rain-delayed Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “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.”
Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammates, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry, finished third and fourth, respectively. Austin Hill was fifth, followed by Myatt Snider, Creed, Connor Mosack, Chandler Smith and Nemechek.
The Xfinity Series will travel south to race in the DoorDash 250 at Sonoma Raceway on June 10 (8 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race - Pacific Office Automation 147
Portland International Raceway
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
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Photo's: NASCAR | James Gilbert (Getty Images)