Cole Custer declared NASCAR Xfinity Series winner after persistent rain washes out race

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Fans take pictures in the rain before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at the Grant Park 220 Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

CHICAGO – Cole Custer was hanging out in his pit box when he won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Sunday.

The whole moment was pretty strange.

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“It's like how excited can you be because it didn't feel like we did anything today,” he said.

Custer was declared the winner of the first Xfinity stop in downtown Chicago after persistent rain flooded the street course.

The race started Saturday but was suspended after 25 laps because of a lightning strike in the area. NASCAR had planned to resume it Sunday morning, but it scuttled that idea because of the rain and the scheduled Cup Series race.

“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," NASCAR said in a statement.

Returning on Monday “was an option we chose not to employ,” NASCAR said in its statement, citing its partnership with the city and the fact that nearly half of the Xfinity race had been completed.

NASCAR also canceled concerts by Miranda Lambert and Charley Crockett because of flooding in Lower Hutchinson Field.

The first Cup Series race on a street course is scheduled to begin at 4:05 p.m.

Custer led each of the first 25 laps in his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford before Saturday's weather delay. John Hunter Nemechek was second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Brett Moffitt and Austin Hill.

The race was supposed to be 55 laps and 121 miles (194 km).

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

Custer earned his second Xfinity Series victory this season and No. 12 for his career. He also won on the road course at Portland International Raceway on June 3.

“It's definitely one of the weirdest wins (I've) ever been a part of, for sure,” he said. “But we’ll take it. I mean, you know, we’re racers and you take it as it comes. So we’re proud of it.”


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