Cole Custer does it again at his home state track
As the only former Auto Club Speedway winner in the field for last Saturday’s Production Alliance 300, Cole Custer used the expertise to his advantage. After a race that went into triple overtime and lasted more than three hours, Custer managed his second win at the Fontana, California track in the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Ford.
Custer had an all-around great race, consistently battling for the lead with Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier. Ultimately, Custer led the final 21 laps and finished the race with a total of 80 laps led.
His last trip to Auto Club Speedway’s Victory Lane was in 2019 where he managed to stay on top in the last 19 laps. That season, he went on to post a career-high seven wins, 17 top fives and 24 top 10s.
Custer’s win in the Production Alliance 300 marks the first in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for SS Green Light Racing. The Bobby Dotter-owned team has a technical alliance with Custer’s NASCAR Cup Series team, Stewart-Haas Racing.
The decorated driver competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series but will make more appearances this season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He finished runner-up in NASCAR Xfinity Series championships in back-to back seasons (2018 and 2019) and finished his NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie season fifth in the standings in 2017.
This weekend, SS Green Light Racing will have Joe Graf Jr. piloting the No. 07 Ford at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Go big or go home: Heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway
This weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Alsco Uniforms 300. The race begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on March 5, 2022 on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
This will be the 30th running of a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 29 previous Xfinity races have produced 17 different pole winners and 21 different race winners.
Five drivers are tied for the Xfinity Series lead in poles at Las Vegas with two each – Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Cole Custer.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four (1999, 2005, 2008 and 2011). Kyle Busch leads all active drivers this weekend with two victories (2016, 2019).
Six of the 29 (20.7%) NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been won from the pole or first starting position; the most recent was Chase Briscoe’s win in 2020.
This weekend’s practice is scheduled for Friday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by Qualifying at 7 p.m. ET both will be televised on FS1.
Regular Season champ A.J. Allmendinger returns to Vegas atop the standings
For the second week in a row, Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger holds the top spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings after opening the season with two top-10 finishes.
Allmendinger is the defending winner of the NASCAR Xfinity Series spring Las Vegas race, taking the checkered after taking the lead with just 13 laps to go. The win kick started Allmendinger 2021 campaign which led to a Regular Season Championship and eventually earning a spot in the Championship 4 Round in the Playoffs for the first time in his career.
This season, the 40-year-old from Los Gatos, California is looking to be the first driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to win consecutive regular season titles.
Allmendinger has made two series starts at Las Vegas posting a win and two top 10s. His average finish is 4.0.
JRM’s Josh Berry looks to go back-to-back at Las Vegas
Last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Las Vegas Motor Speedway Playoff race winner, Josh Berry, will be driving his No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend with a chance to become just the second driver in series history to win back-to-back races at the 1.5-mile track; joining Chase Briscoe, who swept both Xfinity races in 2020.
Josh Berry is in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and is paired with crew chief Mike Bumgarner at JR Motorsports. In the 2021 season, he finished 17th in the final championship standings after making just 22 series starts. He posted two wins, six top fives and 12 top 10s.
Berry is currently seventh in the Xfinity Series driver standings 27 points behind A.J. Allmendinger in the series standings lead. Berry finished 16th in the season opener at Daytona and then fourth last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
Berry has made two series starts at Las Vegas posting one win (2021), and two top 10s. His average finish is a stout 4.0 – tied with AJ Allmendinger for series-best among active drivers this weekend.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: Two Races In
After a wild NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway that resulted in three overtimes, the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year class learned the competition is stiff.
The Production Alliance 300 didn’t go as planned for last week’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 winner, Austin Hill. The Richard Childress Racing driver was involved in an early race incident and finished 27th but added another 10 points to his season standings tally.
Hill’s RCR teammate, Sheldon Creed, was unable to finish the race after completing only 156 laps and being involved in two separate incidents. He ultimately finished 32nd.
Not far behind Creed was Jesse Iwuji who finished 36th after having to go behind the wall early in the race with ignition issues. He returned after fixing the issue but was several laps down.
Hill leads his competition with 57 points, already secure in his Playoff spot after winning in Daytona. Creed is still fighting his way up with 36 points, followed by Iwuji with 11 points.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Not a bad start for Trevor Bayne, Ryan Truex now has a shot – Joe Gibbs Racing’sTrevor Bayne made his NASCAR Xfinity Series return at Auto Club Speedway in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota last weekend posting a third-place finish.
Bayne is running a part-time schedule this season, so you won’t see him competing in Las Vegas this weekend but expect to see him later this month at Phoenix Raceway.
Instead, this weekend Ryan Truex will rejoin Joe Gibbs Racing and pilot the No. 18 Toyota this weekend as part of a four race deal he has signed with the organization in 2022.
“I’m honored to compete in the No. 18 Toyota GR Supra with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season,” Truex said. “Having the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Joe Gibbs Racing entry is an absolute dream come true. Even better, Toyota is sponsoring my inaugural race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend. I can’t thank them and Joe Gibbs Racing enough for making this happen.”
Ryan Truex has made four Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas posting one top-10 finish.
Xfinity Milestone Starts – Last weekend Jeremy Clements made 400th NASCAR Xfinity Series career start. This weekend, Justin Allgaier will be making his 375th NASCAR Xfinity Series career start. Tommy Joe Martins will be making his 125th NASCAR Xfinity Series career start this weekend.