SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Cole Custer was never really challenged down the stretch. He just acted like Christopher Bell was in his rear-view mirror, an approach that motivated him to keep a safe distance.
Custer grabbed an Xfinity Series-high fifth victory of the season Friday night with a win over Bell at Kentucky Speedway.
“He got a little close and I was definitely sweating a little bit,” said Custer, who fell backward off his car during the victory lane celebration. “He was definitely our competition there at the end, but we had the better car. I was sweating after that green flag pit stop because he closed in on me and I had trouble with lappers, but we had a good enough car to pull away.”
Custer, Bell and reigning series champion Tyler Reddick have dominated the series all year and finished 1-2-3 at Kentucky. Bell, who has four wins this season, won the first two stages and led 72 laps. Reddick, the series points leader and a three-time winner this season, didn’t lead a lap.
“We were able to win the two stages, so we got a couple more playoff points,” Bell said. “Just got to work on a couple more things and we’ll be good.”