Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Heavy Rain Forces NASCAR to Declare Cole Custer Winner of Xfinity Chicago Street Race

NASCAR has declared Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, the winner of Saturday’s The Loop 121 at the Chicago Street Course. Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade | NKP | Courtesy of Ford Performance

Cole Custer has been declared the winner of the inaugural The Loop 121, the first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series event on the Chicago Street Course after the weather failed to cooperate with NASCAR’s efforts to resume the race on Sunday.

The sanctioning body made the choice to deem the race official after 1:30 PM ET, citing the rare circumstances at hand in the decision. Usually, NASCAR requires a race to have reached halfway or the end of the second stage before calling it official.

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“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’s statement reads. “Throughout the entire planning process for the Chicago Street Race, our relationship with the City of Chicago has been strong and among the most valuable assets in reaching this historic weekend.”

“In the spirit of that partnership, returning on Monday for the completion of a NASCAR Xfinity Series event two laps short of halfway was an option we chose not to employ. Based on several unprecedented circumstances, NASCAR has made the decision to declare Cole Custer the winner of the race.”

Custer, who secured the pole position for Saturday’s historic event, dominated the entirety of the event, leading all 25 laps en route to his second victory of the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season for Stewart-Haas Racing.

The rain-shortened win also marks the 12th victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the 25-year-old driver, who returned to the series on a full-time basis in 2023, after his multi-year stint in the NASCAR Cup Series.

John Hunter Nemechek has been named the race’s runner-up finisher, while Justin Allgaier, Brett Moffitt, and Austin Hill will complete the top five in the inaugural The Loop 121 in Chicago.

Sammy Smith, Daniel Hemric, Chandler Smith, Parker Kligerman, and Kaz Grala rounded out the top-10 finishers in the historic event, which due to weather, has become one of the shortest NASCAR Xfinity Series races in a long time.

Andre Castro, making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for Jesse Iwuji Motorsports, will be credited with a 37th-place finish, after crashing in the early portions of the event, one of two cars that retired from the event.

Justin Marks, driving the No. 10 for Kaulig Racing, will finish 38th after blowing in engine in the first couple of laps, which drew the first of three full-course cautions.

Leaving Chicago, John Hunter Nemechek continues to hold the NASCAR Xfinity Series points lead, by 16 points over Austin Hill. Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, and Chandler Smith round out the top-five in standings leaving Chicago.

Up next for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a return to Atlanta Motor Speedway, which will be a totally different type of event than what was scheduled for Saturday’s The Loop 121.

Race Results: The Loop 121 at Chicago

Race Results: 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series The Loop 121 at Chicago

Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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