CUSTER DOMINATES TALKING STICK RESORT 75
Phoenix International Raceway’s 50th Anniversary season kicked off with a bang tonight in an action packed Talking Stick Resort 75 NASCAR K&N Pro Series- West Race. Coming off an upset in the 2013 season finale, pole sitter Cole Custer was out for redemption.
The 16-year-old from Ladera Ranch, Calif., was trying to make amends for having been spun out in turn four of the final lap of the Nov, 2013 race at PIR. Except for a brief period early in the race when Greg Pursley took the lead, Custer dominated the event.
Pursley lost his lead on lap 27 when he spun after his No. 26 Star Nursery/GPM Chevrolet made contact with the lapped car. Custer took over the lead for good, despite challenges from Brandon McReynolds and Brennan Newberry.
Custer was bothered only by a trio of subsequent caution periods that not only bunched the field but included a red-flag that sent the race into overtime.
Newberry gave Custer a look inside on the green-white-checker restart, but had to settle for second. Custer’s No. 00 Haas Automation/NAPA Chevrolet pulled away to win by .376 seconds. Nick Drake, making his series debut, was third, and Pursley rallied to finish fourth to extend his number of all-time top 5s at PIR in the series. D.J. Kennington took fifth.
In the spirit of PIR’s 50th anniversary, Custer also became the first driver since Parnelli Jones in 1964 to win poles in his first two pro races at PIR.
Related PIR News
Two-time Olympian and current UFC star Dan Henderson will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car at the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15. Henderson’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 44-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval.
Phoenix International Raceway was honored twice in recent weeks by NASCAR for outstanding work in the areas of marketing and community outreach. Earlier this year, PIR's 50th Anniversary was named NASCAR's Marketing Campaign of the Year and the PIR Track Services team received NASCAR's Track Services Teamwork Award; and today, PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez received NASCAR's Industry Ambassador Award.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear at Phoenix International Raceway’s Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club for a moderated question and answer session before the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 15.
Phoenix International Raceway hosted up-and-coming driver Ruben Garcia Jr. from the NASCAR Mexico Series as he spoke to more than 2,000 high school students at La Joya Community High School in Avondale on Wednesday, Feb. 18. In addition to his racing background, Garcia talked with the students about the importance of education and pursuing their goals.
Fans coming to the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will be in for a treat prior to the race. That morning, the popular Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum rock group Tonic will perform a pre-race concert in the fan midway area at 10:30 a.m. MST.