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.