By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
One week after getting caught in the mayhem, Cole Custer avoided the chaos at Kansas Speedway.
Custer had a front row seat to two major accidents in the Super Start Batteries 400. On a restart on lap 176, Joey Logano cut a left front tire in front of the field. As drivers scattered to avoid him, Matt DiBenedetto got turned into the outside wall.
Custer snuck through the carnage as his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer was collected. Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, and William Byron also received damage.
There was little time for the rookie-of-the-year contender to catch his breath. On the ensuing restart, fellow rookie Christopher Bell misjudged a gap on track. Bell spun across Ryan Newman’s nose and back across traffic. Chris Buescher was collected as Ryan Preece slammed the inside wall in a tremendous crash. Custer swung to the outside to avoid the accident.
Following the two major accidents, the NASCAR Cup Series race got back into a green flag rhythm. Custer climbed back inside the top-10 as the laps wound down. However, it was too late in the race and he ultimately took the checkered flag in his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang in seventh.
“Thanks to the guys for fighting all day,” said Custer. “It definitely wasn’t the prettiest day, but we made something of it. Right there at the end was the best I had been in the top groove all day. It feels good to get another top-10 and take a few days off before we go to New Hampshire next weekend.”
Custer started deep in the field following the random draw. After taking the green flag in 24th, he struggled to reach the top-10 prior to the end of the first two stages.
The top-10 finish comes one week after Custer was swept up in a major crash himself at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s also been two weeks since the 22-year-old pulled off the upset at Kentucky Speedway.
The seventh-place finish is the fourth of Custer’s Cup career. It is also his 99th top-10 finish across the top three NASCAR series.
The top-10 also moved Custer from 22nd in the points standings to be tied with Bubba Wallace for 19th. He is 411-points behind teammate and leader Kevin Harvick. Although Custer is behind the cutoff in points earned, he is locked into the playoffs via his Kentucky victory.