Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Cole Custer roared to his first Cup Series victory Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway, emerging from a late-race restart with a bold four-wide move just after the white flag.
Driving the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford, Custer led just five of the 267 laps in the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart. The first-year driver also won at the 1.5-mile Kentucky track in Xfinity Series competition last year.
Martin Truex Jr. wound up second, .271 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Matt DiBenedetto netted third place with a tire-smoking Kevin Harvick fourth and Kurt Busch fifth.
Aric Almirola led the most laps — a career-best 128 — and won Stage 1. He faded to an eighth-place result, snapping a streak of five consecutive top-five finishes. Brad Keselowski won Stage 2, leading 34 laps before coming home ninth.
Jimmie Johnson finished 18th in his first race back since he reported a positive COVID-19 test that kept him out of the series’ previous race, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson continued after a late brush of the outside retaining wall with his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
Needless to say, none of our illustrious players went waaaaay outside the box to ride with Cole Custer at Kentucky, and that would include me! Even though I have interviewed this young man several times, and have established a friendly relationship with Cole over the past four years, I wasn’t ready to select him as my man to win a race yet. After all, he is just a rookie and many need 2-3 years to get things figured out in order to make a charge for the checkered flag. So this award went unclaimed this week and returns to the infamous closet til next weekend!
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
The scores ran the gamut this week!
The highest scorer this week stepped up her game tremendously and devised a full-fledged jail break, escaping from The Outhouse! Linda The Cookie Mom put all her marbles into the marble sack of MTJ, Martin Truex, Jr. Truex had a really good afternoon at Kentucky, bagging a second place finish and rewarding The Cookie Mom with 42 much needed points!
Carole, aka Rudy, completed another successful Sunday afternoon. Rudy was riding copilot all race with Aric Almirola, who, for most of the first two thirds of the race, was showing them all the fast way around the track! Almirola faded to 8th place on the last restart, but he still supplied 39 points for her at Kentucky.
Meanwhile, the really odd-ball trio of Snoopy Dawn, Jeremy The Coach, and Bernie The Bay Area Bandit came out smelling like a rose today. All three were betting the farm on Sliced Bread at Kentucky. Each player banked 37 points from Joey Logano’s afternoon of hustling his rod around the mile and a half circuit.
Carlton The Doorman and Dan The Numbers Cruncher teamed up to support The Outlaw this weekend. The Doorman and The Numbers Dude very politely deposited 35 points into their 2nd segment bucket via Kurt Busch’s hard work.
Rounding out the top five scorers this week is Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head. The Cheddar Head racked up 27 points from Alex Bowman The Showman’s journeyman’s day at the office.
Three of our players, The Numbers Dude, Chiefy, and The Coach, remained stationary in their previous positions, while the remaining eight players changed zip codes this week.
Th biggest mover was Edie The Las Vegas Super Star! The Vegas Super Star stubbed her toes and tumbled four (4) spots to fall all the way to the bottom of the scoring pylon this week! (More to come on this subject later!)
Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, however, has caught fire this week! La Bandita shot out of the cannon and landed three (3) spots higher to now sit in 6th position now.
Meanwhile, Linda The Cookie Mom crept her way up two (2) places when the checkered flag flew, and now sits in 9th place.
Lastly, there is a whole crowd of five players who moved one spot this week. Those five players include Carole, aka Rudy, Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head, Snoopy Dawn, and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff. Rudy and Snoopy climbed up one spot to own 1st and 4th, respectively. However, The Cheddar Head, The Doorman, and Your Benevolent Sheriff stumbled and fell down one place to rest now in 2nd, 5th, and 7th place, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
This week we have a player who gets a 2-fer! Edie The Las Vegas Super Star gets to pocket the much coveted Crappiest Pick of The Week award for her nominal score of 12 points. Those same 12 points allowed her to evict Linda The Cookie Mom out of The Outhouse, and take sole possession for the week!
Mid week the NASCAR haulers will unload their wares in Bristol Motor Speedway for the All-Star race Wednesday evening. Then they will head Southwest for the race this weekend in Texas.
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!