A dramatic green-white-checkered finish between Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek allowed 19-year-old Nemechek to score his second win of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Custer dominated most of the day, but a pit strategy call by Nemechek’s crew chief Gere Kennon got the No. 8 truck out in front of the leaders in the final 20 laps. Nemechek had to fend off a hungry Custer in late race cautions to claim the victory.
Coming to the checkered flag, the two youngsters got together in turn eight, and going into turn 10, Nemechek drove into the back of Custer’s No. 00 truck. The two continued to slam into each other, and both went off-roading as they headed for the checkered flag. In the end, Nemechek came out on top, despite both finishing the race in the grass, and in the wall.
“It was exciting, to say the least,” Nemechek said post-race.
On the final restart of the race, Nemechek found himself in a fierce battle with Spencer Gallagher for second position after spinning the tires. It seemed like was over for Nemechek until he began catching the No. 00 on the final lap.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get right on his bumper in turn eight,” Nemechek said. “But my guys adjusted on the truck correctly all day. Made the right calls on pit road, and we had one fast truck. I didn’t know how long it was going to take to get by Gallagher, but I set him up in (turns) 5a and 5b, and I was able to drive underneath him going down the backstretch. Once we got by him, I had clean air, and I was able to drive right up to Cole (Custer).”
Custer took a heavily damaged JR Motorsports truck to a second-place finish, but the young racer was visibly upset with the finish. Following the declaration of Nemechek’s win, Custer jumped over the pit wall and ran towards Nemechek, tackling him just after the start-finish line.
Custer said his frustrations won’t turn into a retaliation, but it will change the way he races Nemechek going forward.
“I’m just not going to give him any breaks, really,” Custer said. “If he decides to do anything, or if he makes my day any harder than it has to be, I’m just going to voice my opinion, I guess.”
Brad Keselowski Racing driver Daniel Hemric finished third, and may have had the best view of the Nemechek/Custer scuffle, including an interesting vantage point of the tackle.
“I saw Cole Custer jump over the wall – that was successful,” Hemric joked. “About that time, I saw the (No.) 8 turn around, and I’m sure everybody’s had a squirrel run out at them on the road, and he did one of those things. I think at that point he decided to take the tackle. They were both rolling around on the ground, and the place went wild. I found it kind of humorous, but I’m sure their wallets won’t next week.
“I’m sure it was wild,” he said. “I saw the 00 and the 8 get into it the last two or three laps, every time they had a restart. It was only a matter of time until they ran out of race track.”
Matt Crafton finished fourth with Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell in fifth.
Rounding out the top-10 were Tyler Reddick, Johnny Sauter, Ben Kennedy, Cameron Hayley and William Byron.
NASCAR Pinty’s Series regulars Gary Klutt and D.J. Kennington finished 11th and 14th, respectively.
Spencer Gallagher, who was running in the top-three in the closing stages, spun out with two laps to go getting through turn nine, and wound up finishing 22nd on the day.
With only one race remaining until the Chase is set to begin, William Byron finds himself with a 28-point advantage over the winless Daniel Hemric.