HOMESTEAD, Fla – A few weeks ago, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer were fighting on pit road following the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoff race at the Kansas Speedway. On Saturday, the two were fighting for the victory in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Just as they were in this exact same race last year, it was Reddick vs. Custer for the championship.
The result was also the same.
Reddick, passed Custer on Lap 181 and would lead the final 19 laps en route to his ninth career NXS win and second straight championship.
Last year, Reddick became just the third Sunoco rookie in NASCAR XFINITY Series history to win the title joining Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017). Now the rising star from California became the eighth driver in series history to win back-to-back championships joining Sam Ard (1983-84), Larry Pearson (1986-87), Randy Lajoie (1996-97), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99), Martin Truex Jr. (2004-05) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12).
He’s the first one though to do so with different teams. In 2018, Reddick drove for JR Motorsports. This year, he’s with Richard Childress Racing.
Reddick, gives RCR their fifth NXS title too.
We should have never bet against him as Reddick ended the season with 27 top 10’s. He had three top three finishes in his last four starts on the season and 13 top fives over his last 17 starts in 2019.
Also, Reddick is downright dominant in Homestead. He won in each of his last two starts on the track in NXS competition to go along with being fourth in his rookie start. In three Truck Series starts, he finished sixth, third and second respectively.
He led 44 laps in last year’s win with 64 circuits led on Saturday.
Custer, would finish runner-up in his No. 00 Ford for the second straight season. He won the race in 2017 too for three top two finishes in-a-row. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver overcame an early race loose where to finish second.
Also a California native, Custer had nine top eight finishes over his final 10 starts on the season. He led 182 laps in 2017, 95 last year and 15 more on Saturday evening.
Custer’s SHR teammate Chase Briscoe led 14 laps and rebounded from getting into the wall on Lap 122 to finish third. Briscoe, wound up Rookie of the Year for 2019 on the merit of a win at Iowa in the summer and 26 top 10 finishes in 33 starts. Briscoe, had a top 10 in 15 of his last 17 starts to the season including one of those finish not in the top 10 being an 11th place effort in Vegas.
Noah Gragson finished fourth in his No. 9 Chevrolet while Christopher Bell rounded out the top five in his No. 20 Toyota. Bell, never really was a factor on Saturday and him missing pit road on his final stop cost him dearly. Bell, would finish 17.009-seconds behind Reddick in the end and finish third in the final standings despite a series high eight trips to victory lane in 2019. He had seven wins last year and finished fourth in the points.
Unfortunately, Homestead isn’t a good track for Bell as he finished 36th in 2017 and 11th last season.
The fourth playoff member in Justin Allgaier would finish 14th, one lap down after he got into the wall in the closing stages and had to pit for a tire that went down. Allgaier, also never was a factor as he had a bad handling race car all day.