April 26, 2014 — By Shon Sbarra, NASCAR — Getty Images for NASCAR photo — RICHMOND, Va. – Cole Custer made it look easy.
Sixteen-year-old Custer, of Ladera Ranch, Calif., won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s Blue Ox 100 on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. He passed teammate and pole sitter Nick Drake on Lap 49 and led the rest of the way to collect his third series win in 16 starts. A pair of wins last season came at Iowa Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet also collected his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win in the 2014 season opener at Phoenix International Raceway in February.
“I thought I went too early and I thought Ben was going to get me,” Custer commented regarding the last run. “I didn’t have anyone around me to gauge how much to push the tires, so it was a little tough, but we had a good day.”
Points leader Ben Rhodes finished second for his fourth top-five showing in five outings this season. Drake, who won the pole position in qualifying yesterday, battled to finish third. Austin Hill crossed the line in fourth followed by Ronnie Bassett Jr. in fifth.
Cameron Hayley, Brandon Jones, Brodie Kostecki, Jeremy Burns and Jesse Little rounded out the top-10 finishers on the day.
The race was originally scheduled to be run following the NASCAR Nationwide Series event, but a three-hour rain delay in getting that race underway pushed the Blue Ox 100 to Saturday morning.
Custer, along with Rhodes, Hill and Little, were introduced at 2014-15 members of the NASCAR Next class Friday. NASCAR Next is a program to spotlight the sport’s emerging stars.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is back in action next on Saturday, May 17 for the Casey’s General Stores 150 at Iowa Speedway in Newton.