HAMPTON, Ga. — Cole Custer exited Atlanta Motor Speedway’s infield care center understandably frustrated on Saturday afternoon, following a vicious lap 11 crash that eliminated him from the Rinnai 250.
The Stewart Haas Racing driver was battling for position with John Hunter Nemechek at the fringes of the top five when Elliott Sadler got a huge run to the outside of turn four, coming up on the fender of Nemechek’s Chevrolet as the debuting rookie came up the track to cover.
The duo made contact that sent Nemechek down into the side of Custer’s Ford, with Custer spinning across the asphalt and going nose-first hard into the outside wall just before the start-finish line.
Custer climbed out under his own power and walked to a waiting ambulance, but his emotions were evident once he was cleared by the medical staff and spoke to the media.
“I was just biding my time and trying to save my tires; I don’t even know exactly what happened,” said Custer. “I just got hit going down the straightaway and got wrecked from there. It sucks because I thought we had a pretty good car. I just don’t really know what else I could have done.”
“It looked like (from the replay) the 42 (Nemechek) got out of shape and then the 1 (Sadler) had a run and he didn’t hit the brakes hard enough and he just hit the 42 and the 42 hit me. We just got collected in something that was out of our control and there’s not much we could do. We had a pretty good car … but we’ll just have to go on to the next one.”
The incident with Custer wasn’t the first time that Nemechek had trouble when a car ran up on him from behind, either, after getting sideways in turn four and nearly losing his race car after Kevin Harvick took the air off his spoiler on lap six.
Custer said that unfortunately, that style of racing and passing is inevitable at mile-and-a-half tracks, though he couldn’t figure out why his competitors were racing so hard so soon in the race.
“Everybody is just going to pack air on each other to try to get underneath each other. That’s a good way to pass, but everybody should be able to race good enough where we don’t wreck each other, especially early in the race,” Custer explained.
“I don’t understand why we got wrecked, honestly. I feel like it was too soon for guys to be racing like that.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 24-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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