XFINITY Series Pocono Raceway

NASCAR XFINITY Series

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Explore The Pocono Mountains 225

Saturday, July 13th, 2024

Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA

  • 25 Chevrolet
  • 5 Toyota
  • 7 Ford

  • Friday, July 12th, 2024
  • NASCAR Wire Service - Holly Cain
Cole Custer leads the Xfinity Series back to Pocono

New Zealand driver Shane Van Gisbergen collected a series high third win of the season on the Chicago Street Course last week to move into the top position on the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff grid. But racing moves off the city streets to one of the sport’s most traditional ovals, Pocono Raceway for Saturday’s Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 (3 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).

In eight Xfinity Series races there has never been a repeat winner at the unique 2.5-mile three-turn track and reigning series champion Cole Custer sure would like to change that statistic on Saturday. The driver of the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford won from pole position at the “Tricky Triangle” in 2019 leading more than half of the laps.

A frustrating 19th-place finish at Chicago snapped a five-race top-10 streak for Custer. Although he is still racing for his first win of 2024, he sits atop the regular season standings by 38 points over JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier.

Six of the season’s 12 Playoff positions are filled with race winners. And Custer currently has the regular season championship lead, leaving five spots still to be decided with eight races remaining before the Xfinity Series Playoffs begin Sept. 28 at Kansas Speedway.

Three drivers that won races last season – Riley Herbst (ranked eighth), A.J. Allmendinger (ninth), and Sammy Smith (12th) – are currently Playoff-bound based on their points positions. But, like Custer, are still looking for their first trophy of the year. Sheldon Creed and Parker Kligerman, ranked 10th and 11th respectively, are racing for their career first wins in the series.

Smith holds only a tenuous 23-point advantage over Ryan Sieg for that 12th and final Playoff position.

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill is the defending Pocono race winner and his title chase momentum could use a trip to Victory Lane. After winning the first two races of the year – at Daytona Beach and Atlanta – Hill led the points and has been ranked first or second eight times in the 18-race season. After a tough Spring, he’s fourth in the championship heading into Pocono, 60 points behind Custer. He’s had top-10 finishes in the last two races, however.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Josh Berry will make his first Xfinity Series start since he was a full-timer in the series in 2023. He’ll drive the No. 15 AM Racing Chevrolet. This year’s Daytona 500 winner William Byron will drive the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship leader Corey Heim will be in the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Chevrolet.

Ryan Truex will drive the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota making his second start for the team since a victory at Dover Del. in April.

  • Saturday, July 13th, 2024
  • NASCAR Wire Service - Holly Cain
Cole Custer earns his first win of the 2024 season at Pocono Raceway

Reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer claimed his first win of the 2024 season Saturday beating his closest championship challenger Justin Allgaier to the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 checkered flag and giving Ford its first series win of the year.

Custer’s No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang took the lead from Allgaier on a re-start with nine laps remaining and then held off the JR Motorsports Chevy by .670-second to secure his 14th career victory in a thrilling finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. He becomes first driver to win multiple NASCAR Xfinity Series races at the historic 2.5-mile track – answering his 2019 win.

“You just try to manage it the best you can but it’s kind of the luck of the draw who gets the best push,’’ a smiling Custer said of having to hold off perennial championship contender Allgaier and third place finisher NASCAR Cup Series regular William Byron in the closing laps.

“That was some Doug Yates horsepower right there. We definitely had it on the straightaways and man, I just can’t say enough about these guys. They’ve worked so hard this whole year and just haven’t had that final result. To finally get it, is so awesome.’’

Allgaier led a race best 30 laps of the 90-lap race with the 25-year old Californian Custer out front for 25 laps – the two drivers each winning a stage. For Allgaier, his Stage 1 victory was a series best 11th but a pit road penalty during the ensuing pit stop forced him to work his way back up through the field.

And even with all the impressive race statistics and compelling comeback storyline Saturday, it was missing out on the trophy after such a strong showing that stuck with Allgaier when he climbed out of his Chevrolet.

“Really proud of everyone at Junior Motorsports, just really stinks to come out of here second,’’ Allgaier said. “Led so many laps here and feel like same result every time, just not able to go to Victory Lane. … just came up a little short and it’s going to sting for a little while.’’

This year’s Daytona 500 winner and the 2017 Xfinity Series champion Byron was making his third Xfinity Series start of the season and kept the field honest leading 17 laps.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Sheldon Creed and Taylor Gray rounded out the Pocono top-five. Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill, Big Machine Racing’s Parker Kligerman and JR Motorsports teammates Sammy Smith and Sam Mayer rounded out the top-10.

Custer extended his lead atop the Xfinity Series championship and now holds a 51-point advantage on Allgaier. With seven races remaining to set the 12-driver Playoff field, Smith holds a 23-point edge over Ryan Sieg for that 12th position.

  • Drivers Entered: 39 (1 drivers will not make the race)
  • Laps Scheduled: 90
  • Margin of Victory: 0.670 Seconds
  • Time of Race: 2 Hours 8 Minutes 26 Seconds
  • Average Speed: 105.113
  • Cautions: 8 for 30 laps
  • Lead Changes: 10
  • Green Flag Passes: 1,963 (32.7 passes per green flag lap)
Austin Hill celebrates with crew after winning
Long Pond, Pennsylvania - July 22, 2023 : Austin Hill, driver of the #21 Global Industrial Chevrolet, celebrates with crew after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pocono 225 at Pocono Raceway.
Logan RielyGetty Images
Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway Entry List
ENTRY # DRIVER HOMETOWN DOB AGE MAKE SPONSOR TEAM CREW CHIEF
1 16 AJ Allmendinger Los Gatos, CA Dec 16, 1981 42 Chevrolet TBA Kaulig Racing Alex Yontz
2 20 Ryan Truex Mayetta, NJ Mar 18, 1992 32 Toyota TBA Joe Gibbs Racing Seth Chavka
3 7 Justin Allgaier Riverton, IL Jun 6, 1986 38 Chevrolet Carolina Carports JR Motorsports Jim Pohlman
4 48 Parker Kligerman Westport, CT Aug 8, 1990 33 Chevrolet Spiked Lite Tropical Coolers Big Machine Racing Patrick Donahue
5 27 Jeb Burton Halifax, VA Aug 6, 1992 31 Chevrolet TBA Jordan Anderson Racing Shane Whitbeck
6 38 Matt DiBenedetto Grass Valley, CA Jul 27, 1991 32 Ford Rema RSS Racing Kevin Johnson
7 43 Ryan Ellis Torrence, CA Nov 29, 1989 34 Chevrolet TBA Alpha Prime Racing Keith Wolfe
8 39 Ryan Sieg Tucker, GA Jun 20, 1987 37 Ford Sci Aps RSS Racing Matt Noyce
9 91 Kyle Weatherman Wentzville, MO Aug 28, 1997 26 Chevrolet DriveSmartWarranty.com DGM Racing Mario Gosselin
10 17 William Byron Charlotte, NC Nov 29, 1997 26 Chevrolet HendrickCars.com Hendrick Motorsports Brandon McSwain
11 44 Brennan Poole Sacramento, CA Apr 11, 1991 33 Chevrolet Members 1st Alpha Prime Racing Frank Kerr
12 00 Cole Custer Ladera Ranch, CA Jan 23, 1998 26 Ford Haas Automation Stewart Haas Racing Jonathan Toney
13 6 Garrett Smithley Ligonier, PA Apr 27, 1992 32 Chevrolet TBA JD Motorsports Kase Kallenbach
14 21 Austin Hill Winston, GA Apr 21, 1994 30 Chevrolet Global Industrial Richard Childress Racing Andy Street
15 9 Brandon Jones Atlanta, GA Feb 18, 1997 27 Chevrolet Menards/Cheez-it JR Motorsports Phillip Bell
16 51 Jeremy Clements Spartanburg, SC Jan 16, 1985 39 Chevrolet TBA Jeremy Clements Racing Mark Setzer
17 11 Josh Williams Port Charlotte, FL Aug 3, 1993 30 Chevrolet TBA Kaulig Racing Kevin Walter
18 98 Riley Herbst Las Vegas, NV Feb 24, 1999 25 Ford Monster Energy Stewart Haas Racing Davin Restivo
19 14 Mason Massey Douglasville, GA Jan 24, 1997 27 Chevrolet Real American Beer SS-Green Light Racing Jason Miller
20 5 Anthony Alfredo Ridgefield, CT Mar 1, 1999 25 Chevrolet TBA Our Motorsports Joshua Graham
21 74 Jade Buford Brentwood, TN Feb 15, 1988 36 Chevrolet TBA Mike Harmon Racing Mike Harmon
22 07 Patrick Emerling Orchard Park, NY Sep 19, 1992 31 Chevrolet TBA SS-Green Light Racing Paul Clapprood
23 18 Sheldon Creed Alpine, CA Sep 30, 1997 26 Toyota Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Joe Gibbs Racing Sam McAulay
24 15 Josh Berry Hendersonville, TN Oct 22, 1990 33 Ford VIVA Tequila Seltzer AM Racing Matthew Lucas
25 29 Blaine Perkins Bakersfield, CA Feb 28, 2000 24 Ford TBA RSS Racing Steve Addington
26 28 Kyle Sieg Tucker, GA Apr 16, 2001 23 Ford TBA RSS Racing Joe Williams
27 1 Sam Mayer Franklin, WI Jun 26, 2003 21 Chevrolet RTIC Outdoors JR Motorsports Mardy Lindley
28 4 Dawson Cram San Diego, CA Sep 12, 2001 22 Chevrolet TBA JD Motorsports Kevin Cram
29 81 Chandler Smith Talking Rock, GA Jun 26, 2002 22 Toyota Smith General Contracting Joe Gibbs Racing Jeff Meendering
30 26 Corey Heim Marietta, GA Jul 5, 2002 22 Toyota Lehigh Valley Phantoms Sam Hunt Racing Kris Bowen
31 19 Taylor Gray Denver, NC Mar 25, 2005 19 Toyota Operation 300 Joe Gibbs Racing Tyler Allen
32 31 Parker Retzlaff Rhinelander, WI May 21, 2003 21 Chevrolet TBA Jordan Anderson Racing Chad Kendrick
33 8 Sammy Smith Johnston, IA Jun 4, 2004 20 Chevrolet Pilot Flying J JR Motorsports Adam Wall
34 42 Leland Honeyman Jr Phoenix, AZ Feb 23, 2005 19 Chevrolet RANDCO Industries Young's Motorsports Andrew Abbott
35 10 Daniel Dye DeLand, Florida Dec 4, 2003 20 Chevrolet Champion Containers Kaulig Racing Philippe Lopez
36 2 Jesse Love Menlo Park, CA Jan 14, 2005 19 Chevrolet TBA Richard Childress Racing Danny Stockman
37 97 Shane van Gisbergen Aucklund, New Zealand May 9, 1989 35 Chevrolet TBA Kaulig Racing Bruce Schlicker