Bell’s reign alone at the top with a series-leading four wins didn’t last long as Custer added a dominating victory in Saturday’s Camping World 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Custer, who led 151 of 200 laps, easily held off reigning Cup series champion Joey Logano to pick up his fourth win of the season and the sixth of his career.
Bell ended up third, Michael Annett was fourth and Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five.
“I think you can see we’re going to hit it hard this summer,” Custer said after the race. “We’ve got some great cars. The guys did an awesome job with the car this weekend – I don’t how you could get the car any better than in that last run.
“This is a great track. I love it. I’ve been wanting to win here for a long time.”
Asked if he and his team came into the race hoping what they did here would also work in the season finale at Homestead, Custer said, “For sure. I want to be good running (against) the wall and I think I got a lot better at that throughout the day. I think we can compare this to Homestead for sure.”
With 75 laps remaining, Custer had built up a 1.5-second lead over Bell while Logano ran third. Tyler Reddick ran fourth and Ross Chastain fifth.
After 140 laps, Custer’s lead over Bell had increased to more than 3 seconds. Logano continued to run third, 4.5 seconds behind the leader.
With 49 laps to go, Logano was the first among the contenders to make his green-flag pit stop. Custer made his stop with 47 laps remaining.
With 28 laps to go, two lead-lap cars still had not pit but B.J. McLeod hit the wall to bring out a caution. Custer had made his way back to third at the time.
Once again, the lead-lap cars – including Annett and Noah Gragson who had not yet pit – headed down pit road for fresh tires. Annett was the first off pit road and led the way on the restart with 21 laps remaining. He was followed by Gragson, Custer and Logano.
Custer went three-wide on the restart and reclaimed the lead by the exit of Turn 2.
With 10 laps remaining, Custer maintained a more than 2-second lead over Logano while Bell had moved into third.