RICHMOND, Va. – Somewhat fittingly, Cole Custer’s No. 00 car captured a payday with some extra zeros in it. The other three Xfinity Series drivers vying for the Dash 4 Cash bonus at Richmond Raceway couldn’t quite cash in.
Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell had roundabout evenings in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250, fading as Custer charged to his second win of the season. Reddick was the nearest challenger for the bonus for the second straight week, placing fourth. Briscoe wound up eighth with an ill-handling car, and Bell led 32 laps but dipped to 16th after sustaining damage on a restart near the end of Stage 2.
The night’s finishing order established the quartet of drivers eligible for the next Dash 4 Cash event, scheduled April 27 at Talladega Superspeedway. Both Custer and Reddick stay in the field, joined by Richmond runner-up Austin Cindric and third-place Justin Allgaier.
Reddick’s bid for the $100,000 stayed alive until the final stretch, even as the power steering on his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet expired just before the second stage ended.
"That was interesting," said Reddick, who remained the series’ points leader. "I’d much rather lose power steering here than at Bristol or some of these other race tracks, but it was a handful. Really couldn’t get the tires warmed up."
"I’d say that was the biggest hurt for us, it’s just taking off is a challenge. And when you’re racing around people or having to make quick moves, you just can’t when the power steering’s locked up like that."
Briscoe’s moves weren’t quite enough to catch Custer, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate. He battled variable handling conditions as the race transitioned from dusk to dark, all while cloud cover and the threat of rain persisted.
"It was a weird night," said Briscoe, who secured his sixth straight top-10 result. "That first run of the race when the sunlight was out, we were able to drive up fifth and were kind of running down second through fourth and thought we were going to be really good. As soon as the sun went down, we just were in the way, I felt like. I don’t know. As soon as the sun went down, we just lost all of our drive."
Bell’s evening was the most action-packed. He spent time up front battling early contender Allgaier, but his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota became jammed up on a restart after the halfway point, absorbing significant left-front damage. A few laps later, Bell spun, prompting the race’s fourth caution period on Lap 143.
Though he rallied back into the top five, Bell dropped six positions during the final pit-stop sequence, then faded further as his quest for a third straight Richmond victory evaporated.
"I don’t know," Bell said. "Just trying to make it happen there on the restart at Stage 2. Just they bottled up and I ran right into the back of them and ruined our night."