NASCAR Cup rookie Cole Custer roared from sixth place on a final restart with two laps to go to earn his first career Cup win Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

Custer went to the outside on the white flag lap to get around Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, as well as Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney, and sailed away to the checkered flag. Custer’s total of four laps led in the race marked the first laps he’s led as a Cup driver.

Custer won last year at Kentucky in the Xfinity Series.

Sunday’s win puts Custer into the Cup playoffs and follows up what had been his previous best Cup finish, fifth last week at Indianapolis. He also will be in this Wednesday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex finished second followed by Matt DiBenedetto, Harvick and Kurt Busch.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Aric Almirola (second stage win of season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski (fourth stage win of season)

Martin Truex Jr. wound up second, .271 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Matt DiBenedetto netted third place with a tire-smoking Kevin Harvick fourth and Kurt Busch fifth.

Aric Almirola led the most laps — a career-best 128 — and won Stage 1. He faded to an eighth-place result, snapping a streak of five consecutive top-five finishes. Brad Keselowski won Stage 2, leading 34 laps before coming home ninth.

Jimmie Johnson finished 18th in his first race back since he reported a positive COVID-19 test that kept him out of the series’ previous race, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson continued after a late brush of the outside retaining wall with his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

The Cup Series’ next event is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race, scheduled Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). The NASCAR All-Star Open qualifier is set earlier Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) to round out the invitational field. The next points-paying race for the Cup Series is scheduled next Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) at Texas Motor Speedway.


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