Rookie Cole Custer stuns field with first Cup Series win at Kentucky – NASCAR

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Cole Custer roared to his first Cup Series victory Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway, emerging from a late-race restart with a bold four-wide move just after the white flag.

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Driving the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford, Custer led just five of the 267 laps in the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart. The first-year driver also won at the 1.5-mile Kentucky track in Xfinity Series competition last year.

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.

RELATED: Unofficial race results | Stage recaps

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.

This story will be updated.

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