NASCAR Xfinity Series

Flooding ends The Loop 121 shortly before halfway

3 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Mother Nature must not be a fan of NASCAR competing on street circuits. After the final thirty laps of the Xfinity SeriesThe Loop 121 were postponed to Sunday due to lightning, severe flooding in the morning and tight scheduling with the Cup Series event have forced the sanctioning body to cut short the former despite not reaching halfway.

When a race is impacted by weather, NASCAR typically attempts to get as much racing in until it crosses the halfway point, and would postpone to the soonest possible day if the laps have not hit that mark. The Xfinity race had only completed 25 of 55 laps, meaning lap 27 would be the midpoint, prior to the delays and eventual cancellation of the remainder.

Cole Custer, who led all twenty-five laps from the pole, was declared the winner as the race leader. It is his second win of 2023, both coming on road courses after Portland in June.

Although it came due to extenuating circumstances, the race is the first in NASCAR’s national divisions without a lead change since the Xfinity Series’ fall Richmond round in 2014 when Kyle Busch never relinquished the top spot for all 250 laps. Joey Logano also led flag to flag at the series’ Bristol spring stop the following year, though he started second.

“With standing water and flooding a significant issue at the race track and throughout the city, there was no option to return to racing prior to shifting to NASCAR Cup Series race operations,” reads a NASCAR statement. “Throughout the entire planning process for the Chicago Street Race, our relationship with the City of Chicago has been strong and among the most valuable assets in reaching this historic weekend. In the spirit of that partnership, returning on Monday for the completion of a NASCAR Xfinity Series event two laps short of halfway was an option we chose not to employ. Based on several unprecedented circumstances, NASCAR has made the decision to declare Cole Custer the winner of the race.”

While exceptionally rare, NASCAR has cut short races before halfway due to weather in the past; since 2020, races that are unable to reach the advertised distance can be called either midway or the end of Stage #2 depending on which happens first. The 2020 Truck Series event at Kentucky is the latest instance, completing 70 of 150 laps before lightning struck; that race’s winner Sheldon Creed finished eleventh in The Loop 121, having had to work his way from the back after crashing in qualifying despite a second-place effort.

As the rulebook stipulates for such situations: “If NASCAR determines in its sole discretion that unforeseen circumstances prevent the completion of the advertised distance or make it impractical to continue or complete the Race within a reasonable time after it has been stopped and provided the halfway distance has been reached or surpassed by the Race leader or following the completion of Stage 2, whichever occurs first, the Race will be considered officially completed as of the last lap completed by the Race leader prior to the Race halt. The finishing positions will be determined per the Double-File or Choose restart positions.”

Even though Chicago did not complete the second stage, NASCAR elected to award full stage points to the top ten finishers anyway.

The decision to call the race also falls under NASCAR’s “Except in Rare Instances” clause, which states that “on occasion, circumstances will be presented that are either unforeseen or are otherwise extraordinary, in which strict application of the NASCAR Rules may not achieve this goal. In such rare circumstances, the NASCAR Officials, as a practical matter, may make a determination regarding the conduct of an Event, the eligibility of a Competitor, or similar matters that are not contemplated by or are inconsistent with the NASCAR Rules, in order to achieve this goal.”

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1100Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord25Running
2320John Hunter NemechekJoe Gibbs RacingToyota25Running
367Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
4725Brett MoffittAM RacingFord25Running
5521Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet25Running
6818Sammy SmithJoe Gibbs RacingToyota25Running
7911Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet25Running
81616Chandler SmithKaulig RacingChevrolet25Running
91048Parker KligermanBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet25Running
102526Kaz GralaSam Hunt RacingToyota25Running
1122Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet25Running
121350Preston PardusPardus RacingChevrolet25Running
131788Miguel PaludoJR MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
14324Kyle WeathermanJD MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
151836Alex GuenetteDGM RacingChevrolet25Running
162624Parker ChaseSam Hunt RacingToyota25Running
172902Blaine PerkinsOur MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
18141Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
193127Jeb BurtonJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet25Running
203751Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet25Running
211935Alex LabbéEmerling-Gase MotorsportsToyota25Running
221144Sage KaramAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet25Running
23238Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
241598Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord25Running
252439Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord25Running
26336Brennan PooleJD MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
273478Anthony AlfredoB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
282207Spencer PumpellySS-Green Light RacingChevrolet25Running
292131Parker RetzlaffJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet25Running
30309Brandon JonesJR MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
312043Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet25Running
322753Brad PérezEmerling-Gase MotorsportsChevrolet25Running
333538Joe Graf Jr.RSS RacingFord25Running
343828Brent ShermanRSS RacingFord25Running
35419Connor MosackJoe Gibbs RacingToyota25Running
363692Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet22Running
372834Andre CastroJesse Iwuji MotorsportsChevrolet16Accident
381210Justin MarksKaulig RacingChevrolet3Engine
DNQ91Dexter BeanDGM RacingChevrolet
DNQ45Jeffrey EarnhardtAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet
DNQ08Joey GaseSS-Green Light RacingFord
DNQ74Dawson CramCHK RacingChevrolet
DNQ66Dexter StaceyMBM MotorsportsToyota
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