The Xfinity race in downtown Chicago, taking place on a new 2.2-mile, 12-turn course through Grant Park, was abruptly stopped after 26 laps due to severe weather and continuous lightning in the vicinity.
Since the race had not reached the “official” status, which is determined by either completing half the distance or finishing the first two stages, the remaining part of the race was postponed until 11 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the race could not resume due to flooding in certain sections of the track.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. ET, NASCAR officially declared Cole Custer the winner, as he was leading when the race was halted on Saturday.
NASCAR released the following statement regarding the situation:
“Due to standing water and flooding concerns both on the race track and throughout the city, resuming the race before shifting to NASCAR Cup Series race operations was not a viable option. The City of Chicago has been an invaluable partner throughout the planning process for the Chicago Street Race, and considering the unprecedented circumstances, we have decided not to continue the NASCAR Xfinity Series event two laps short of the halfway mark. Therefore, Cole Custer has been declared the winner.”
The Sunday Cup Series race is still scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET.
Custer, who secured pole position, achieved his second victory of the 2023 season and the 12th of his career.
John Hunter Nemechek was credited with second place, followed by Justin Allgaier and Austin Hill.
The top-10 finishers included Sammy Smith, Daniel Hemric, Chandler Smith, Parker Kligerman, and Kaz Grala.
Custer dominated the first 15 laps on Saturday, winning Stage 1. However, co-owner Justin Marks from Trackhouse Racing had to exit the race early due to an engine failure.
On lap 17, Andre Castro experienced a wreck in Turn 1 after locking up his brakes, resulting in a caution period and the first round of pit stops for approximately half the field. Custer maintained his position on the track and held the lead.
When lightning was spotted in the area on lap 26, NASCAR had no choice but to halt the race. Unfortunately, the race never resumed, leaving only five laps remaining in Stage 2.