Cole Custer sails to first career ARCA win at Pocono, 9th first-time winner in series in 2015

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In his third career start in the ARCA Racing Series, Cole Custer breezed to victory in Saturday’s ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway.

The 17-year-old Custer won the 50-lap event by 4.991 seconds over Grant Enfinger and becomes the ninth first-time ARCA winner in 14 races this season.

“It was just a great race for us today,” Custer, son of Stewart-Haas Racing executive Joe Custer, told Fox Sports 2. “I was just able to bide my time and keep things clean.”

Enfinger finished second, followed by Matt Kurzejewski, Austin Theriault and Josh Williams.

In addition to his first ARCA win, Custer also has career victories in the K&N Pro Series East and West and twice in the Camping World Trucks Series.

He becomes the ninth first-time winner in the ARCA Series this season, joining Blake Jones (Talladea), 15-year-old Todd Gilliland (son of NASCAR driver David Gilliland, at Toledo), Kyle Weatherman (New Jersey), Trevor Bayne (Pocono in June), Ross Kenseth (Michigan), Ryan Reed (Chicagoland), Austin Wayne Self (Winchester) and Travis Braden (Indianapolis).

Custer’s best prior ARCA finish was a fifth-place showing earlier this year at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The race began in rather dubious fashion as, coming off the Tunnel Turn on Lap 1, Kyle Weatherman got loose, piled into the car of Frank Kimmel, and then a number of other cars were collected as a result.

The biggest victim of the incident was Tom Hessert, who suffered heavy damage to his car, ultimately finishing 25th in the 30-car field.

But Hessert suffered even greater damage in the ARCA point standings. He entered Saturday’s race 70 points behind series leader Enfinger.

Hessert leaves Pocono now tied for third place with Austin Wayne Self, both drivers 185 points behind Enfinger.

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Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick team up again on NBC’s Indy 500 coverage

Danica Patrick Mike Tirico
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Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick will return to NBC Sports’ coverage of the Indianapolis 500, which will be broadcast Aug. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC (green flag at 2:30 p.m.).

Tirico and Patrick, who both joined NBC Sports for its inaugural coverage of the event last year, will reprise their roles as host and studio analyst.

One of the most versatile voices in sports, Tirico also hosts NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage, Football Night in America and many other premier events, including hosting on-site at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year for the first-ever IndyCar-NASCAR crossover weekend.

AT THE BRICKYARD: Daily Indy 500 coverage schedule on NBC, NBCSN

He again will be joined during prerace, in-race, and postrace coverage by Patrick, who became the first woman to lead the Indy 500 in 2005 and also was the first female pole-sitter in NASCAR driver.

They will make their debut together duing practice coverage on Aug. 21, on NBCSN.

“My first Indy 500 last year exceeded my very high expectations in every way,” Tirico said in a release. “Although this year’s race will take place under unprecedented circumstances, I can’t wait to get back to Indy. I’m confident that our team at the Brickyard will provide viewers with as exciting a viewing experience as possible. I am also thrilled that Danica Patrick is along for the ride again this year. We had such a great time last May and look forward to bringing Indy home for the viewers again.”

Said Patrick: “The Indianapolis 500 is an event that transcends mainstream and motorsports which is why it’s so special. We are living during a time that if we can bring people together, we should. Even if it’s not physically. I am honored to be back with the NBC Sports team and Mike Tirico. The memories I have from 15 years at IMS hold such a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to make more this year in the booth, or however we are positioned in 2020!”

This will mark NBC Sports’ second season as the exclusive home of the NTT IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, which will take place in August for the first time ever because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.