Denny Hamlin is first again, but this time he absolutely didn't want to be. He's the first driver in NASCAR's second-tier XFinity series to be stripped of a race win. In fact, he's the first in any of NASCAR's two top series.
NASCAR has always been reluctant to disqualify a winner. The governing body says that they want fans to know who won the race when they leave the track. However, it's also a bit of a remnant of the "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" culture of the sport.
But the policy changed for 2019. NASCAR announced before the season that they would disqualify race winners this season. And they did it first in June. Ross Chastain won the truck race at Iowa, but was disqualified for a ride height infringement. His win was removed, the first time in the sport since the '60s.
And they did it again following the XFinity Series Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 400 on August 31. Denny Hamlin won that race in his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota Supra. However, that car was too low in the left front and too high in the left rear. JGR did not appeal the decision, and the decision holds.
Four cars have been disqualified from the XFinity series in total this season. There have been no disqualifications in the premier Cup series.
Cole Custer inherited his sixth victory of the season following that decision, leaving him tied for most in the series heading into the Playoffs. "It's a really strange feeling, obviously. You don't want to win that way but it is what it is. We all play by the same rules. Was that the deciding factor? No. That wasn't the reason he won the race but it is what it is. We get the points, we get the money and we get the trophy, I guess. We'll take it."
Wayne Auton, XFinity Series Director, talked about the pressure on the teams as the Playoffs loom. He said, "I think you have to look at the garage area. The playoffs are coming and everybody is pushing everything they can to get that little bit they can to win the race."