Custer, who recently turned nineteen is essentially having a brand new team being built around him. He’s moved up from the Camping World Truck Series (finished 10th last season) to a full-time Xfinity Series ride in 2017.
What’s more, it’s the first time Stewart-Haas Racing has built an Xfinity team since its formation. While Custer’s father, Joe, is former general manager at SHR (he’s now in a similar position with the organization’s Formula One team), this isn’t a case of nepotism.
No, the younger Custer has earned his way into an Xfinity ride with his talent, and it just so happens that it’s with the same team his father is an executive in.
Custer earned two wins, nine top-fives, 24 top-10s and five poles in 42 Truck races over the last three seasons.
He also made five scattered Xfinity starts in 2016, earning one top-five and a pair of top-10 showings.
“Coming from the Truck Series, it’s a new competition level,” Custer reported during the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte. “I’m going to have to step up a little bit and it’s going to be a different challenge, but I think we can do it and we have a great team.
So how did young Custer do last weekend:
COLE CUSTER – 2017 Texas I Race Report
- Date: April 8, 2017
- Event: My Bariatric Solutions 300 (Round 6 of 33)
- Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
- Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
- Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
- Start/Finish: 6th/5th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
- Point Standing: 12th (118 points, 107 out of first)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
- Started 6th, finished 13th.
- Custer noted his car was free on entry and tight in the center and exit of Turns 1 and 2.
- The Haas Automation driver turned top-four lap speeds just before the conclusion of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
- Started 4th, finished 15th.
- Custer squeezed his way through an accident untouched on lap 67 and restarted in the 10th position after opting not to pit.
- At the conclusion of Stage 2, Custer pitted for four fresh tires and adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
- Started 6th, finished 5th.
- On lap 148, Custer opted to pit to take four more tires and came off of pit road in the ninth position.
- Custer was able to find clean air in the lower groove enabling him to race to a top-five finish.
- The Haas Automation driver ran as high as second during the final stage.
- This marks Custer’s first top-five and season-best finish at Stewart-Haas Racing.
- Custer was the highest finishing rookie, earning him his second Sunoco Rookie of the Race award this season.
- His fifth-place finish was his second-best XFINITY Series career finish.
- Custer’s teammate, Kevin Harvick finished in third place.
From @ColeCuster00, SHR & @Haas_Automation, thanks for the hospitality today, @BMSUpdates! 👍#ItsBristolBaby pic.twitter.com/6O7VbZ3oDP— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) April 11, 2017
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How do you feel about your season-best performance at Texas Motor Speedway?
“We had an awesome Haas Automation Ford Mustang, we just had to buy our time. We kept getting stuck on the outside on the restarts and had to wait and wait until we got track position on the bottom. We had a really strong run. I can’t thank everybody enough who made this happen. I feel like I am getting more and more comfortable as I get experience and used to racing everybody. We are making strides, both me and the team.”
What kind of momentum will this give you going forward?
“I think it will be really important for us. We had pretty solid cars the last couple weeks and even at Atlanta we had a good car. We just haven’t been able to finish well until today. It was me making mistakes and just having random things happen. If we can keep these solid runs going we will work our way back up in the points. I feel like we can do this. We have had fast cars the last couple of weeks. We will just keep plugging away at it.”
How was it running with the Cup guys out there?
“You definitely learn a lot from them. It makes me want to push myself more. I have known we’ve had pretty fast cars and could compete with them, so I wasn’t overly shocked that we were up there. It was definitely a really good run that we needed with what has happened over the last couple of weeks.”
- Wallace Overcomes Incident to Earn Fifth-Consecutive Top-6 Finish in Texas
- Austin Dillon's “Rosewood” Pitstop
- Kyle Benjamin Will Drive Four NASCAR Xfinity Series Races In 2017
- Why Three #NASCAR Drivers are Trying to ‘Conquer’ ‘American Ninja Warrior’
- No Racing This Week? Use the Time to Vote for the #NASCAR Hall Class Of 2018