Mechanical Woes Ruins Custer’s Day At Mid-Ohio

Cole Custer

Date: Aug. 12, 2017

Event: Mid-Ohio Challenge (Round 21 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington (2.4-mile road course)

Format: 75 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/35 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th/35th (Running, completed 54 of 75 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (505 points, 258 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Blake Koch of Kaulig Racing (Chevy)

Stage 2 Winner: Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Started ninth, finished 40th.

● Due to Custer making contact with the grass in qualifying, he started the Mid-Ohio Challenge with his backup Haas Automation Ford Mustang.

● On lap two, a mechanical failure forced Custer to the pits.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):

● Started 40th, finished 37th.

● After repairs, Custer entered the field 22 laps down at the start of Stage 2.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-75):

● Started 37th, finished 35th.

● Custer gained one lap during the final stage.

● Due to multiple accidents, Custer gained two spots before the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:              

 Nine cautions slowed the race for 27 laps.

● Sam Hornish Jr. won the Mid-Ohio Challenge to score his fifth career XFINITY Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Mid-Ohio.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Makes His First Start At Mid-Ohio

Cole Custer

NASCAR XFINITY Series Overview
 

Event: Mid-Ohio Challenge (Round 21 of 33)

Date: Aug. 12, 2017

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington

Layout: 2.4-mile road course

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Mid-Ohio Challenge will mark Custer’s 26th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 20 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 11th top-10 and fifth top-five and it equaled his career-best finish.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 20 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned twice – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Custer has 13 top-10 starts and four top-five starts this season.

 

●  Last week, Custer ran his career-first XFINITY Series road-course race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He ran as high as second, turning consistent top-five lap speeds.

 

●  Custer has earned four top-five finishes, nine top-10s and has led 29 laps so far in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.

 

●  Custer is second in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 59 points behind leader William Byron.

 

●  Custer has earned six Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

 

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 229 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

●  This will be Stewart-Haas Racing’s second XFINITY Series road-course race.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
 

What was it like testing at Mid-Ohio?

“I think the test went fairly well. It’s hard to tell because it’s a different kind of car and everything, but I thought it was a fun place to run around. I can’t wait to hit the track with my Haas Automation Ford Mustang this weekend.”

Run us through a lap at Mid-Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio seems to definitely be one of the more technical places we go to, especially through the back section, so it will be fun to figure that out.”

Based on your performance at Watkins Glen, what are your expectations going into your second straight road-course race?

“I felt like we had pretty solid speed at Watkins Glen and we were one of the faster XFINITY guys. Hopefully, we can keep it in the top-five and be there at the end to get our first XFINITY win of the season.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation Team
 

What is your strategy going into your second straight road-course race?

 

“We didn’t get the finish we were hoping for in Watkins Glen, but I am very happy with the speed we showed in the race. Our team is going into Mid-Ohio with the confidence that we can compete for the win.”

No. 00 Haas Automation Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

Haas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang will feature decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

●  Clark State Community College – With campus locations in Springfield, Beavercreek and Bellefontaine, as well as an extensive offering of online classes, Clark State is just a short drive or a click away. Its students and corporate customers have chosen Clark State because of its reputation for quality and customer service. It offers a wide variety of academic and technical courses; with one of the unique offerings being its Manufacturing Engineering Technology program. This program prepares students for a variety of positions within a manufacturing enterprise. The program builds on the student’s knowledge of computer-aided design, electronics, and manufacturing processes, providing additional skills in areas such as statistical process control, automation, and computer numerical control.

 

●  Stark State College – Located at 6200 Frank Avenue NW North in Canton, Ohio, Stark State College provides quality, high-value associate degrees, certificates, and professional development in diverse, student-centered learning environments. The College is dedicated to lifelong learning; affordable, transferable higher education; and career success. Stark State College advances qualityof life through access, academic success, stewardship, and business and community partnerships.

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet Cleveland, a division of Midwest Mfg. Resources – Located at 1993 Case Parkway North in Twinsburg, Ohio, Haas Factory Outlet Cleveland is the exclusive dealer for Haas Automation CNC machine tools in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Northeast & Southern Indiana. All Haas machines come with the most user-friendly CNC control in the industry, and the Haas Platinum One-Call policy provides expert service and dependable, immediate response. Midwest Manufacturing Resources also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Sinclair Community College, Vincennes University and the University of Louisville, among others.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Fought Some Handling Issues At The Glen

Cole Custer
Date: August 5, 2017

Event: Zippo 200 at The Glen (Round 20 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45-mile road course)

Format: 82 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/42 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th/12th (Running, completed 82 of 82 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (503 points, 229 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Paul Menard of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Started ninth, finished seventh. Earned four stage points.

● Custer battled his Haas Automation Ford Mustang in the top-10 for the majority of Stage 1, noting loose-handling conditions.

● At the conclusion of the Stage, crew chief Jeff Meendering radioed Custer to stay out of the pits.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):       

● Started second, finished 16th.

● During the first lap of Stage 2, Custer and teammate Kevin Harvick were involved in an accident resulting in minimal damage.

● On lap 25, Custer pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel after telling Meendering he smelled smoke.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-82): 

● Started 16th, finished 12th.

● Custer made his way just outside of the top-10 before pitting on lap 50 for four tires and fuel.

● On lap 71, Custer battled his Haas Automation Ford back into the top-10.

● Meendering called Custer to the pits during a caution with six laps to go for four more fresh tires and fuel.

● He restarted in the 16th position before battling just outside of the top-10 at the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:              

The Zippo 200 was Custer’s first NASCAR XFINITY Series start and fourth-career start at Watkins Glen International.

● Five cautions slowed the race for 15 laps.

● 17 of the 40 cars finished on the lead lap.

● Kyle Busch won the Zippo 200 to score his 90th career XFINITY Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Watkins Glen. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 1.049 of a second.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We started out loose and got tighter as the run went on, but when we were by ourselves we passed a lot of cars and had top-five lap times. We just got set back a little there. We were going to have a pretty good day, but had a terrible restart there at the end.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Looks Forward To The Zippo 200 At The Glen

Cole Custer

Event: Zippo 200 at The Glen (Round 20 of 33)

Date: Aug. 5, 2017

Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International

Layout: 2.45-mile road course

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Zippo 200 at The Glen will mark Custer’s 25th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen International.

 

●  While the Zippo 200 at The Glen will be Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Watkins Glen, it will be his fourth overall start at the 2.45-mile road course. In Custer’s three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts at The Glen, he earned a pole, two top-five finishes and led 17 laps.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 19 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 11th top-10 and fifth top-five and it equaled his career-best finish.

 

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 19 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned twice – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Custer has 12 top-10 starts and four top-five starts this season.

 

●  Custer has earned four top-five finishes, nine top-10s and has led 29 laps so far in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.

 

●  Custer is second in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 58 points behind leader William Byron.

 

●  Custer has earned six Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

 

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 233 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

●  This will be Stewart-Haas Racing’s first XFINITY Series road-course race.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
 

Do you enjoy road-course racing?

 

“I never really grew up road racing or anything, but when I started doing it I thought it was one of the more fun things we do here throughout the season. I feel like it was something I started getting better at and there was a different level of competition in road-course racing. I’m really looking forward to all of the road courses coming up this season.”

 

What will it take to run a successful race at Watkins Glen?

 

First, you have to be good as a driver. However, Watkins Glen is one of the tracks where the car comes into play more than most road courses. It’s definitely a fast track and one of the more fun places we go to.

 

This is your first road-course run of the season. Do you feel rusty at all?

 

I’ve been trying to get back into road-course racing a bit. We tested some sports cars at Mid-Ohio, so that helped me get used to the sharp corners and get back in the flow of road courses. Our Haas Automation team has never raced before at a road course, but we definitely have a lot of smart guys that know how to set up a car, so we should be pretty strong this weekend.” 

 

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation Team
 

This is the XFINITY team’s first ever road-course race. What are your expectations and how have you been preparing for this moment?  

 

I think we have a great shot this weekend as Cole has been successful in the past at road courses. Our team has done a great job this season adapting to new territory and I expect the same to happen this weekend. We’re heading into Watkins Glen with momentum and plan to have another solid top-five finish and hopefully a win.

Cole Custer Watkins Glen Performance Profile
 

 

No. 00 Haas Automation Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr. 

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York 

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr. 

Hometown: East Islip, New York

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Logs A Top 5 Finish At Iowa

Cole Custer
ate: July 29, 2017

Event: US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol (Round 19 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Iowa Speedway in Newton (.875-mile oval)

Format: 250 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/130 laps)

Start/Finish: 5th/5th (Running, completed 254 of 254 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (474 points, 233 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Ryan Preece of Joe Gibbs Racing in overtime (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Preece of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

● Started fifth, finished seventh. Earned four stage points.

● Custer ran in and around the top-five noting tight-handling conditions throughout Stage 1.

● Was the highest finishing rookie of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):     

● Started fourth, finished eighth. Earned three stage points.

 Custer ran just outside of the top-five throughout Stage 2.

● Custer pitted for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of Stage 2 to correct tight handling conditions.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-254):          

● Started sixth, finished fifth.

 Custer ran as high as third during the final stage.

● After a caution on lap 234, Custer opted not to pit and restarted in the third position

● Custer battled inside of the top-five until the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:              

● This marks Custer’s fourth top-five of 2017 and the fifth top-five of his XFINITY Series career.

● This marks Custer’s ninth top-10 of 2017 and the 11th top-10 of his XFINITY Series career.

● Custer was the highest finishing rookie.

● Seven cautions slowed the race for 40 laps.

● Ryan Preece won the US Cellular 250 to score his first career XFINITY Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Benjamin was .054 of a second.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

 

“We had a really solid Haas Automation Mustang this week. We kind of struggled a bit last time we were here and wanted to improve on what we had, so we brought something completely different and it really paid off. The team did a great job bringing something new. We had bad restarts today mostly because we started on the bottom. I think we had at least a third-place car this weekend. It was fun to be good at a short track this year and, hopefully, we can keep that going. I can’t thank everybody enough – Tony Stewart and Gene Haas for the opportunity and Ford for another fast racecar.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Is Excited To Return To The Iowa Speedway

Cole Custer

Event: U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol (Round 19 of 33)

Date: July 29, 2017

Location: Iowa Speedway in Newton

Layout: .875-mile oval

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol will mark Cole Custer’s 24th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Iowa Speedway in Newton.

●  In Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Iowa five weeks ago, he was running seventh until a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 219. While Custer was on pit road, the caution came out, putting him one lap down in 24th with 20 laps to go.

●  While the U.S. Cellular 250 will be Custer’s second XFINITY Series start at Iowa, it will be his ninth overall start at the .875-mile oval. Custer has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and four NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts at Iowa.

●  Custer scored his first career Pro Series East victory Aug. 2, 2013 at Iowa from the pole. At 15 years, 6 months and 10 days, he became the youngest winner in Pro Series history. In addition to breaking Dylan Kwasniewski’s record for youngest race winner by nearly six months, Custer also became the first driver to lead every lap (150) in the combination East/West race.

●  Custer’s best Truck Series finish at Iowa is second, earned in 2016. Custer finished .431 of a second behind race-winner William Byron, who he’s now competing with for XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year honors.

●  Custer has a win, a pole, four top-fives, six top-10s and has led 237 laps in his eight career starts at Iowa.

●  Custer’s best finish in the 19 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned in the 11th race of the year June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 10th top-10 and fourth top-five and it equaled his career-best finish in 23 career XFINITY Series starts.

●  Custer is second in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 65 points behind leader William Byron.

●  Custer is sixth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings, 230 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.

●  Custer has earned five Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

●  Custer has been the highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular driver in four races this season – Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Dover, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 19 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned in the seventh race of the year April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Custer has 11 top-10 starts and three top-five starts this season.

●  In 23 XFINITY Series starts, 42 Camping World Truck Series starts and 29 K&N Pro Series starts since 2015, Custer has five wins, six poles, 14 top-five finishes, 23 top-10s and 919 laps led at tracks currently on the NASCAR circuit that are approximately a mile in length or shorter.

Custer has earned three top-five finishes, eight top-10s and has led 29 laps so far in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
 

Do you feel as if you’ve got something to prove in the XFINITY Series at Iowa after bad luck plagued your weekend in June?

“Yeah. Iowa is a track that I’ve had great success at, so I want to mirror that in the XFINITY Series. Our Haas Automation Ford Mustang ran really well there in practice and I think we’ve learned a lot there since going to New Hampshire and Iowa. I mean, we’ve had fast cars there in the past and the team has been exceeding expectations this season.”

What will it take to pull off your second win at Iowa?

We were just too tight in our first try at Iowa. Just getting the car to turn better and drive off the turns is the biggest thing. Then, being there at the end is always the most important part. I feel like I have a lot more confidence at the short tracks and we aren’t competing against Cup guys, sohopefully we can execute well this time and pull off a win.

Describe the feeling of getting your first win and pole at Iowa Speedway while leading all 150 laps to become the youngest winner in Pro Series history?

“It was definitely a day I’ll remember. I can’t explain how amazing it felt. Iowa is a special place for our Haas Automation race team. I feel like that win gave me a lot of confidence because it was my first in the K&N Series and I always look forward to coming back. I just love the track. The fans are awesome and it was always one of my favorite tracks growing up. I can’t believe I got to go there and go to victory lane.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation Team
 

Despite bad luck at Iowa earlier in June, do you feel that the team had a solid game plan to bring the Haas Automation Mustang to victory lane? If not, what would you do differently?

We had a really good car in practice the first Iowa race. We got a flat tire during our first qualifying run, which put us starting in the rear for the race. We started the race too tight and struggled to get ahead on our setup. Going back this weekend, we have a better understanding of how the track changes from practice to race. I don’t anticipate it to be as big of a swing this time because it is a day race, where the last race was run at night. Cole has a good track record in Iowa and I feel certain we are bringing back a better Haas Automation Ford Mustang than we had the previous race.

Cole Custer Iowa Performance Profile
 

 

No. 00 Haas Automation Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

Haas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang will feature decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

●  Custom-Pak, Inc. – Located at86 16th Avenue North in Clinton, Iowa, Custom-Pak Inc. is one of the world’s largest industrial blow-molded parts manufacturers and a leading provider of advanced blow-molding technology. Custom-Pak designs and builds energy efficient blow-molding machines and sophisticated blow molds. They produce a wide array of blow-molded products in six manufacturing plants. Its plants are modern, clean and non-polluting.

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) Minneapolis, a division of Productivity, Inc. – Located at 15150 25th Avenue North in Minneapolis, Minnesota, HFO Minneapolis is the exclusive Haas Automation CNC machine tool distributor for all of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Western Wisconsin with satellite offices in Iowa and Nebraska. Haas Automation has a full line of dependable, American-built CNC vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary indexers and tables – all with outstanding after-sales support and service. Productivity also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Dunwoody College of Technology, the University of North Dakota and Northeast Iowa Community College, among others.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Grabs A Fifth Place Finish In The Lilly Diabetes 250

Cole Custer
Date: July 22, 2017

Event: Lilly Diabetes 250 (Round 18 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile rectangle)

Format: 100 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/30 laps/40 laps)

Start/Finish: 6th/5th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (435 points, 230 out of first)

 

Race Winner: William Byron of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Elliott Sadler of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):

● Started sixth, finished fourth. Earned seven stage points.

 A competition caution on lap 15 presented Custer with the opportunity to correct a tight-handling condition on his Haas Automation Ford Mustang with four fresh tires, fuel and wedge adjustments. He restarted in the eighth position.

● Custer drove to fourth place after the restart and ran in the top-five for the remainder of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-60):       

● Started fourth, finished 31st.

● Custer battled inside the top-10 throughout the majority of Stage 2.

● On lap 56, Custer opted to pit under green-flag conditions for four fresh tires and fuel.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 61-100):

● Started seventh, finished fifth.

● Custer raced in and around the top-10 for the first half of the final stage.

● By lap 84, Custer had made his way back into the top-five.

● During the final laps, Custer closed the gap on fourth-place Elliott Sadler before earning a top-five in his first start at Indianapolis.

 

Notes:              

● Custer scored his third top-five of the 2017 season and his fourth career top-five in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. It was also his eighth top-10 of 2017 and his 10th top-10 in 23 XFINITY Series starts.

The Lilly Diabetes 250 was Custer’s first start of any kind at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

● Five cautions slowed the race for 22 laps.

● William Byron won the Lilly Diabetes 250 to score his third career XFINITY Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Indianapolis. His margin of victory over second-place Paul Menard was .108 of a second.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It was a pretty fun race. A lot of the time we were kind of strung out there, but when you could get a push it was awesome to get locked up going down the straightaways and everything. Our Haas Automation Mustang was pretty good today. I think we were just as good as the leaders, but I had some bad restarts there at the end. I wasn’t really proud of that. We got a solid run and we’ll go to Iowa and hopefully improve on our last run. I think the new aero package we ran would be a good speedway package, but it’s hard to tell because this was my first start at Indy. It was interesting.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Makes His First Start At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Cole Custer

Event: Lilly Diabetes 250 (Round 18 of 33)

Date: July 22, 2017

Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Layout: 2.5-mile rectangle

 

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Lilly Diabetes 250 will mark Cole Custer’s 23rd career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first of any kind at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

●  Custer has competed in six restrictor-plate races – three this season in the XFINITY Series – twice at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and once at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He also competed once at each track in the Camping World Truck Series and once at Daytona in ARCA. His best Truck Series finish in a restrictor-plate race was 24th at Daytona (February 2016) and his best ARCA finish in a restrictor-plate race was 10th at Daytona (February 2016) after starting from the pole.

●  Custer’s best finish in the 17 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned in the 11th event June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his ninth top-10 and third top-five and it equaled his career-best finish in 22 career XFINITY Series starts.

●  Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 17 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned in the seventh race of the season April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Custer has 10 top-10 starts and three top-five starts this season.

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 61 points behind leader William Byron and one point behind second-place Daniel Hemric.

●  Custer has earned five Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie.

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 224 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.

●  Custer has earned two top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led 29 laps in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
 

What are your thoughts on running a restrictor-plate race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

 

It’s definitely going to be a different challenge for our Haas Automation team. We really don’t know at all what it will do to the racing, but it will be interesting. Restrictor-plate racing is all about staying out of trouble and getting a solid finish. A win would be great, but a solid finish and staying out of trouble would be great, too”

What are your expectations at Indianapolis, a track where you’ve never run before?

Indy is one of the most difficult tracks you’ll go to and it will take some time to get used to. With this different aero package, I think it will make it a little easier on me, but it will still be a new challenge.”

How will you prepare for the Lilly Diabetes 250?

Mentally, I try and just watch as many races as I can at the track coming up and try and get an idea of what I need to do come race time. For Indy, because it’s always so hot, hydration will be the biggest factor on staying in good physical condition.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation Team
 

Share your thoughts on running restrictor plates this weekend at Indianapolis.

“Indy should be a good race for the fans and a nerve-wracking race for the drivers and teams. Going into the weekend, we really don’t know what to expect. With a totally different rules package than we’ve run and limited practice, we’ll have to be prepared to go in several different directions. I have confidence in Cole and our team that we can get it figured out as quickly as any of our competitors.”

No. 00 Haas Automation Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Earns Seventh Top 10 Finish At Louden

Cole Custer
Date: July 15, 2017

Event: Overton’s 200 (Round 17 of 33)

Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)

Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)

Start/Finish: 10th/9th (Running, completed 199 of 200 laps)

Point Standing: 6th (396 points, 224 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

● Started 10th, finished 14th.

 Custer noted tight-handling conditions until inclement weather brought out the red flag.

● Before the green flag resumed the stage, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted in the 20th position.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

● Started ninth, finished 11th.

 Custer ran just outside of the top-10 throughout Stage 2 noting that his car was tight on the bottom groove, loose in the middle and loose at the top.

● He pitted for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

● Started 10th, finished ninth.

 Custer ran as high as seventh place in the final stage.

● On lap 168, Custer pitted for two tires, fuel and wedge adjustments to come off pit road in the 11th position.

● Custer continued to fight tight-handling conditions, but drove his Ford inside the top-10 before the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:              

 Custer earned his seventh top-10 of the 2017 season and his ninth top-10 in 22 XFINITY Series starts.

● This marks Custer’s fourth top-10 in five starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

● Three cautions slowed the race for 15 laps.

● Only six of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.

● Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 200 to score his 89th career XFINITY Series victory, his third of the season and his sixth at New Hampshire.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“We fought the handling on our Haas Automation Ford Mustang a good bit today. We definitely got it better. Our short track stuff hasn’t been the best this year, but we know we can get it better. We know where we are kind of struggling. We will keep working hard on it and come back better next time.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

The 2017 “Silly Season” Is Now In Full Swing

Matt Kenseth

The announcement of Erik Jones as the replacement for Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota by Joe Gibbs Racing could be the first in a multitude of driver moves for the 2018 Cup season.

There are many drivers, sponsors and teams whose plans for next year have yet to be put to paper, solidified, and published.

Here is a rundown of who could be headed where and with whom:

ANNOUNCED RIDES

Erik Jones will be in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, thus forcing Matt Kenseth out of the JGR stable of drivers, and a free agent for 2018.  This fact we know for sure!

OPEN/POSSIBLY OPEN RIDES

No. 88: Team owner Rick Hendrick hasn’t revealed what direction he will go to fill the HMS No. 88 for 2018, telling reporters at Daytona there was no timetable for naming Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s replacement.  Rick Hendrick has a few options for this team, he could hire Matt Kenseth to fill in for the short term while his young star, William Byron, gets another year of experience in the Xfinty Series.  He could also stick young Alex Bowman in this ride in the interim as well, or put him in the JR Motorsports No . 9 if Byron is promoted to Cup.

–No. 5: This car virtually has no sponsorship announced for next season, and Kasey Kahne’s status is uncertain. It is believed that Kahne is under contract to HMS through the end of 2018, with HMS carrying the option.  With Kanhe not being very productive throughout his stint with HMS, Hendrick would very easily terminate that contract and move in another direction with a new driver, possibly Kenseth, or HMS’ test driver, Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, or possibly Paul Menard.

Is appears that Hendrick Motorsports seems committed to remaining a four-car team next year.

No. 77: Jones is returning to Joe Gibbs Racing after one season in Furniture Row Racing’s new car. Team owner Barney Visser said after Kentucky that “we have nothing concrete. … Our hope is to have two cars.” 5-hour Energy has an option to return in 2018 and can’t leave for another team. There is speculation Furniture Row Racing might move 5-hour Energy to the 78 with Martin Truex Jr., which would seem to leave this ride’s future in doubt.

If Visser is to keep the No. 77 viable and functioning, then the driver selected to fill the slot would have to bring turn-key sponsorship with him to Denver!

No. 10: Sponsorship has yet to be announced for next season, and Danica Patrick’s contract is in its last year with the team.  With the trouble securing proper sponsorship for Patrick this year, it would appear that the interest in Danica Patrick by corporate America is declining.  Therefore, the SHR No. 10 may have a different driver in the cockpit in 2018, and if Cole Custer is promoted to Cup, a different number as well.  Custer has been using the 00 number on his NCWTS and NXS rides, which was one of the numbers that Gene Haas has used when he started up his Cup team.

No. 41: Stewart-Haas Racing is facing a sponsorship problem.  NASCAR and SHR sponsor Monster is mulling whether to return as a team sponsor in addition to its series title sponsorship. Monster must inform NASCAR within the next few months if it’s picking up the option on its series title sponsorship (which is a two-year deal with a two-year option). Co-owner Gene Haas has indicated Stewart-Haas Racing wants to stay at four cars. But if sponsorship isn’t there, contraction could become an option for the team.

No. 2: The news on whether Brad Keselowski will be re-signed to a Team Penske contract has not been revealed yet.  If he were to leave, Miller Lite is expected to stay and is said to like Ryan Blaney as a possible replacement driver (whose social media persona and youth would seem a good fit for a beer company).

AVAILABLE DRIVERS

Brad Keselowski: Still hasn’t re-signed with Team Penske. There are conflicting reports on whether the deal is virtually done or negotiations are at an impasse. The sticking point is believed to be more support from Ford for his Brad Keselowski Racing truck team, similar to the way in which Toyota Racing Development helps subsidize Kyle Busch Motorsports’ trucks. (Keselowski sparked an interesting discussion last week by saying that NASCAR needs more manufacturers.)

Matt Kenseth: Is out at Joe Gibbs Racing but wants to remain in a championship-caliber ride. Hendrick’s Nos. 88 or 5 seems the most likely landing spots, and he has a good friend in Dale Earnhardt Jr. to lobby on his behalf. Stewart-Haas Racing seems as if could be a possibility to fill either the No.41 or the No.10 rides.

—William Byron: Hendrick Motorsports has gauged the 19-year-old’s comfort level about a promotion to Cup. Rick Hendrick and Axalta (which has sponsored Byron in Xfinity races and likes his personality and potential) would like to move him up.

Kurt Busch: The 2017 Daytona 500 winner said at Daytona he is waiting for Stewart-Haas Racing to pick up his contract option and was optimistic that it would because “I deliver for the team.” Also mentioned there were many “moving parts” involving Monster and NASCAR.

Kasey Kahne: Has a deal through next season, but the team controls the option to keep him, and it’s widely thought it could be his last year at Hendrick.  If this is his last year at HMS then he too could be a key player in the silly season.

Ryan Blaney: Roger Penske said recently he wants to bring Blaney into the fold as early as next season, possibly in a third full-time car (or perhaps in the No. 2 if Keselowski were to leave).

Danica Patrick: In her final year with Stewart-Haas Racing. She said last month she intends to drive next season, but the sponsorship uncertainty leaves her status murky for next year.  Looking at the sponsorship difficulties have have prevailed for her this year, Patrick may be forced out of the NASCAR arena in 2018.

Alex Bowman: If Hendrick goes young, he possibly could be in play for the No. 5 if the team puts Byron in the No. 88. Also in play for the No. 9 at JR Motorsports if Byron goes to Cup.

Paul Menard: Hasn’t been announced as returning to Richard Childress Racing, and the Menards sponsorship could be on the move (it already sponsors Team Penske in the IndyCar Series).  However, as long as his father, John Menard, wants to write the big check, Paul will have a ride with some team.

Aric Almirola: He hasn’t been announced yet as returning to RPM next season. Almirola has been tied closely to sponsor Smithfield, which also had been mulling a move in its contract year, but which just had a key decision-maker leave.

GMS Racing/Spencer Gallagher: The team is mulling a move next season to Cup from the Xfinity Series. At Kentucky, Gallagher told SiriusXM that racing in Cup “definitely is a subject that has been broached, and we’ve put a lot of thought into it. We’ve always known that is our long-term goal to be racing in Cup. We’re looking at different ways we might do it and different times in which it would be best. It’s still in the formative stages.”

It is July, just barely past the the halfway point of the season, and “The Silly Season” is now in full swing.  The aforementioned drivers and teams is just the tip of the iceberg that may come into play as the 2017 season shifts into high gear.  There is no doubt that there may be a few more players, teams as well as drivers, that will be put into play before the season ends at Homestead.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!