Event: Drive for the Cure 300 (Round 29 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 13th/6th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: 5th (3,007 points, 19 points out of first – ADVANCED TO ROUND 2)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
● Cole Custer started 13th, finished ninth. Earned two bonus points.
● Piloted his Haas Automation Ford Mustang into the top-10 by lap 20.
● Noted a tight-handling condition, but managed to make a pass and gain one more position before the conclusion of the stage.
● Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments at the end of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
● Started 11th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
● Custer continued to fight a tight-handling condition at the beginning of the stage.
● Ran as high as seventh during Stage 2 until his car’s balance shifted to being loose.
● At the conclusion of the stage, pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
● Started eighth, finished sixth.
● After a caution on lap 141, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted in the 11th position.
● Custer drove to eighth place before a final caution on lap 160, where he pitted for four more tires and fuel to restart back in 11th position.
● With 40 laps to go, Custer powered his way through the field to finish just outside of the top-five.
● Custer was the highest finishing rookie in the Drive for the Cure 300. It was his eighth rookie of the race award this season.
● Custer has earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among XFINITY Series drivers this season.
● Custer earned his 16th top-10 of the 2017 season, his 18th top-10 in 34 career XFINITY Series starts and his third top-10 at Charlotte.
● Custer’s sixth-place finish was his fourth-consecutive top-10 this season.
● Due to inclement weather, qualifying for the Drive for the Cure 300 was canceled. The field was set by owner points.
● This was the final race in the first round of the playoffs. Custer advanced to the second round and is seeded fifth.
● There were eight caution periods for 43 laps in the Drive for the Cure 300.
● Alex Bowman won the Drive for the Cure 300 to score his first career XFINITY Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Sam Hornish Jr. was 1.390 seconds.
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a really good night for us. We got our car better. We didn’t have the track position that we wanted, so I think we were more of a third- or fourth-place car, but our Haas Automation Mustang was really solid tonight. I was happy with the improvements we made through the weekend, so I’m looking forward to the next round. It’s going to be a dogfight, that’s for sure. Everybody in this next round has a lot of speed. I think if we can win a race it’s going to be huge. It will be tough, but we just have to really be on our game and fire on all cylinders.”
1. William Byron (3,026 points)
2. Justin Allgaier (3,023 points, -3)
3. Elliott Sadler (3,020 points, -6)
4. Daniel Hemric (3,009 points, -17)
5. Cole Custer (3,007 points, -19)
6. Brennan Poole (3,006 points, -20)
7. Ryan Reed (3,005 points, -21)
8. Matt Tifft (3,004 points, -22)
Failed to advance to the Round of 8
9. Brendan Gaughan (2,079 points)
10. Michael Annett (2,058 points)
11. Blake Koch (2,055 points)
12. Jeremy Clements (2,052 points)
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!