Cole Custer Prepares For Las Vegas

Cole Custer

Event: Boyd Gaming 300 (Round 3 of 33)

Date: March 3, 2018

Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Layout: 1.5-mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest

●  The Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the second of 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks on the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule.


●  Custer has competed in two career races at Las Vegas – one last year in the Xfinity Series and one in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Custer finished 11th in the Xfinity Series start and third in his Truck Series start.


●  In 16 Xfinity Series starts and nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at 1.5-mile ovals, Custer has one win, six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s.


●  Custer earned four top-five finishes in the Xfinity Series last season at 1.5-mile tracks – April 8 and Nov. 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (fifth each time), Sept. 23 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (fifth) and Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (first). He also finished in the top-10 at three other venues – March 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (10th), May 27 and Oct. 7at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (seventh and sixth, respectively) and Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (seventh).


●  This weekend, NASCAR is headed West. Custer, a native of Ladera Ranch, California, grew up racing in grassroots series across the Western United States. He began racing at the Bullring at Las Vegas in 2011, earning a victory in the USAC Young Gun division to help him secure the USAC National Focus Young Gun championship. Then, in 2012, he became the youngest Late Model division winner at the Bullring, also earning the NASCAR Nevada Rookie of the Year title.


●  No. 00 Haas Automation Ford crew chief Jeff Meendering isn’t a stranger to success at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Meendering was the NASCAR Cup Series crew chief for Bobby Labonte throughout the 2008 season, earning a 17th-place finish at Las Vegas in his third race with the team. He has come close to victory lane at the 1.5-mile oval as a car chief for Jeff Gordon, earning a fourth-place finish in 2005, a fifth-place finish in 2006 and a second-place finish in 2007.


●  In 2017, Custer led the Xfinity Series with 422 points at mile-and-a-half tracks.


●  Custer is 25th in the Xfinity Series standings with 25 points.


●  Last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Custer started fourth and ran within the top-three during the opening laps. On lap 11, he was contacted by another car, sending his Haas Automation Ford into the wall, ultimately ending his day. His Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste teammate Kevin Harvick brought the Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang to victory lane after dominating all three stages of the race.


●  Custer will pull a double-duty weekend by making his Cup Series debut Sunday at Las Vegas driving the No. 51 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Rick Ware Racing.

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

Describe a lap behind the wheel at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


“It’s pretty much just really fast and you’re wide open. You’re going to start racing around the bottom, but you’ll be able to move around a bit by the end of the day. The biggest challenge is just trying to get used to the edgy feeling that you’re going to have from running wide open.”


You grew up racing on the West Coast and even at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. What are you most looking forward to about heading closer to home and about racing at Las Vegas?


“It’s definitely going home for me, so it’s cool to see some friends throughout the West Coast swing. I’ve been to Vegas a lot of times, so it’s a familiar territory and it’s awesome to race at the speedway. I definitely ran a lot of races at the Bullring and it was a really fun track to race on. It was neat because I would look at the big track and think about racing there someday, but I was just the smaller guy working my way up back then and hoping to race there one day and now I’m actually racing there. It’s pretty humbling to think I’ve come this far.”


You survived Daytona with a top-15, but ran into some bad luck in Atlanta. How do you mentally prepare yourself heading into a race weekend? Do you have more confidence heading to a 1.5-mile track this weekend?


“I don’t think I’ll change a ton going into this weekend because we mostly just struggled with bad luck. It will be important to focus on the little things a lot more because of running double duty and we have a great mile-and-a-half car, so hopefully we can have a strong run.”


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

Are you confident you’ll bounce back heading to another 1.5-mile track after this weekend at Atlanta?


“We ran into bad luck last year at the start of the season and still made it to the playoffs and won at Homestead. We’re confident that we can make up the points and contend for a championship. We had a good run last year at Las Vegas and we have some notes to bring back. We’re looking for a strong run from the Haas Automation Ford Mustang this weekend.”

Cole Custer Las Vegas 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: Tim Feduwa

Hometown: Holt, Michigan

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa


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

About Haas Automation: Haas Automation, Inc., is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers, and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company’s 1.1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets that provides the industry’s best sales, service and support while offering unparalleled cost-to-

performance value.


Haas VF-1: This year marks the 30th anniversary of Haas Automation’s very first vertical machining center – the industry-leading VF-1. The “V” in the model name stands for vertical – an industry-standard designation for a vertical mill – and company founder Gene Haas added “F1” to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.” Introduced at IMTS 88 in Chicago, the Haas VF-1 established an industry milestone, by being the very first American-built vertical machining center to sell for less than $50,000, an unheard-of price at that time. With a published price of $49,900 – another industry first – the Haas VF-1 quickly became the industry benchmark for affordable CNC technology. Today, the Haas VF-1 still sells for less than $50,000.



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