Custer: The Round Of Eight Tracks Suits This Team

Cole Custer & Ross Chastain


Event: Kansas Lottery 300 (Round 30 of 33)

Date: Oct. 20, 2018

Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City

Layout: 1.5-mile oval


Cole Custer Notes of Interest

●   The Kansas Lottery 300 is the first race of the second round of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. The playoffs began with 12 eligible drivers and are divided into three rounds with the first two rounds consisting of three races apiece, followed by a final, single-race round at the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale. Four drivers are eliminated after each of the first two rounds to ultimately establish four finalists at Homestead. Drivers automatically qualify for the next round with a win in the current round with the remaining spots determined by the point standings. At Homestead, the top-finishing driver among the four finalists wins the championship.


●  Custer’s most recent start on a 1.5-mile oval was last month at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, where he earned his fifth career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole, led three laps and secured his sixth top-three finish of 2018. He led the 2017 Xfinity Series with 422 points at 1.5-mile tracks after winning the season finale at Homestead by 15.405 seconds and winning Stages 1 and 2.


●  Last year at Kansas, Custer ran as high as second place and ran inside the top-10 for the majority of the race. With just five laps to go, Custer radioed to crew chief Jeff Meendering that he had a cut tire. The Haas Automation team pitted for four tires under green and finished 19th.


●  The Kansas Lottery 300 is the eighth of 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks on the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Custer has earned two poles, five top-five finishes, six top-10s and has led 50 laps in the seven 1.5-mile races run this season. Custer’s only finish outside the top-10 was at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway oval, when he was involved in an accident not of his own doing.


●  Custer has competed in three career races at Kansas – two Xfinity Series starts and one in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.


●  Custer’s average starting position of 6.2 and five pole awards leads all Xfinity Series regulars this season. He has earned 19 top-five starts and 24 top-10 starts in the 2018 Xfinity Series season.


●  Custer’s best finish in the 2018 Xfinity Series so far is second, earned three times – May 26 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Sept. 1 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Oct. 6 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.


●  Custer is fourth in the 2018 Xfinity Series playoffs with 3,011 points, 33 behind leader Christopher Bell but tied with Elliott Sadler for the fourth and final position that will advance to the championship round.


●  Custer is competing for his third consecutive top-10 and second top-five in a row this weekend in the Kansas Lottery 300.


●  No Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers are entered in the Kansas Lottery 300.


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

You spent your off weekend road-course racing at Road Atlanta. How was that?


“I think this has been an awesome program because it has allowed us all to see a different kind of racing. Everything from the flow of the weekend to the way you drive the cars. It definitely has expanded what I know as a driver, so that’s been good. We finished 13th, but I had a ton of fun and learned a lot more about road-course racing.”


The Round of 8 is here. How do these tracks match up to your racing style?


“This round suits our team better because our speeds at 1.5-mile tracks have been so consistent this year. Even last year, our speeds were unmatched. Kansas and Texas are tracks I feel we can be really strong at and Phoenix is a track we’ve improved on every time we visit.”


If you had to win at any of the three tracks in this round of the playoffs, which one would it be and why?


“That’s easy. Kansas. Then we focus on Homestead.”


The point standings are tight. Does it make you nervous that it’s fair game for the championship round?


“It’s definitely tight and there are a lot of good teams fighting for four spots, but I think you have to focus on yourself and, if we do what we’ve done all year, we’ll be in good shape. We had bad luck last year at Kansas that put us in a really bad spot. We couldn’t do anything about it. If that doesn’t happen again, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be in the running for the championship.”


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

What about this Round of 8 fits your team’s driving style and how would you rank this stretch of races compared to the others?


“When we started the SHR Xfinity program, our main focus was on the intermediate tracks. Two-thirds of the races in this round are on those style tracks. The other race is at Phoenix, where we made big improvements earlier in the year. This should be a good stretch of races for us. I would say this should be the best round, yet.”


Cole Custer Kansas 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 Fedewa

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.


Playoff Standings

1.     Christopher Bell (3,044 points, +33 )

2.     Justin Allgaier (3,039 points, + 28)

3.     Daniel Hemric (3,013 points, +2)

4.     Cole Custer (3,011 points, +0)

5.     Elliott Sadler (3,011points,  -0)

6.     Tyler Reddick (3,011 points, -1)

7.     Matt Tifft (3,003 points, -8)

8.     Austin Cindric (3,001 points, -10)


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