Top-20 Finish for Custer at Atlanta
Rookie Endures Long, Hot Race
Date: June 7, 2020
Event: Folds of Honor 500 (Round 10 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format: 325 laps, broken into three stages (105 laps/105 laps/115 laps)
Start/Finish: 31st/19th (Running completed 324 of 325 laps)
Point Standing: 26th with 158 points, 263 out of first
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-105):
● Cole Custer started 31st and finished 19th.
● To start the race, Custer dropped to the rear of the field for an unapproved adjustment.
● Early in the race the 22-year-old reported his HaasTooling.com Mustang was really loose.
● At the lap-25 competition caution, Custer pitted from 28th for fuel, four tires and a bevy of adjustments to help with his loose Mustang. He restarted 28th.
● The California native made a scheduled green-flag pit stop from 20th on lap 66 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help the No. 41 machine.
● Late in the stage, Custer went down one lap while running in the top-20. He continued to report his Ford Mustang remained loose.
● The next caution was displayed on lap 95 and crew chief Mike Shiplett told Custer to stay out and take the wave around to gain his lap back. He restarted 19th.
● Custer ended Stage 1 in 19th with a loose-handling Mustang.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 106-210):
● Custer started 19th and ended 21st.
● The HaasTooling.com driver made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 156 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his loose condition.
● Next caution was displayed on lap 202. Custer was beneficiary of the free pass and pitted once again for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his loose Mustang. Restarted 22nd.
● Ended Stage 2 in 21st and pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 211-325):
● Custer started 21st, finished 19th.
● Shortly after the green-flag dropped on the final stage, Custer reported his Mustang was handling worse.
● On lap 262 Custer pitted from 22nd for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his loose condition.
● The remainder of the event ran under green and the Cup rookie finished 19th.
● Custer earned his sixth top-20 of the season and it came in his first career NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta.
● Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 3.527 seconds.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 24 laps.
● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Atlanta with a 48-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Thank you, guys. I think we got it a lot better for not having any practice. Thanks for sticking with me all day.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Wednesday, June 10 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!