Date: June 13, 2021
Event: NASCAR All-Star Race (non-points event)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 100 laps, broken into six stages (15 laps/15 laps/15 laps/15 laps/30 laps/10 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th / 14th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 3 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 4 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 5 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-15):
● Cole Custer started fourth and finished fifth.
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang picked up a position on the opening lap when Christopher Bell spun in front of Custer to bring out the only caution flag of the stage.
● Custer restarted third on lap two, moved up to second behind race leader Kyle Busch for a short time, then gradually fell back to his stage-finishing position of fifth, saying his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford was “just a little bit too free to be confident.”
● He pitted during the break for fuel and a track-bar adjustment intended to tighten up his racecar.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 16-30):
● Custer started eighth after the top-12 finishing positions in Stage 1 were inverted. He finished eighth.
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang was tight in turns one and two, free in turns three and four, according to Custer, “but overall, I’m pretty happy with it.”
● Custer briefly dropped to 11th but rallied in the closing laps to eighth by stage’s end. He pitted for fuel and a set of scuffed tires during the break.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 31-45):
● Custer started 14th after the entire Stage 2 finishing order was inverted. He finished 20th.
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang encountered a tight condition during this stage on the set of scuffed tires Custer took on during the stage break. He was unable to make any forward progress, pitting during the break for fuel, sticker tires and track-bar adjustments intended to free up the racecar.
Stage 4 Recap (Laps 46-60):
● Custer was not involved in the top-nine invert and started 20th. He finished 14th.
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang was improved during this stage, having started on sticker tires. Custer said the fronts were chattering at the very start, and “once they came in, I had the same problems as before but not close to as bad. Loose in and tight center were probably the biggest problem, just need to free it up a tick.”
● He pitted during the break for fuel and slight adjustments to free up the racecar.
Stage 5 Recap (Laps 61-90):
● Custer started 12th based on cumulative finishing position in the first four stages. He finished 11th.
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang team opted to make its mandatory green-flag pit stop during this stage on lap 67 while Custer was running ninth. He took four tires and adjustments to tighten up the racecar.
● The caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 79 with Custer running 12th. He stayed on track and restarted 12th with 10 laps to go in the stage, quickly picking up three positions to ninth on the restart lap.
● Custer reported his Mustang was too tight after too much tire falloff during the closing laps of the stage. He stayed on track during the break.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-100):
● Custer started ninth and finished 14th.
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang driver stayed out of trouble but was unable to make headway in the final sprint to the finish.
● Custer’s 14th-place finish marked his best All-Star Race result. He finished 16th last year.
● Kyle Larson won the All-Star Race with a .206 of a second margin of victory over runner-up Brad Keselowski.
● The All-Star Race featured 11 lead changes among eight different drivers. Twenty-one drivers comprised the field.
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Well, we didn’t win the money tonight, but I think we at least leave here with a better idea on a lot of different things. We had nothing to lose, and I think we made the most of our track time. I think we leave here having gained some knowledge that is going to pay off as we head into the second half of the season.”
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to points-paying racing on Sunday, June 20, with the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The race gets underway at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!