● Event: Federated Auto Parts 400 (Round 28 of 36)
● Time/Date: 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 11
● Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway
● Layout: .75-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 400 laps/300 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 155 laps / Final Stage: 165 laps
● TV/Radio: NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● Fresh off a near-top-10 finish in Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Cole Custer and the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Demo Day Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) look to continue their momentum in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
● Appearing on Custer’s SHR Mustang for the second of two consecutive races Saturday night will be Haas Automation’s Demo Day in leadup to this year’s annual event at the network of nine Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) locations throughout the country. Demo Day provides HFOs an opportunity to feature the latest CNC machines, innovations and technology from Haas Automation. HFOs will showcase machine cutting demonstrations, as well as educational seminars to explain how the latest Haas machines and options can make companies more efficient and profitable. Current Haas users, potential customers and anyone in the manufacturing industry are also invited to attend. To find the nearest HFO, and for more information, click here.
● Saturday night’s 400-lap race at Richmond oval will be Custer’s 67th Cup Series start and his fourth on the .75-mile oval. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year’s 14th-place finish there last September, the best of his previous three outings. He started 21st and finished 23rd at Richmond in April.
● In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, Custer’s seven career starts at Richmond is more than he’s had at any other track. Best among those starts was the April 2019 race, when he qualified fourth in the No. 00 SHR Ford, led a race-high 122 of 250 laps and took the checkered flag 2.639 seconds ahead of runner-up and fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric. He followed that up with a third-place finish in that year’s September race for his fourth Xfinity Series top-six in seven Richmond starts. Custer also started on the pole and led 43 laps en route to a sixth-place finish in the April 2018 race in his SHR Ford, and scored a sixth-place finish in his Richmond debut in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 5 JR Motorsports entry in the April 2016 race.
● Custer’s first two Richmond outings came in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2013 and 2014. The first year, he started and finished third after leading 24 of 100 laps, then came back the following year to qualify second and lead a race-high 52 of 100 laps en route to his fourth of four career victories in K&N Pro Series competition.
● After last weekend’s 11th-place finish on the egg-shaped, 1.366-mile Darlington oval, Custer arrives at Richmond 28th in the driver standings.
● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford Mustang is team co-owner Gene Haas’ newest holding, Haas Tooling, which was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to end users. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at HaasTooling.com have proven to be even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as CNC machines have become vital to producing personal protective equipment. Haas Automation, founded by Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
● September is Hunger Action Month, and SHR, its partner Wow Wow Classic Waffles, and Feeding America®, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, are asking fans to think about their answer to a simple question: How will you choose to end hunger? Hunger Action Month is an annual campaign dedicated to driving awareness and inspiring action to help end hunger in America, both on a national scale and on the ground in local communities. It’s a time when the Feeding America network of food banks and the public come together to raise awareness and inspire action to help people facing impossible choices due to hunger. Fans are encouraged to visit the Hunger Action Month page via the Feeding America website to learn how they can take action through sharing, volunteering, pledging to advocate, fundraising and making a donation. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Custer and the No. 41 SHR Ford team have accumulated nearly 100 volunteer hours to date, working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in packing bags and helping with drop-off events at Charlotte-area schools.
● Fans can do their part by texting HUNGER to 50555 to make a $5 donation to Feeding America, by visiting the Feeding America donation page on Facebook, or the donation page via the Feeding America website. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Demo Day Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
You’re coming off a near-top-10 finish on a tough racetrack at Darlington last weekend and are headed to another tricky track at Richmond this weekend. Do you feel you and the team might be mounting some momentum for the home stretch of the season?
“It felt like one of our better efforts of the season in most every respect, so that’s definitely a good thing. It was one of those typical up-and-down days, but Mike (Shiplett, crew chief) made a great strategy call that moved us up near the top-10 late in the race. Hoping what we learned at Richmond in the spring race will benefit us this weekend, although the conditions will be pretty drastically different, being that the race is under the lights. We did pretty well in the night race there last fall, and it seemed all of our SHR cars were pretty solid with this 750 (horsepower) package last weekend at Darlington, so I hope all of that bodes well for us and our HaasTooling.com/Demo Day Ford team.”
Saturday night’s race marks your 13th career start at Richmond between the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and K&N East Series. What’s been your favorite Richmond memory?
“Definitely winning there in the Xfinity Series a couple of years ago. It was my first short-track win in the Xfinity Series and it meant a lot because we worked pretty hard to try and get our short-track stuff better, and it’s not an easy track to get around. So, it meant a lot to win that one.”
You’ve run at Richmond so much during your career, are you immersed in footage and data from your previous runs there to figure out how you’re going to get around there Saturday night?
“Yeah, that’s every weekend for me. I look at old races and try and talk to Kevin (Harvick) every weekend to find out what he’s looking for. He’s been a huge help the last couple of years. All of my teammates have been. It’s been tough, though, going straight to racing with no practice or qualifying. You can look at as much film and data as you want, but you’re still missing the experience of actually being out there. You know what you need to work on, but you really don’t learn as much until you’re actually out there on the track.”
No. 41 HaasTooling.com Demo Day Team Roster
Primary Team Members
Driver: Cole Custer
Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California
Crew Chief: Mike Shiplett
Hometown: Amherst, Ohio
Car Chief: Tony Cardamone
Hometown: Bristol, Virginia
Engineer: Davin Restivo
Hometown: Ashboro, North Carolina
Engineer: Scott Bingham
Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Spotter: Andy Houston
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Front Tire Changer: John Roselli
Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Chad Emmons
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Jack Man: Matthew Schlytter
Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida
Fuel Man: Corey Coppola
Hometown: Bluefield, West Virginia
Road Crew Members
Mechanic: Joe Zanolini
Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania
Mechanic: Nick McIntosh
Hometown: Havre, Montana
Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn
Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut
Tire Specialist: Thomas Gagliano
Hometown: East Hampton, Connecticut
Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples
Hometown: Hudson, Illinois
Transporter Co-Driver: Eddie DeGroot
Hometown: Baldwinsville, New York
Transporter Co-Driver: David Rodrigues
Hometown: Santa Clarita, California
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!