Event: Pocono Green 250 (Round 12 of 33)
Date: June 2, 2018
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway
Layout: 2.5-mile triangle
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- The Pocono Green 250 marks Custer’s second Xfinity Series start at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. In his debut, Custer qualified third, led 14 laps and secured a seventh-place finish.
- Custer heads to Pocono fresh off a second-place finish Saturday at Charlotte (N.C) Motor Speedway, which was his best finish of the 2018 season. He led 29 laps and battled for the lead during the closing laps. Custer was the highest finishing Xfinity Series regular behind Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski, who won the race. It was Custer’s 29th top-10 finish and 10th top-five in 49 career Xfinity Series starts.
- Custer has earned two poles, two top-five finishes, eight top-10s and has led 77 laps in the 2018 Xfinity Series season.
- Custer is no stranger to victory lane at Pocono’s 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle.” He won the 2015 ARCA Series race there when he led the final 18 laps.
- In four combined starts at Pocono – one in the Xfinity Series, one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two in the ARCA Series – Custer has one win, two top-five finishes, three top-10s and 18 laps led.
- Custer is fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings, 62 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.
- In the first 11 races run this season, Custer has earned four more top-10s and has led 77 more laps than the first 11 races run in his rookie 2017 season.
- The Pocono Green 250 is the first of three races this season that the Xfinity Series will run a low-downforce aero package. This package was debuted last season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Custer finished fifth.
- Custer is also entered in Sunday’s Pocono 400 NASCAR Cup Series race and will pilot the No. 51 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Rick-Ware Racing. It will be his second Cup Series start.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
You were the highest finishing Xfinity Series regular in your runner-up finish at Charlotte last weekend. Should we expect to see you battle it out with Cup Series drivers more this season?
“After what we did at Charlotte, there’s no reason why we can’t battle with the Cup guys – it’s just a matter of doing everything right and beating them now. In my opinion, it’s great to have the Cup guys compete with us because it only makes us better.”
What do you expect out of the new aero package at Pocono? What new challenge does this bring?
“I think we’ll see what we’ve seen already with the package – a mix between Truck racing and speedway racing. The biggest thing at first is getting all the speed you can, but I think you will have to worry about long-run speed a little. It supplies us with a new challenge and, after coming into the Xfinity Series last year with nothing but an empty shop, we have proven to adapt well to change.”
What was it like to get an ARCA Series win at Pocono in 2015?
“It’s awesome to win at Pocono because it’s such a unique track. Everybody wants to win there because of the history behind it and how unique it is. Winning there in 2015 definitely gives me some confidence going into the weekend.”
What is so tricky about the “Tricky Triangle?”
“It’s tough to figure out those three turns. A lot of times you’ll be better on one end than the other. It’s a kind of a tough track because you’re carrying so much speed going into a couple of the corners and they’re pretty much dead flat. You have to figure out how to use your brakes and max your speed going through those corners without sliding up the track. It’s just tough to figure out the flat corners.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What new challenge does the aero package bring in the shop and at the track?
“The biggest challenge for us will be figuring out the attitude of the car. You want to have as much downforce as possible to get through the corners faster, but the added downforce also adds a lot of drag, which hurts you on those long straightaways. We had a fast car at Indy last year and, with Goodyear bringing the Indy tire to Pocono this time, we are setting our car up very similar to that.”