COLE CUSTER – 2017 Iowa I Race Report

June 25th, 2017

Event: American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen (Round 14 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Iowa Speedway in Newton (.875-mile oval)
Format: 250 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/130 laps)
Start/Finish: 38th/24th (Running, completed 249 of 250 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (322 points, 180 out of first)

Race Winner: William Byron of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Brendan Gaughan of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

  • Started 38th, finished 19th.
  • Qualified 24th, but had to start at the rear of the field after sustaining a flat right-rear tire in qualifying.
  • Battled a tight-handling racecar at the beginning of the stage, particularly in the middle of the corners.
  • Pitted for four tires and fuel with chassis adjustments at the end of the stage. (Right-rear tire was losing air pressure prior to stop.)

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):     

  • Started 15th, finished 13th.
  • Despite changes, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang remained tight in the middle of the corners.
  • Caution on lap 114 allowed Custer to pit for four tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments.
  • Stayed out at the end of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-250):          

  • Started 13th, finished 24th.
  • Cracked the top-10 with 96 laps to go.
  • Ran as high as sixth by lap 155.
  • Running seventh when caution came out on lap 163. Stayed out to maintain track position.
  • Made scheduled, four-tire pit stop under green-flag conditions on lap 219. But caution came out during pit stop, trapping Custer on pit road and putting him a lap down. Restarted in 24th position on lap 230.
  • Tight-handling condition persisted through the end of the race.

Notes:              

  • This was Custer’s first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Iowa Speedway and his 19th career XFINITY Series start.
  • There were nine caution periods for a total of 65 laps.
  • Nineteen of the 40 drivers in the American Ethanol E15 250 finished on the lead lap.
  • William Byron won the American Ethanol E15 250 to score his first career XFINITY Series win. His margin of victory over second-place Ryan Sieg was 1.140 seconds. Byron led five times for 78 laps, including the final 21.
  • Elliott Sadler leads the championship standings with 502 points and has a 25-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Justin Allgaier.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:           

“The car didn’t start our great, but we worked hard to make our Haas Automation Ford Mustang better throughout the race. We had a top-10 car, just had back luck on pit strategy. Nothing we could do about it.” 

Next Up:          

The next event on the NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule is the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 on Friday, June 30 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.