Event: Drive for the Cure 200 (Round 28 of 33)
Date: Sept. 29, 2018
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway
Layout: 2.28-mile, 17-turn road course
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- The Drive for the Cure 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway will be the second race of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. The playoffs begin with 12 eligible drivers and are divided into three rounds with the first two rounds consisting of three races apiece followed by a final, single-race round at the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale. Four drivers are eliminated after each of the first two rounds to ultimately establish four finalists at Homestead. Drivers automatically qualify for the next round with a win in the current round with the remaining spots determined by the point standings. At Homestead, the top-finishing driver among the four finalists wins the championship.
- Custer is ninth in the 2018 Xfinity Series playoffs with 2,035 points, 55 behind leader Justin Allgaier but tied with Brandon Jones for the eighth and final position that will advance to the second round.
- Custer’s second-place finishes May 26 at Charlotte and Sept. 1 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway are his best in 26 races this season.
- Custer’s average starting position of 6.1 and five pole awards in the 2018 Xfinity Series season lead all series regulars. He has earned 20 top-five starts and 25 top-10 starts this season.\
- Custer has earned 21 top 10 finishes, 11 top-fives, five poles and has led 240 laps this season.
- Custer owns 11 top-10 finishes, five top-fives, two poles and led 80 laps in 15 road-course starts.
- Custer is competing for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish at a road course and second consecutive top-five road-course finish. He is the only driver to have earned a top-10 in each of the last four road-course races.
- In Custer’s recent road-course start at Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, he raced as high as second place and ran in and around the top-five for the majority of the race.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
Is the Charlotte “roval” a complete unknown and how do you feel about having a track like this in the middle of the playoffs?
“The roval is definitely a track where no one knows exactly what to expect, but I think it’s just going to be a balance of being aggressive and not putting yourself in bad positions. Having a track like this in the playoffs is definitely risky, but can also open up a lot of opportunity.”
You’re currently ninth in the playoff standings but tied in points for the cutoff spot to advance to Round 2. Is the plan to just survive?
“I don’t think you can go in there with the plans to just survive. You’re going to have to race hard and be aggressive. We’ve had pretty good speed at all the road courses and I feel like our team is able to learn things fast, so I’m expecting us to be a factor to win.”
What are the challenges of running a road course?
“In road-course racing, the competition is more on the driver’s shoulders compared to your traditional oval-styled track. You’re on the edge of your seat for the entire race and even the smallest mistake could take you out of the race. I enjoy road-course racing and challenging my skills as a driver.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What are the expectations of the roval from a crew chief’s perspective?
“We really don’t know what we’re looking at until we get there on Thursday. We have put together some fast road-course cars with good balance around the corners, but when you get to that oval portion you have to have a car with good speed. Our team has adapted quickly to any competition changes thrown our way, so I expect us to compete for a win so we can go to Dover stress free.”