COLE CUSTER – 2018 NXS Dover II Race Advance

Event:               Bar Harbor 200 (Round 29 of 33)
Date:                Oct. 6, 2018
Location:          Dover (Del.) International Speedway
Layout:             Concrete mile oval


Cole Custer Notes of Interest


    • The Bar Harbor 200 will be Cole Custer’s fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and ninth overall start at the concrete mile oval.
    • The Bar Harbor 200 will be the third and final race of the first round of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. The playoffs began 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 fourth in the 2018 Xfinity Series playoffs with 2,083 points, 49 behind leader Christopher Bell and 14 ahead of the cutoff to advance to the second round.
    • Custer’s second-place finishes May 26 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Sept. 1 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway are his best in 28 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 11 top-five finishes, 22 top-10s, five poles and has led 240 laps this season.
    • Last weekend at Charlotte in the first-ever road-course-styled playoff race, Custer finished second in the first two stages before earning his fifth consecutive road-course top-10.
    • No Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers are eligible to race in the Bar Harbor 200 Xfinity Series race at Dover. 
    • In Custer’s eight overall starts at Dover, three are in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, two are in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and three are in the Xfinity Series. Custer’s best overall finish at Dover is fourth, earned in the Xfinity Series race June 3, 2017.
    • In the 2015 Truck Series race at Dover, Custer led 67 laps and ran in and around the top-five until lap 138, when a fueling issue pushed him off the lead lap in 13th place, where he would ultimately finish the race.
    • In 66 Xfinity Series starts, 42 Camping World Truck Series starts and 29 K&N Pro Series starts since 2015, Custer has five wins, eight poles, 16 top-five finishes, 32 top-10s and 1,077 laps led at tracks that are a mile in length or shorter.


Cole Custer, Driver Q&A


Your short-track program is improving, as we saw at Richmond and Bristol. Is Dover the one to win?

“We’ve had a lot of improvements at tracks this year and I think Dover will be another one. We have some good ideas of how to make our Haas Automation Mustangs a little faster and a lot more notes to go off of. It’s been great to run up front at a few of these short tracks, too, and it has taught me a lot.”

Describe a qualifying lap at Dover.

“You come in shaking. It’s pretty crazy. You’re getting all that you can out of it and you’re just on edge the whole time. It’s so fast for such a small place.”

How nerve-racking was the Charlotte roval, and are you happy you decided to play it safe and earn the extra points? 

“The roval was the most nerve-racking race of the season because we didn’t know what to expect. I think we did a great job all weekend going for points and getting ourselves in a good position for Dover. We would have had a shot at the win if we pitted early but, with so many unknowns, I’m happy with our decision to get more points. If you think about it, the 18 points we earned with the stage finishes earned us more after finishing seventh than staying out of the pits to finish second.”

Do you feel like you have enough points to bring you into the next round?

“We have a good cushion going into Dover, but you can’t ever be comfortable. This weekend, we just have to execute well and hit our marks. I think we need to try and get as many points as we can in Dover to get the best cushion we can. We still want to go out and win stages and the race, though, so we can build some playoff points.”


Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A


There’s no arguing that you have unloaded fast Haas Automation Fords every weekend – especially at short tracks. To what do you attribute the success at short tracks this year?

“Short tracks are all unique in size, shape and banking. You have to develop individual setups for each track, where a lot of the intermediate tracks we go to take a fairly similar setup and you can transfer things you learn from one track to the other. It definitely takes longer to build a good short-track notebook, but we’re getting there.”