COLE CUSTER – 2018 NXS Indianapolis Race Report

September 10th, 2018

Date: Sept. 10, 2018
Event: Lilly Diabetes 250 (Round 25 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile rectangle)
Format: 100 laps, broken into three stages 30 laps/30 laps/40 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/29th (Accident, completed 71 of 100 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd with 894 points (49 points out of first)

Race Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: John Hunter Nemechek of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Hemric of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):

● Cole Custer started fifth, finished third and earned eight bonus points.
● When the green flag waved Custer was inside the top-five, but he got caught outside of the pack and fell to eighth place.
● He pitted under green-flag conditions on lap eight for two tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
● While he was exiting pit road, the caution was brought out. Custer was ahead of the leader when the caution came out, therefore staying on the lead lap.
● During the caution period, most of the field decided to pit in front of Custer, promoting the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang to second place.
● Custer ran in third place until a multicar accident erupted just one car length behind him. He opted not to pit during the caution period.
● He restarted the one-lap shootout on the front row and raced the No. 7 car for the lead until a four-wide finish put Custer in third.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-60):

● Custer started 12th, finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.
● The Haas Automation Ford driver raced inside the top-10 for the majority of Stage 2.
● On lap 50 Custer radioed there was a vibration in his right-front tire, but crew chief Jeff Meendering said multiple cars were having similar issues.
● Several cars pitted under green while Custer stayed out, advancing the No. 00 Ford Mustang to fourth place.
● When the stage concluded, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 61-100):

● Custer started seventh, finished 29th.
● Custer battled just outside the top-five until he attempted to make a block and was clipped on the left-rear quarter panel, sending him into the wall and ending his day.

Notes:               

● The Lilly Diabetes 250 was originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8 and was postponed to Monday due to inclement weather.
● NASCAR Xfinity Series practice and qualifying was also cancelled due to inclement weather. The field was set by owner points.
● Custer earned 15 bonus points at Indianapolis.
● Seven cautions slowed the race for 31 laps.
● Justin Allgaier won the Lilly Diabetes 250 to score his 10th career Xfinity Series victory, fifth of the season and first at Indianapolis. His margin of victory over second-place Tyler Reddick was .092 of a second.

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

“It’s hectic out there – especially restarts. You’re trying to make blocks and get runs and trying to be as aggressive as you can, and things just happen. I thought our Haas Automation Mustang was pretty fast, we just couldn’t get many people to work with us. It seemed like we just got hung out to dry a lot, but I just made a mistake there trying to make a block. We’ll go to Vegas and try to win one.”