Event: Lilly Diabetes 250 (Round 25 of 33)
Date: Sept. 8, 2018
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Layout: 2.5-mile rectangle
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- In Custer’s three career starts at tracks where the high-downforce aero package was utilized, he has earned one pole, three top-five finishes and led 23 laps. He finished fifth Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year ago, fifth in June at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, and third in June at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
- Custer’s average starting position of 6.5 and four pole awards leads all Xfinity Series regulars. He has earned 17 top-five starts and 22 top-10 starts in the 2018 Xfinity Series season.
- Custer’s 20 top-10 finishes is tied with Elliott Sadler for most among Xfinity Series regulars.
- Custer also has earned four poles, 10 top-five finishes, and has led 237 laps in the 2018 Xfinity Series season.
- Custer’s second-place finishes May 26 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Saturday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway are his best in 24 races this season.
- Custer is third in the Xfinity Series driver standings with 871 points, 17 behind series leader Justin Allgaier.
- Custer is competing for his ninth consecutive top-10 and third consecutive top-five this weekend.
- In his 2017 Xfinity Series start at Indianapolis – resulting in his first top-five utilizing the high-downforce aero package – Custer raced in and around the top-five throughout the race.
- Last weekend at Darlington, Custer raced in and around the top-five and battled for the lead before tying his season-best finish of second place.
- The Lilly Diabetes 250 is the last of three races this season that the Xfinity Series will run a high-downforce aero package. This package was debuted last season at Indianapolis.
- There are only two races left until the Xfinity Series playoffs begin Sept. 21 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. The winner of the regular-season championship will earn an additional 15 playoff points – equivalent to winning three races.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
The team has earned a top-five in all three starts with the new high-downforce package. To what do you attribute this success?
“Our team has worked extremely hard day in and day out and adapted well to the high-downforce package. Just like our 2017 Xfinity Series debut, we started from scratch and could have won a championship. I think there’s no reason why we can’t compete for a win in Indy and close the points gap.”
How good does it feel heading to a track where you had success last year knowing that you’re trailing the championship leader by only 17 points?
“With the speed we’ve had at Indy and the high-downforce package, it gives us a lot of confidence in gaining some points for the regular-season championship. When you look at the stats, you can’t help but have full confidence in your team and yourself heading into the weekend.”
Your average starting position is 6.5, which leads all Xfinity Series regulars. Talk about how hard the team works to bring you a fast Haas Automation Ford Mustang every weekend.
“We’ve had fast cars all year and everyone’s worked extremely hard to get us there. I’m confident in saying that we have the best team out there. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and things will go our way.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
The team has produced some of the Xfinity program’s best combined results with the high-downforce package. To what can you attribute that success?
“I think the attention to detail that every one of the guys working on the No. 00 Haas Automation team puts into our cars is what has created that success. We have a group that is willing to work hard to win. You don’t walk around and hear complaining because everyone knows that, in order to become champions, we have to outwork the other guys on the field. We get a new challenge and hit it hard and Cole has always done a great job adapting to new environments.”
You’re trailing the championship leader by 17 points. Do you focus on chipping away or going all out for the win regardless of the outcome?
“I will always try to put us in the best position to get a win over getting points. If a win doesn’t seem like it is in the cards for the weekend, then we pay closer attention to points during the race. We fully expect to have a car to compete for a win every weekend. We have almost all year.”