COLE CUSTER – 2018 NXS Las Vegas Race Report

September 15th, 2018

Date: September 15, 2018
EventDC Solar 200 (Round 26 of 33)
SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series
LocationLas Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/3rd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: (4th with 2011 points, 28 points out of first – IN THE PLAYOFFS)

Race WinnerRoss Chastain of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 WinnerRoss Chastain of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 WinnerRoss Chastain of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

● Custer started fifth, finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.
● The Code 3 Associates driver led the first three laps until falling to third before a lap-four restart.
● Custer raced in third place for the majority of the stage and said the car felt loose into Turn 3 and wouldn’t turn well in the center of the turns.
● He pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to improve handling and gained one spot on pit road.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):

● Custer started third, finished second and earned nine bonus points.
● Custer raced the Code 3 Associates Ford in third place until a lap-64 caution.
● After experimenting with the low and high line, Custer found significantly more speed on the low line and advanced to second before the stage concluded.
● He pitted for four tires, fuel, chassis and air pressure adjustments when the stage ended.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

● Custer started seventh, finished third.
● Before the final stage began, the No. 00 Ford team was handed a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, sending Custer to the rear of the field.
● Custer weaved his way through the field and entered the top-10 by lap 102.
● During a caution period on lap 124, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and more adjustments. The Code 3 Associates pit crew’s quick stop advanced Custer to second place.
● Custer made the pass for the lead on lap 154, but tight-handling conditions sent him back to third.
● On lap 173, Custer came to the pits under green and the caution was called as he entered pit road. He pitted for two right-side tires in order to stay on the lead lap, then came back for two fresh left-side tires. He gained seven spots to restart in fourth place.
● After two more cautions were thrown, Custer restarted in fourth place and advanced to third before the race concluded.

Notes:               

● Custer earned his and Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste’s fifth pole award of the season.
● This marks Custer’s 21st top-10 of the season and second at Las Vegas.
● This marks Custer’s 11th top-five of the season and second at Las Vegas.
● Custer earned 16 bonus points in the DC Solar 300 at Las Vegas.
● Custer led once for a total of three laps.
● Eight cautions slowed the race for 40 laps.
● Only 16 of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Ross Chastain won the DC Solar 300 to score his first career Xfinity Series Victory, first of the season and first at Las Vegas. His margin of victory over second-place Justin Allgaier was 1.629 seconds. 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing With Biagi-DenBeste:  

“Our Code 3 Mustang was great. We had times today where we were the fastest car. We just couldn’t keep it there consistently. Strategy didn’t really fall our way when the caution came out. We had a pretty solid day and a car that could contend for the win. I’m looking forward to the playoffs. I think we can carry a lot of momentum into it and I think we will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. I don’t think you can really ask for much more. We compete for wins almost every weekend, it is just a matter of having it all fall into place. We will just keep trying to do what we do.”

Playoff Standings:         

1.     Justin Allgaier (2,039 points)
2.     Christopher Bell (2032 points, -7)
3.     Elliott Sadler (2,011 points, -28)
4.     Cole Custer (2,011 points, -28)
5.     Tyler Redick (2010 points, -29)
6.     Ross Chastain (2010 points, -29)
7.     Daniel Hemric (2,010 points, -29)
8.     Brandon Jones (2,006 points, -33)
9.     Matt Tifft (2,003 points, -36)
10.   Ryan Truex (2,003 points, -36)
11.   Austin Cindric (2,001 points, -38)
12.   Ryan Reed (2,000 points, -39)