COLE CUSTER – 2018 New Hampshire Race Report

July 21st, 2018

Event: Lakes Region 200 (Round 18 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval )
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/9th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 4th with 637 points

Race Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

● Custer started fourth, finished seventh and earned four bonus points.
● Due to a penalty from the pole sitter, Custer started the race in the third position.
● He noted loose-handling conditions that caused him to fall to seventh place after seven laps.
● Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments at the end of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):

● Custer started seventh, finished 13th.
● Custer noted that his previous loose-handling conditions were shifting to become tighter.
● After a lap-79 caution, Custer pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and more adjustments.
● He restarted 13th and piloted his car in that position until the end of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

● Custer started third, finished ninth.
● Custer ran as high as second place in the final stage.
● Due to handling issues, Custer fell outside the top-five.
● He pitted under green-flag conditions on lap 163 for four tires and fuel.
● After a final caution on lap 178, he restarted in eighth place and ran inside the top-10 before the checkered flag waved.

Notes:               

● This marks Custer’s 14th top-10 of the season and second at New Hampshire.
● Seven cautions slowed the race for 33 laps.
● Only 18 of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Christopher Bell won the Lakes Region 200 to score his third career Xfinity Series victory, third of the season and first at New Hampshire. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was .416 of a second.

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

“We fought it all day. We weren’t the best on the short run or the long run, so it was a struggle. We did whatever we could to keep track position and we did a good job there. We’ll try and make it better, but this is definitely not our strong suit.”