Cole Custer Finishes Sixth at Charlotte
Haas Automation Driver Advances to Second Round of Playoffs
Date: Oct. 7, 2017
Event: Drive for the Cure 300 (Round 29 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 13th/6th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: 5th (3,007 points, 19 points out of first – ADVANCED TO ROUND 2)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
- Cole Custer started 13th, finished ninth. Earned two bonus points.
- Piloted his Haas Automation Ford Mustang into the top-10 by lap 20.
- Noted a tight-handling condition, but managed to make a pass and gain one more position before the conclusion of the stage.
- Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments at the end of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
- Started 11th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
- Custer continued to fight a tight-handling condition at the beginning of the stage.
- Ran as high as seventh during Stage 2 until his car’s balance shifted to being loose.
- At the conclusion of the stage, pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
- Started eighth, finished sixth.
- After a caution on lap 141, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted in the 11th position.
- Custer drove to eighth place before a final caution on lap 160, where he pitted for four more tires and fuel to restart back in 11th position.
- With 40 laps to go, Custer powered his way through the field to finish just outside of the top-five.
- Custer was the highest finishing rookie in the Drive for the Cure 300. It was his eighth rookie of the race award this season.
- Custer has earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among XFINITY Series drivers this season.
- Custer earned his 16th top-10 of the 2017 season, his 18th top-10 in 34 career XFINITY Series starts and his third top-10 at Charlotte.
- Custer’s sixth-place finish was his fourth-consecutive top-10 this season.
- Due to inclement weather, qualifying for the Drive for the Cure 300 was canceled. The field was set by owner points.
- This was the final race in the first round of the playoffs. Custer advanced to the second round and is seeded fifth.
- There were eight caution periods for 43 laps in the Drive for the Cure 300.
- Alex Bowman won the Drive for the Cure 300 to score his first career XFINITY Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Sam Hornish Jr. was 1.390 seconds.
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a really good night for us. We got our car better. We didn’t have the track position that we wanted, so I think we were more of a third- or fourth-place car, but our Haas Automation Mustang was really solid tonight. I was happy with the improvements we made through the weekend, so I’m looking forward to the next round. It’s going to be a dogfight, that’s for sure. Everybody in this next round has a lot of speed. I think if we can win a race it’s going to be huge. It will be tough, but we just have to really be on our game and fire on all cylinders.”