COLE CUSTER – 2017 Chicagoland NXS Race Report

September 16th, 2017

Cole Custer Finishes Seventh at Chicagoland

Haas Automation Driver Earns Eighth Seed to Start Playoffs

Date: Sept. 16, 2017
Event: TheHouse.com 300 (Round 26 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/7th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: 8th (2005 points, 20 points out of first – IN THE PLAYOFFS) 

Race Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

  • Cole Custer started fifth, finished third. Earned eight stage points.
  • Custer kept his No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang inside the top-five throughout Stage 1 and ran as high as third.
  • Custer radioed to crew chief Jeff Meendering that he was tight to the center and over the bumps in turns three and four.
  • At the conclusion of the stage, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He gained one position on pit road.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

  • Started second, finished second. Earned nine stage points.
  • Custer piloted his Haas Automation Ford Mustang into second place for the entirety of Stage 2.
  • Custer pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and more air pressure adjustments at the end of the stage.
  • During the race off pit road, Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 car, earned a speeding penalty, handing the lead to Custer.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

  • Started first, finished seventh.
  • Custer held the lead for the first 38 laps of the final stage.
  • During a lap-181 caution, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He restarted in the fourth position.
  • Custer was caught in traffic on the restart. With nowhere to go, he made contact with the rear of the No. 22 car of Ryan Blaney.
  • Custer’s Haas Automation Ford Mustang suffered light nose and side damage as result of the contact.
  • After pitting to assess and repair the damage during a caution on lap 190, Custer restarted in the 16th position and rallied to his 13th top-10 of 2017.

Notes:              

  • Custer led four times for 41 laps, the second-highest total in the race.
  • The 41 laps led were Custer’s highest single-race total in 31 career XFINITY Series starts.
  • Custer’s 17 stage points were his highest single-race total in 31 career XFINITY Series starts.
  • Custer was the highest finishing rookie and XFINITY Series regular in Stages 1-2.
  • Custer earned his 13th top-10 of 2017 and his 15th top-10 in 31 career XFINITY Series starts.
  • Custer will start the seven-race playoffs as the eighth seed among the 12 eligible drivers.
  • Five cautions slowed the race for 24 laps.
  • Justin Allgaier won TheHouse.com 300 to score his fifth career XFINITY Series victory, his second of the season and second at Chicagoland Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 1.772 seconds.

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

“I was happy with that today. That is the best speed we’ve had all year in the Haas Automation Mustang. It was really good and a huge momentum builder. That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a stock car, doing those crossover passes. I have respect for him (Kyle Larson) racing me clean there. That was a lot of fun. Erik (Jones) was just pushing it. I think he knew he was probably in a bad spot and tried to keep it in the gas and forced Blaney in the wall. I was right behind it and couldn’t go anywhere. That is how it goes, though.”

 

Playoff Standings:        

  1. William Byron (2,025 points)
  2. Justin Allgaier (2,023 points, -2)
  3. Elliott Sadler (2,020 points, -5)
  4. Daniel Hemric (2,009 points, -16)
  5. Brennan Poole (2,006 points, -19)
  6. Ryan Reed (2,005 points, -20)
  7. Jeremy Clements (2,005 points, -20)
  8. Cole Custer (2,005 points, -20)
  9. Blake Koch (2,005 points, -20)
  10. Matt Tifft (2,004 points, -21)
  11. Brendan Gaughan (2,003 points, -22)
  12. Michael Annett (2,001 points, -24)