COLE CUSTER – 2017 Iowa II Race Advance

Event:               U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol (Round 19 of 33)
Date:                 July 29, 2017
Location:          Iowa Speedway in Newton
Layout:             .875-mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest 

  • The U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol will mark Cole Custer’s 24th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Iowa Speedway in Newton. 
  • In Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Iowa five weeks ago, he was running seventh until a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 219. While Custer was on pit road, the caution came out, putting him one lap down in 24th with 20 laps to go. 
  • While the S. Cellular 250 will be Custer’s second XFINITY Series start at Iowa, it will be his ninth overall start at the .875-mile oval. Custer has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and four NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts at Iowa.
  • Custer scored his first career Pro Series East victory Aug. 2, 2013 at Iowa from the pole. At 15 years, 6 months and 10 days, he became the youngest winner in Pro Series history. In addition to breaking Dylan Kwasniewski’s record for youngest race winner by nearly six months, Custer also became the first driver to lead every lap (150) in the combination East/West race.
  • Custer’s best Truck Series finish at Iowa is second, earned in 2016. Custer finished .431 of a second behind race-winner William Byron, who he’s now competing with for XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year honors.
  • Custer has a win, a pole, four top-fives, six top-10s and has led 237 laps in his eight career starts at Iowa.
  • Custer’s best finish in the 19 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned in the 11th race of the year June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 10th top-10 and fourth top-five and it equaled his career-best finish in 23 career XFINITY Series starts.
  • Custer is second in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 65 points behind leader William Byron.
  • Custer is sixth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings, 230 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.
  • Custer has earned five Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.
  • Custer has been the highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular driver in four races this season – Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Dover, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
  • Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 19 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned in the seventh race of the year April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Custer has 11 top-10 starts and three top-five starts this season.
  • In 23 XFINITY Series starts, 42 Camping World Truck Series starts and 29 K&N Pro Series starts since 2015, Custer has five wins, six poles, 14 top-five finishes, 23 top-10s and 919 laps led at tracks currently on the NASCAR circuit that are approximately a mile in length or shorter.
  • Custer has earned three top-five finishes, eight top-10s and has led 29 laps so far in the 2017 XFINITY Series season.


Cole Custer, Driver Q&A


Do you feel as if you’ve got something to prove in the XFINITY Series at Iowa after bad luck plagued your weekend in June?

 “Yeah. Iowa is a track that I’ve had great success at, so I want to mirror that in the XFINITY Series. Our Haas Automation Ford Mustang ran really well there in practice and I think we’ve learned a lot there since going to New Hampshire and Iowa. I mean, we’ve had fast cars there in the past and the team has been exceeding expectations this season.”

What will it take to pull off your second win at Iowa?

We were just too tight in our first try at Iowa. Just getting the car to turn better and drive off the turns is the biggest thing. Then, being there at the end is always the most important part. I feel like I have a lot more confidence at the short tracks and we aren’t competing against Cup guys, so hopefully we can execute well this time and pull off a win. 

Describe the feeling of getting your first win and pole at Iowa Speedway while leading all 150 laps to become the youngest winner in Pro Series history? 

“It was definitely a day I’ll remember. I can’t explain how amazing it felt. Iowa is a special place for our Haas Automation race team. I feel like that win gave me a lot of confidence because it was my first in the K&N Series and I always look forward to coming back. I just love the track. The fans are awesome and it was always one of my favorite tracks growing up. I can’t believe I got to go there and go to victory lane.”


Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A


Despite bad luck at Iowa earlier in June, do you feel that the team had a solid game plan to bring the Haas Automation Mustang to victory lane? If not, what would you do differently?  

We had a really good car in practice the first Iowa race. We got a flat tire during our first qualifying run, which put us starting in the rear for the race. We started the race too tight and struggled to get ahead on our setup. Going back this weekend, we have a better understanding of how the track changes from practice to race. I don’t anticipate it to be as big of a swing this time because it is a day race, where the last race was run at night. Cole has a good track record in Iowa and I feel certain we are bringing back a better Haas Automation Ford Mustang than we had the previous race.