COLE CUSTER – 2017 Kansas NXS Race Report

October 22nd, 2017

Cole Custer Finishes 19th at Kansas

Cut Tire Five Laps Short of Finish Dampens Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Driver’s Day

 Date: Oct. 21, 2017
Event: Kansas Lottery 300 (Round 30 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/19th (Running, completed 198 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: 8th (3,030 points, 36 points out of first)

 Race Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
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 seventh, finished 10th. Earned one bonus point.
  • Custer piloted his Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang to ninth place before noting loose handling conditions.
  • Handling became tighter as the stage wore on, but Custer was able to stay inside the top-10 before the stage ended.
  • At the conclusion of the stage, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):                

  • Started 12th, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
  • During a lap-77 caution, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments
  • Restarted in the 16th position and powered his Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang to another top-10 stage finish.
  • Crew chief Jeff Meendering radioed Custer to the pits at the conclusion of the stage for two fresh tires and fuel.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):     

  • Started fourth, finished 19th.
  • Custer ran as high as second on the initial restart, but fell to eighth as those with fresher tires proved quicker.
  • Pitted under caution on lap 137 for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. Restarted in seventh.
  • Custer ran inside the top-10 until lap 195 when he was forced to the pits due to a cut tire.
  • The Haas Automation/Code 3 Associates crew changed four tires under green and sent Custer back out to finish the race.

Notes:                       

  • Custer has earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers this season with 326 points.
  • Custer earned a total of five combined stage points.
  • The Kansas Lottery 300 was the first race of the second round of the playoffs. Two more races remain before the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
  • This was Custer’s 35th XFINITY Series start and his third at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
  • Four cautions slowed the race for 20 laps.
  • Christopher Bell won the Kansas Lottery 300 to score his first career XFINITY Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Tyler Reddick was 2.670 seconds.

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

“We had a solid Haas Automation Ford Mustang. We fought hard to keep it in the top-10 and earned good stage points. There was nothing we could do at the end of the race because we ran over something late that crippled the right front. It’s just how it goes. There was a big cut in the tire and we had to pit. We ran well at Texas, so I still think we have a good shot at making it into the final four.”