Event: Irish Hills 250 (Round 13 of 33)
Date: June 17, 2017
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn
Layout: 2-mile oval
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- The Irish Hills 250 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn will mark Cole Custer’s 18th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Michigan.
- Custer doesn’t have an XFINITY Series start at Michigan but he does have a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the 2-mile oval. Custer started 18th in the Truck Series race last August and drove his way toward the front of the 31-truck field to lead twice for a total of 18 laps. But an accident less than 20 laps short of the finish ended Custer’s strong run. He finished 22nd.
- Custer is striving to be the highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular and winner of the Rookie of the Race award for the fourth race in a row in the Irish Hills 250. He comes into Michigan fresh off a seventh-place finish last Saturday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. It was his seventh top-10 finish in 17 career XFINITY Series starts.
- Custer’s best finish in the 12 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned in the 11th event June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his fifth top-10 and second top-five of the season.
- Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 11 points behind leader William Byron and three points behind second-place Daniel Hemric.
- Custer has earned the most Rookie of the Race awards (five) this season. Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each respective track.
- Custer is ninth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings, 129 points behind series leader Justin Allgaier.
- Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 12 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned in the seventh race of the season April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and the 12th race of the season June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Custer has eight top-10 starts and three top-five starts this season.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
What is it like getting around a track like Michigan?
“Michigan is just pretty much fast. It’s one of the fastest tracks we go to all year and you’re racing on some fairly new pavement, so you’re pretty much trying to find clean air and searching for ways to keep your speed up. It’s just a big momentum race.”
Do you feel like you’ve shaken the bad luck and are on a steady path to consistent runs?
“Well, we have a 20-week stretch here. Whenever you have days like Dover and Pocono, when things are going our way between setup and handling and we still pull out a great finish, that’s what you kind of want to see. Hopefully, we can keep having these consistent runs and stay away from the bad luck in this long stretch.”
Are you a fan of two-mile tracks?
“We ran well at Fontana this season, but it’s a bit different because California is so worn out compared to Michigan. I think if we unload a Haas Automation Ford Mustang as well as we did at Fontana and stay out of trouble, we’ll be in good shape.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What are your thoughts on racing at Michigan?
“I always enjoy going to Michigan because it’s kind of where I grew up as a kid. It’s a big, wide track and there are a lot of speedway elements to it where they draft a lot. You’re able to pass and, when you’re setting up the car, you have to keep the speed in mind and keep as much drag out of the car as possible. We had a good run going in California, so we’re confident in the car we have going into the weekend.”