COLE CUSTER – 2017 Phoenix II Race Report

Cole Custer Seventh at Phoenix

Haas Automation Driver Earns 18th Top-10 Finish

Date: Nov. 11, 2017
Event: Ticket Galaxy 200 (Round 32 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Phoenix Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/7th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: 5th with 2,228 points

Race Winner: William Byron of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

  • Cole Custer started third, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
  • Custer ran in the top-10 for the entirety of the Stage.
  • He said the Haas Automation Ford’s balance improved as the stage wore on, but could use an adjustment to become tighter.
  • He pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):     

  • Started fifth, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
  • Custer battled a loose-handling condition at the beginning of Stage 2.
  • He continued to run inside the top-10 for the duration of the stage.
  • At the conclusion of the stage, Custer gained three spots after a pit stop for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):          

  • Started fourth, finished seventh.
  • Custer noted loose-handling conditions late in the run causing him to fall to the eighth position.
  • During a lap-180 caution, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He gained two positions to restart sixth.
  • Custer piloted his Haas Automation Ford Mustang to fifth place, putting him above the cutoff for the Championship Four.
  • During the closing laps, Custer was caught pushing him to the seventh position and below the cutoff.

Notes:              

  • Custer was eliminated from the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs. He finished in fifth place, just four points below the cutoff for the Championship Four.
  • This marks Custer’s 18th top-10 of the 2017 season, his 20th top-10 in 36 XFINITY Series starts and his first top-10 at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Custer earned eight combined stage points.
  • This was Custer’s 36th NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Five cautions slowed the race for 27 laps.
  • William Byron won the Ticket Galaxy 200 to score his fourth career XFINITY Series victory, fourth of the season and first at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was .960 seconds.

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

“We fought hard all day and did all we could to compete for a spot in the Championship Four. We have had fast Haas Automation Mustangs all year and just ran into bad luck in the second round of the playoffs. We would be in the final round if it weren’t for that bad luck. For a first-year team, rookie driver and rookie crew chief we competed at a high level. A huge thanks to everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, Haas Automation, Ford Performance, Code 3 and everyone who has supported us this season. I’m sure we’ll come back next year stronger.”