NASCAR XFINITY Series Overview
Event: Pocono Green 250 (Round 12 of 33)
Date: June 10, 2017
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway
Layout: 2.5-mile triangle
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- The Pocono Green 250 will mark Cole Custer’s 16th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his first XFINITY Series start at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
- Custer is looking to be the highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular and winner of the Rookie of the Race award for the third race in a row in the Pocono Green 250. He comes into Pocono fresh of a fourth-place finish last Saturday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, which equaled his career-best XFINITY Series finish. It was his sixth top-10 and third top-five finish in 16 career XFINITY Series starts. Custer has earned four top-10s and two top-fives in the 2017 XFINITY series season.
- Despite the Pocono Green 250 being Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Pocono, he is no stranger to victory lane at the 2.5-mile triangle. He won the 2015 ARCA race at the “Tricky Triangle” after leading the final 18 laps.
- In three combined starts at Pocono – one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two in the ARCA Series – Custer has one win, two top-five finishes and 18 laps led.
- Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 18 points behind leader William Byron and six points behind second-place Daniel Hemric.
- Custer is tied with Byron for the most Rookie of the Race awards with four this season. Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each respective track.
- Custer is 10th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings, 133 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.
- Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 11 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned in the seventh race of the season April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Custer has five top-10 starts and two top-five starts this season.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
What was it like to get an ARCA Series win at Pocono in 2015?
“It’s awesome to win at Pocono because it’s such a unique track. Everybody wants to win there because of the history behind it and how unique it is. Winning there in 2015 definitely gives me some confidence going into the weekend.”
What is so tricky about the “Tricky Triangle?”
“It’s tough to figure out those three turns. A lot of times you’ll be better on one end than the other. It’s a kind of a tough track because you’re carrying so much speed going into a couple of the corners and they’re pretty much dead flat. You have to figure out how to use your brakes and max your speed going through those corners without sliding up the track. It’s just tough to figure out the flat corners.”
What are your expectations for the Pocono Green 250?
“Well, our strong suit this year has been the larger tracks. Although I’ve run well there before, I wouldn’t say it’s my absolute best track, but I think our Haas Automation team has been putting together great Ford Mustangs at these larger tracks. I think we’ll have another fast Haas Automation Ford this weekend.”
You’re competing for your third consecutive highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular driver and rookie awards. What are your thoughts on racing with regular Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers each week?
“I think we need to race against the Cup drivers because it just makes us better. You need them around to learn from. I think the one thing they did that’s really smart is to limit their races. Limiting races is probably the best thing they can do because it helps showcase the XFINITY guys a little more. I think they’re on the right track with that.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What are your thoughts on racing at Pocono, where Custer has an ARCA Series win?
“Pocono is a very unique track with its three corners. Turn one is similar to an intermediate style track, turn two is similar to a road course and turn three is a long, sweeping flat track that would be more like an Indy setup. Unfortunately, you can’t have three different setups for each corner, so you have to make that compromise between all of them. It definitely makes that track hard to set up for.”