Cole Custer Finishes Seventh at Pocono
Haas Automation Driver Claims Third Consecutive Rookie of the Race Award
Date: June 10, 2017
Event: Pocono Green 250 (Round 12 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 100 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/25 laps/50 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/7th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (280 points, 129 out of first)
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):
- Started third, finished 27th.
- Custer endured a loose-handling racecar at the beginning of Stage 1, but his Haas Automation Ford Mustang swung to the tight side as the stage went on.
- Custer pitted under green on lap 22 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):
- Started first, finished third. Earned eight stage points.
- Custer led 14 laps and ran in the top-five throughout Stage 2.
- Pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 2.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 51-100):
- Started ninth, finished seventh.
- Custer fought a tight handling racecar throughout the final stage.
- On lap 62, Custer pitted under green for a quick, fuel-only stop.
- After a caution on lap 80, Custer opted not to pit to gain track position. He restarted in first place.
- Drivers with fresher tires were able to pass Custer, but the pit-strategy call allowed him to secure a solid top-10 finish.
- For the third consecutive race, Custer was the highest-finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie.
- The seventh-place result was Custer’s third consecutive top-10 finish.
- Custer has earned the most Rookie of the Race awards (five) this season.
- This was Custer’s seventh top-10 finish in 17 career XFINITY Series starts, his fifth top-10 of 2017 and his third top-10 at Pocono.
- Custer led a career-high 14 laps.
- Brad Keselowski won the Pocono 250 to score his 35th career XFINITY Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Justin Allgaier was .615 of a second.
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a really solid car. I thought Jeff (Meendering, crew chief) had a really good strategy and got us up there. I think me and whoever was behind me got our communication mixed up on that final restart, so we didn’t know how we were going to push each other going into turn one. We had a solid Haas Automation Ford Mustang and made a lot out of it. It was great to lead a few laps there too. This makes you feel like you deserve to be here. It reaffirms your confidence. I still need to try and win some races, so we’ll focus on that in the future.”