Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (Round 31 of 33)
Date: Nov. 4, 2017
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
Layout: 1.5-mile oval
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 is the fifth of seven races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs and the second race in the second playoff round, which consists of eight drivers. Four drivers will be eliminated at the conclusion of the three-race round, narrowing the field to a quartet of drivers who will compete in a winner-take-all championship finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- Cole Custer is eighth in the XFINITY Series playoffs with 3,030 points, 36 behind series leader William Byron and eight behind fourth-place Brennan Poole.
- Texas Motor Speedway is the 10th of 11 1.5-mile tracks on the 2017 XFINITY Series schedule. Custer leads the 2017 XFINITY Series in three statistical categories at 1.5-mile tracks this season – points scored (326), average finish (9.0) and laps led (90).
- In 13 XFINITY Series starts and nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at 1.5-mile ovals, Custer has four top-five finishes and 12 top-10s.
- Custer has earned two top-fives in the XFNITY Series this season at 1.5-mile tracks – April 8 at Texas (fifth) and Sept. 23 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (fifth) – and finished in the top-10 at three other venues – March 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (10th), May 27 and Oct. 7 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (seventh and sixth, respectively) and Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (seventh).
- Custer’s best finish in the 30 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned in the 11th race of the year June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The result equaled Custer’s best career XFINITY Series finish, which he earned in his series debut in May 2016 at Charlotte.
- Custer has six top-fives and 18 top-10s in 35 career XFINITY Series starts.
- At 19 years and 9 months of age, Custer is the youngest driver in the playoffs.
- Custer’s best qualifying effort in the 30 XFINITY Series races run this season is third, earned three times – April 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, June 10 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Sept. 23 at Kentucky. Custer has 22 top-10 starts and nine top-five starts this season.
- Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 56 points behind leader Byron and 15 points behind second-place Daniel Hemric. Custer has earned eight Rookie of the Race awards this season, three having come at 1.5-mile tracks (fifth at Texas, 11th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and sixth at Charlotte). Rookie of the Race awards are given to the highest-finishing rookie.
- The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 will mark Custer’s 36th career XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Texas.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
What are your expectations heading to Texas Motor Speedway?
“I really think Texas is going to be good to us this weekend. We were strong there earlier in the year and we learned a ton since then. We should come back even better than we were before and put ourselves back where we need to be in the playoff standings.”
Two weekends ago at Kansas Speedway, you ran as high as second until a cut tire ended your bid with five laps to go. Is luck as important as running well?
“You do all you can to stay clean at the end and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about it. As long as we run like we have been and don’t find any bad luck like we did in Kansas, we’ll be fine. I’d say you need a healthy amount of luck on your side. Anything can happen.”
What is different about Texas than all of the other 1.5-mile tracks?
“Texas is unique because there are two different corners. It’s a tough one to get a hold of because of the repave, but it’s a really fast track and if we can dial the Haas Automation Ford Mustang in during practice, we’ll have a solid weekend.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
Describe your thoughts heading to Texas Motor Speedway.
“We are looking forward to Texas after having a good run at that track early in the season. We are bringing back the same car, Chassis No. 1045. After cutting down a tire at the end of the race at Kansas, this weekend should be a good opportunity to get ourselves back in the points race.”