COLE CUSTER – 2017 Texas II Race Report

November 5th, 2017

Cole Custer Fifth at Texas

Haas Automation Driver Earns Second-Straight Top-Five at Texas

Date: Nov. 4, 2017
Event: O’ Reilly Auto Parts 300 (Round 31 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 2nd/5th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Playoff Point Standings: 6th (3,066 points, 37 points out of first / 13 points from cutoff)

Race Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

  • Cole Custer started second, finished 29th.
  • Custer battled for second in the opening laps until a loose-handling car dropped him to the middle of the field.
  • Custer brought the Haas Automation Ford Mustang to the pits where the crew found a flat right-rear tire was the cause of the issue.
  • At the conclusion of the stage, Custer opted not to pit to rejoin the lead lap.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

  • Started 29th, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
  • On lap 57 Custer pitted during a caution while remaining on the lead lap.
  • Custer rejoined the top-10 on lap 81 – a lap before another caution.
  • He stayed on the track in seventh and held the position the remainder of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

  • Started 11th, finished fifth.
  • Custer ran just outside of the top-five before a lap-125 caution when he pitted for four tires and fuel.
  • He restarted in the eighth position and made his way into the top-five on lap 147.
  • Custer pitted for fuel only under green on lap 186.
  • He rejoined the race in seventh and drove to fifth before the checkered flag.

Notes:              

  • Custer’s second-place qualifying effort was his career-best start in 36 NASCAR XFINITY Series attempts.
  • Custer was the highest finishing rookie. He earned his ninth rookie of the race award this season.
  • Custer has earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among XFINITY Series drivers this season.
  • This marks Custer’s sixth top-five of the 2017 season, his seventh top-five in 36 XFINITY Series starts and his second top-five at Texas Motor Speedway.
  • The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 was the first race of the second round of playoffs. One more race remains before the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
  • This was Custer’s 36th NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
  • Seven cautions slowed the race for 33 laps.
  • Erik Jones won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 to score his ninth career XFINITY Series victory, third of the season and third at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was 1.018 seconds.

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

“We started the race with a flat and did all we could do to salvage a good day out of it. We have had two pretty good Haas Automation Ford Mustangs, but have just had a flat tire in both of the past two races. It is what it is for us. I think there is no reason why we can’t make that up in Phoenix.”​