COLE CUSTER – 2017 Texas I Race Report

Date: April 8, 2017
Event: My Bariatric Solutions 300 (Round 6 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: 6th/5th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 12th (118 points, 107 out of first)
Race Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: William Byron of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

  •  Started 6th, finished 13th.
  • Custer noted his car was free on entry and tight in the center and exit of Turns 1 and 2.
  • The Haas Automation driver turned top-four lap speeds just before the conclusion of Stage 1.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):       

  •  Started 4th, finished 15th.
  • Custer squeezed his way through an accident untouched on lap 67 and restarted in the 10th position after opting not to pit.
  • At the conclusion of Stage 2, Custer pitted for four fresh tires and adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

  •  Started 6th, finished 5th.
  • On lap 148, Custer opted to pit to take four more tires and came off of pit road in the ninth position.
  • Custer was able to find clean air in the lower groove enabling him to race to a top-five finish.
  • The Haas Automation driver ran as high as second during the final stage.

Notes:              

  • This marks Custer’s first top-five and season-best finish at Stewart-Haas Racing.
  • Custer was the highest finishing rookie, earning him his second Sunoco Rookie of the Race award this season.
  • His fifth-place finish was his second-best XFINITY Series career finish.
  • Custer’s teammate, Kevin Harvick finished in third place.

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

How do you feel about your season-best performance at Texas Motor Speedway?
“We had an awesome Haas Automation Ford Mustang, we just had to buy our time. We kept getting stuck on the outside on the restarts and had to wait and wait until we got track position on the bottom. We had a really strong run. I can’t thank everybody enough who made this happen. I feel like I am getting more and more comfortable as I get experience and used to racing everybody. We are making strides, both me and the team.”

What kind of momentum will this give you going forward?
“I think it will be really important for us. We had pretty solid cars the last couple weeks and even at Atlanta we had a good car. We just haven’t been able to finish well until today. It was me making mistakes and just having random things happen. If we can keep these solid runs going we will work our way back up in the points. I feel like we can do this. We have had fast cars the last couple of weeks. We will just keep plugging away at it.”

How was it running with the Cup guys out there?
“You definitely learn a lot from them. It makes me want to push myself more. I have known we’ve had pretty fast cars and could compete with them, so I wasn’t overly shocked that we were up there. It was definitely a really good run that we needed with what has happened over the last couple of weeks.”