Event: My Bariatric Solutions 300 (Round 6 of 33)
Date: April 8, 2017
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
Layout: 1.5-mile oval
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- Custer is currently 12th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings, 86 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.
- In six XFINITY Series starts and eight Camping World Truck Series starts since 2016, Custer has two top-five finishes, six top-10s and 10 top-15s at 1.5-mile tracks. His best Truck Series finish is third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his best XFINITY Series finish is fourth at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, both in 2016.
- Custer is an XFINITY Series rookie-of-the-year contender and has one “Rookie of the Race” award, earned at Las Vegas where he finished 11th. Custer’s best finish in the five races held this season is 10th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
- In 2016, Custer finished ninth and 14th, respectively, in his two Truck Series starts at Texas.
- Custer will be joined in Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Kevin Harvick, who has five wins in 19 XFINITY Series starts at Texas. This will be Harvick’s second of five XFINITY Series races scheduled for 2017.
- Just 40 miles east of Texas Motor Speedway sits Haas Factory Outlet – Dallas, a two-time recipient of Haas Automation’s “Best Service in the World” award. Known for its exceptional customer service, HFO – Dallas is a Haas Automation direct distributor, carrying replacement parts for next-day delivery with a fleet of fully-stocked service trucks, along with technicians who provide installation and ongoing service. Haas Automation, founded by SHR co-owner Gene Haas and the primary sponsor of the No. 00 Ford, is the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
What are your thoughts on racing at Texas Motor Speedway?
“I’m excited. It’s a new surface that no one has run on, so it’s going to be a new challenge. It evens the playing field a bit. I think our team has shown a lot of speed in the last couple of weeks, so I think we’ll have a strong Haas Automation Ford Mustang.”
Your best result at Texas is a ninth-place finish in the fall 2016 Truck Series race at Texas. Being at Stewart-Haas Racing and driving a new Haas Automation Ford Mustang, what are your expectations?
“Well, we easily had a top-five car in Fontana. If we could run in the top-five this weekend, I think it’ll be a huge thing for us. We’re still focusing on having solid days and trying to see if we can get some consistency going, but we’re looking forward to getting some good runs. With the resources we have from Ford and the support they’ve given us, we’re confident going into Texas that we can place well.”
This is your second of four races with teammate Kevin Harvick. What are your thoughts on having a teammate on track?
“It will be huge having Kevin. He’s helped me immensely in the past few weeks with notes to have and things I need to think about going into each race. We’ll have another car to bounce things off since it’s a new track and he’s probably going to figure the place out fast because he’s one of the best.”
Tony Stewart holds the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying lap record at Texas and won Cup Series races there in 2006 and 2011. Will you also look to him for advice?
“I always try to lean on Tony as much as I can. He’s been a huge help because he’s been at the track trying to give me advice, especially about communication. It’s been awesome having Tony around. He’s had a lot of success there, so I’m sure I’ll benefit from him.”
How will the new track surface affect the racing?
“I think everybody liked the old surface because it was so worn out, you could move around and tires were a big deal. This year, we’ll just have to figure out the track and try to see where we need to be and what we need to do. I’m sure it’s going to be an edgy track because of the new pavement. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m confident we can accomplish what we want.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What are your thoughts and expectations on racing at Texas Motor Speedway?
“So far, our intermediate car program is off to a great start. I’m looking forward to Texas because it’s a track that’s being repaved and they changed the banking, so no one really has any experience there. I feel like the playing field will be more level. Cole’s been getting up to speed on the new tracks he’s raced at, so I think we’re going to get our car dialed in faster than our competition will.”
With Kevin Harvick being on the track, as well, how will your strategy be different than other races?
“We’re going there with a few different style setups, so we’ll get a read on their setup and they’ll get a read on ours. Cole leans on Kevin pretty hard for driving and recommendations, so I think it’ll be good to compare the two setups.”