COLE CUSTER – 2017 Watkins Glen NXS Race Report

Cole Custer Finishes 12th at Watkins Glen

Haas Automation Driver Battles in and Around Top-10

Date: August 5, 2017
Event: Zippo 200 at The Glen (Round 20 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45-mile road course)
Format: 82 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/42 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/12th (Running, completed 82 of 82 laps)
Point Standing: 6th (503 points, 229 out of first)

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Paul Menard of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

  • Started ninth, finished seventh. Earned four stage points.
  • Custer raced his Haas Automation Ford Mustang in the top-10 for the majority of Stage 1, noting loose-handling conditions.
  • At the conclusion of the Stage, crew chief Jeff Meendering radioed Custer to stay out of the pits.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):       

  • Started second, finished 16th.
  • During the first lap of Stage 2, Custer and teammate Kevin Harvick were involved in an accident resulting in minimal damage.
  • On lap 25, Custer pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel after telling Meendering he smelled smoke.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-82): 

  • Started 16th, finished 12th.
  • Custer made his way just outside of the top-10 before pitting on lap 50 for four tires and fuel.
  • On lap 71, Custer raced his Haas Automation Ford back into the top-10.
  • Meendering called Custer to the pits during a caution with six laps to go for four fresh tires and fuel.
  • He restarted in the 16th position before battling just outside of the top-10 at the conclusion of the race.

Notes:              

  • The Zippo 200 at The Glen was Custer’s first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at the 2.45-mile road course and his fourth-career start at Watkins Glen International.
  • Five cautions slowed the race for 15 laps.
  • 17 of the 40 cars finished on the lead lap.
  • Kyle Busch won the Zippo 200 to score his 90th career XFINITY Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Watkins Glen. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 1.049 of a second.

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

“We started out loose and got tighter as the run went on. When we were by ourselves we passed a lot of cars and had top-five lap times. We just got set back a little there. We were going to have a pretty good day, but had a terrible restart there at the end.”