Event: Atlanta 250 (Round 2 of 33)
Date: Feb. 24, 2018
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Layout: 1.54-mile oval
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
- The Atlanta 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is the first of 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks on the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule.
- Custer has competed in two career races at Atlanta, including one last year in the Xfinity Series and one in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Custer finished 10th in the Xfinity Series start and 17th in his Truck Series start.
- Custer’s last start at a 1.5-mile track was Homestead-Miami Speedway, which ended in a dominating victory by 15.405 seconds while also sweeping both stage wins to earn a perfect driver rating of 150. It was Custer’s first Xfinity Series win.
- Custer earned four top-five finishes in the Xfinity Series last season at 1.5-mile tracks – April 8 and Nov. 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (fifth each time), Sept. 23 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (fifth) and Nov. 18 at Homestead (first). He also finished in the top-10 at three other venues – March 4 at Atlanta (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).
- In 2017, Custer led the Xfinity Series with 422 points at mile-and-a-half tracks.
- During last weekend’s season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Custer started 14th in his Haas Automation Ford Mustang and battled through 12 caution periods to finish 14th. He earned 24 playoff points.
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
What makes you so dominant at the 1.5-mile tracks?
“I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to the 1.5-mile tracks because those were our strong suits last year. I’m fairly confident racing at Atlanta, too. We ran well there last year and I learned a ton from Kevin Harvick so, hopefully, the second time back will be even better. Atlanta was our very first 1.5-mile track we ran in the Xfinity Series, too. I can’t wait to see what speed we will bring our second time around.”
What are some characteristics of Atlanta that are appealing to your race style?
“Atlanta is awesome because of how much grip you start out with and how fast you lose it. And once you lose it, it’s fun to slip and slide out there. The whole weekend, you’re just going to be trying to keep the tires in good shape. It’s extremely fun for the drivers since we get to slip around a ton. One of our biggest goals is to just have a solid race. We’re looking to execute our plan and have a fast Haas Automation Mustang to kick off our 2018 intermediate-track program.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What car is the Haas Automation Ford team bringing to Atlanta?
“We are running Chassis No. 1045 at Atlanta. We ran this car several times last season – most recently at Texas in November, and Cole finished in fifth place. We are definitely looking forward to getting back to an intermediate track and picking up where we left off last season.”