COLE CUSTER – 2018 Phoenix I Race Report

March 10th, 2018

Event: DC Solar 200 (Round 4 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Serie
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/8th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 11th with 100 points

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

  • Cole Custer started third, finished 11th.
  • Due to a jack bolt malfunction before the race, Custer was demoted to the rear of the field after the team replaced the broken part for the start of today’s race.
  • Custer piloted the Haas Automation Ford to the top-20 in just 13 laps and battled just outside the top-10 before the stage ended.
  • At the conclusion of the stage, inclement weather caused red-flag conditions for one hour and 34 minutes.
  • When the red flag was raised, Custer pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct his loose-handling racecar.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):

  • Custer started 12th, finished third to earn eight bonus points.
  • After a solid restart, Custer built momentum and powered his Haas Automation Ford into the top-five on lap 62.
  • On lap 83, the second red flag of the event was raised due to rain.
  • When racing continued, Custer restarted in the third spot and maintained the position during the one-lap shootout.
  • Custer pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of Stage 2. Thirteen other cars did not pit at the end of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

  • Custer started 15th, finished eighth.
  • He re-entered the top-10 on lap 110.
  • Custer pitted on lap 166 from the seventh position for four tires and fuel.
  • After green-flag pit stops cycled through, he was scored in the eighth position where he ran until the race concluded.

Notes:              

  • This was Custer’s third NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
  • Today’s event was Custer’s second Xfinity Series top-10 at Phoenix and second top-10 of the season.
  • Custer earned eight bonus points in the DC Solar 200.
  • Only eight of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
  • Four cautions slowed the race for 24 laps.
  • Brad Keselowski won the DC Solar 200 to score his 37th career Xfinity Series victory, first of the season and second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Justin Allgaier was 0.530 seconds.

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

“It was a solid day for our Haas Automation Mustang team. The guys brought me a really good car, we just weren’t able to get the track position that we needed at the front there. Another top-10 finish though, so that is something to be proud of. Everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing is working hard and I think it is showing. We are getting closer and closer.”