COLE CUSTER – 2020 All-Star Race Report

Event:  NASCAR All-Star Race (non-points event)
Series:  NASCAR Cup Series
Location:  Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Format:  140 laps, broken into four stages (55 laps/35 laps/35 laps/15 laps)
Start/Finish:  8th/16th (Running, completed 140 of 140 laps)

Note I:  The NASCAR All-Star Race was comprised of drivers who won a points-paying race in 2019 or 2020, fulltime drivers who have previously won the All-Star Race, fulltime drivers who have won a NASCAR Cup Series championship, and drivers who advanced from the All-Star Open.

Race Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 3 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

● Cole Custer started eighth and finished 17th.
● Starting on the outside lane in eighth proved to be a challenge during the opening laps as Custer lost a number of positions. He was in 18th place when caution came out for a single car accident on lap six. He reported that the No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Autodesk Fusion was handling on the loose side getting into the turns, but tight in the center.
● Custer settled into a comfortable pace, competing in 17th place. He reported on lap 35 that the car’s handling had become too loose.
● The rookie driver finished the stage in 17th place. He reported that he was unable to get into or exit the corners due to the loose-handling condition. The team made a number of changes, adjusting the chassis and air pressure, changing four tires and adding fuel to the No. 41 Fusion. He lined up 16th to start Stage 2.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-90):

● Custer started in 16th and finished 16th.
● It didn’t take long for the caution to wave in Stage 2 with the No. 6 car spinning and slowing the pace during the first lap of green-flag racing. Custer was in 14th place and elected to drop to the inside lane for the restart.
● Despite the number of adjustments the team made during the break, the loose-handling condition persisted on the No. 41 Fusion.
● The California native was in 16th place when Stage 2 concluded. He reported that the splitter on the No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Autodesk Fusion was fine but he needed more grip to be aggressive.
● During the Stage break, the team took another big swing at the handling – pulling packer, adjusting the chassis, changing four tires and adding fuel. Custer lined up 17th to start Stage 3.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 91-125):

● Custer started 17th and finished 15th.
● The 22-year-old quietly logged laps and patiently picked off a couple of spots, positioning the No. 41 Fusion in 15th place with 10 laps to go in Stage 3.
● Custer maintained 15th place to the conclusion of Stage 3. He noted that the car started well but lacked rotation in the center of the turns as the run continued. He also said that he would prefer the car to stay on the tight side. The team changed four tires and added fuel during the break.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 126-140):

● Custer started 17th and finished 16th.
● The California-native found himself in a tight battle with veteran drivers Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman to start the final stage. He was finally able to break loose and was in 16th place with five laps to go.
● Custer was unable to make up any more positions and finished his first All-Star Race in 16th place.

Notes:

●  This was Custer’s first appearance in the All-Star Race.
●  Chase Elliott won the All-Star Race with a .418 of a second margin of victory over runner-up Kyle Busch.
●  The All-Star Race featured six lead changes among four different drivers. Twenty drivers comprised the field.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Autodesk Fusion 360 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I am pretty pumped that I got to run my first All-Star Race. It wasn’t the night that we wanted though for our Haastooling.com/Autodesk Fusion. We couldn’t get a handle on it. The track seemed to change since the spring race. We will move on to Texas.”

Next Up:

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to points-paying racing on Sunday, July 19 with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race gets underway at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.