Event: Pocono 350 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 140 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/55 laps/55 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/17th (Running, completed 140 of 140 laps)
Point Standing: 26th with 241 points, 340 out of first
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):
● Cole Custer started fifth and finished 10th to earn one bonus point.
● Four laps into the race, Custer was running third in the HaasTooling.com Mustang when the race was halted due to rain.
● Once the event resumed, Custer battled in the top-10 with a loose-handling Mustang.
● The rookie driver ended the stage in 10th and visited pit road for fuel and four tires.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-86):
● Custer started in 20th and finished 15th.
● On the lap-39 caution, Custer reported that his Mustang was handling a little bit better. He didn’t pit and restarted 12th.
● Under caution once again on lap 46, Custer pitted from 11th for fuel and adjustments to help with his loose condition. Restarted 26th.
● On lap 57, the 22-year-old reported his Mustang was starting to get tight while running 18th.
● By lap 70, Custer was back in the top-15. He pitted under caution from 14th on lap 76 for fuel, four tires and adjustments. Restarted 18th.
● During the stage break, the HaasTooling.com driver stayed on the track.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 87-140):
● Custer started 11th, finished 17th.
● “It’s starting to come to me,” Custer radioed on lap 111 from eighth about his Ford Mustang.
● The rookie driver made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 115 while running eighth for right-side tires and fuel. Rejoined the field in 25th.
● As the race continued green, Custer kept advancing his position on the track.
● Custer finished the race 17th in the HaasTooling.com Mustang.
● Custer was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 350 to score his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading fourth of the season and his record-tying sixth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was 3.068 seconds.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Pocono with a 52-point advantage over second-place Ryan Blaney.
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Thank you so much, guys. We got the car a lot better today. We definitely made gains and got the car better during the race. Well go get them next week.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 on Sunday, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.