COLE CUSTER – 2017 Phoenix I Race Report

March 18th, 2017

Date:                 March 18, 2017
Event:               DC Solar 200 (Round 4 of 33)
Series:               NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location:          Phoenix International Raceway (Mile oval)
Format:             200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:      9th/21st (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
 Point Standing: 12th (78 points, 66 out of first)
 Race Winner:    Justin Allgaier of Junior Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

  • Started ninth, finished 18th.
  • Battled tight-handling car after the first 15 laps of Stage 1.
  • Team made major handling adjustments during caution between Stages 1 and 2.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):     

  • Started 23rd, finished 15th.
  • Before the stage began, NASCAR penalized Custer for driving through too many pit stalls on his stop and forced the No. 00 to restart at back of the field.
  • With improved handling, Custer gained eight spots during the stage, occasionally turning top-five lap times.

 Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):          

  • Started 15th, finished 21st.
  • Climbed to eighth with 14 laps remaining.
  • Made contact with Austin Dillon with 10 to go. During the caution, Dillon drove his damaged car into Custer’s car.
  • Custer pitted for repairs and restarted the race 26th with five laps remaining.

Notes:              

  • Custer tied his career-best NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying effort.
  • This was Custer’s 10th NASCAR XFINITY Series start.
  • 95-degree weather with temperatures exceeding 130 degrees inside racecars.

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

Tell us about the race and your take on the incident with Austin Dillon.“We had a great race leading up to that. We didn’t start out at all how we wanted to but, by the end, we were probably a fifth- to eighth-place car. I thought that was a really good sign for us. We had a really good Haas Automation Ford Mustang this weekend. The incident with Austin was 100-percent my fault. I got in there too deep, got really loose going in and couldn’t put any wheel into it. That was pretty much it. Something that won’t happen again. It’s unfortunate I cost us and the No. 2 car there.”