Custer Clinches Championship 4 Spot With Texas Win

Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Texas Motor Speedway)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Page 1



1st Cole Custer

3rd Austin Cindric

13th Ty Majeski

29th Ryan Reed


COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Autodesk Ford Mustang — Finished 1st

“I can’t believe it. The 1 is the best pusher in the series and I hated that I didn’t have him behind me. We did all we could. I drove it in deeper than I have all weekend and it worked out. I am pumped for Autodesk, their first time on the car. Gene Haas, I wouldn’t be here without him and Haas Automation. I am pumped. We are going to Homestead and I think we have a great shot of winning.”


YOU WON THAT RACE LAST YEAR. YOU PUNCHED YOUR TICKET, HOW DOES THAT FEEL? “We haven’t won all year but we have been so close. It starts to frustrate you. We kept going and this is a perfect time to do it. Thank you to all the fans. Texas is always a great place to come. Thank you guys.”


JEFF MEENDERING, crew chief, No. 00 Autodesk Ford Mustang — YOU TOOK SOME CHANCES OUT THERE: “Yeah, we did. It was a nerve wracking race for sure but Cole did an awesome job and our guys did a great job on the car. It is great to have a new sponsor on and get those guys to victory lane and get our team to Homestead.”


HOW CLOSE WERE YOU ON FUEL? “Well, all those cautions got us about seven laps but you always worry about the pickup on the restarts.”


AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — Finished 3rd

“After everything that happened today this is great. I would have just been happy to finish the thing not in the fence. Every opportunity to be in the middle of something it seemed we were there. It is just perseverance by everyone. The guys over the wall did an amazing job getting the right front fender fixed. We almost had a tire go down because of it. I am really thankful to still be in the playoffs and still have a shot to win a race. We were a few bumps and bangs away from really benefiting from that one. I was yelling all the way down the backstretch for something to happen. I am thankful to everyone at Team Penske for really pushing hard this weekend. Obviously it is no doubt that these guys are the best in the business. To be able to unload a backup car and have a top-three finish is unheard of. I am pumped. I am ready to go to Phoenix and go put on a show and have a little fun.”


RYAN REED, No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang — Finished 29th

“We just struggled all day. We tried a lot of stuff and it just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. I am really proud of the effort of the guys for sticking with it. All the 16 team guys. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to work hard and at least try to go for successful runs. Unfortunately the parts and pieces just weren’t there this evening.”


Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Texas Motor Speedway)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Page 2




AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — WALK US THROUGH THAT INCIDENT WITH CHRISTOPHER BELL AND YOU ARE IN A MUST WIN SITUATION NEXT WEEKEND AT PHOENIX. WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH?  “I have been in a must-win position since Kansas. For me that hasn’t changed. I was the car stuck on the bottom with one guy all over my tail and one guy all over my door. I moved up two inches and those were the two inches that the 20 was off my door. I think it is just a racing incident. I don’t think it was anything intentional. We were just racing hard. I knew he was going to be stuck on the top and I wanted to be on the bottom. I don’t see anything further than that. That is his decision to race hard. He was in a points position and I was in a must win position. I don’t’ think there was anything to be done different there. I am just glad we didn’t get caught up in it.”


IS IT CHECKERS OR WRECKERS NEXT WEEKEND AT PHOENIX? “I don’t think it is checkers or wreckers. We still have an owners championship to think about. A lot of people are invested into this 22 car and a lot of success early on in the year. I definitely have that in the back of my mind every lap I do and the crew does as well. We are fighting for two things but a win definitely helps.”


YOU HAD DAMAGE, DID IT AFFECT THE SPEED OF YOUR CAR? “I had damage from lap one of the race when they had that big stack up and I nursed that damage. That damage got worse and then our contact with the 20 later made that worse. We were basically damaged the whole day. I honestly think we had a race winning car and I think that shows in the final stint. That is a testament to the team and the work those guys did over the wall putting braces in the car and get the bear bond in the right spots to not really slow us down. I knew I was compromising a few circumstances but overall I think we had an amazing Ford Mustang today and it was just track position. I wasn’t able to capitalize on that having to come from the back on nearly every restart. It was a lot of fun in the end now that I look back on it and say that I survived.”


Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Texas Motor Speedway)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Page 3




JEFF MEENDERING, crew chief, No. 00 Autodesk Ford Mustang — DO YOU GET ANY HELP FROM YOUR CUP TEAMS IN TERMS OF TECHNOLOGY AND SETTING UP THESE CARS? “We use as much information as we can from them. Obviously the cars are drastically different and the rules package is different but there are some things we can use. Tire information and stuff like that. We use as much as we can.”


ARE YOU PLANNING TO TURN AROUND THIS CAR FOR HOMESTEAD? “We are going to turn it around but it will be our backup car. We will have a very good backup car. We have a car we have designated for Homestead that we are really happy with. It ran this year at Vegas.”


WHAT CAME TOGETHER TODAY FOR COLE AND YOU GUYS TO GET THE WIN? “He just drove his butt off on that last restart, honestly. He did good all day long. He stayed agressive. We were in a little bit of a points situation. We were down a little bit and knew we had to be aggressive. He knew he had to be aggressive. We have always been on the conservative side and tried to points race our way in but we didn’t have that luxury this time. He stepped up and did a great job and stayed aggressive. I think we can do that the rest of the year now. I am looking forward to Phoenix now for sure.”


JOE CUSTER, Stewart-Haas Racing — “I think it has been a question all year of getting wins. That is what our owners want and our sponsors want. As a group, we aren’t completely satisfied with the year, although when you look at it we had several second place races and were in position to win races it just didn’t happen. That is what this series is all about for Stewart-Haas Racing. Going to that next level and finding the little things. I think having the pressure on a couple weeks ago just brought everybody’s A-game and you saw it in the garage and will see it next week. I think it is was a pretty good show.”


JEFF MEENDERING CONTINUED — WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST HOPE FOR HOMESTEAD, YOUR SUCCESS THERE LAST YEAR OR YOUR SECOND HALF RESURGENCE THIS YEAR? “I think all of the above. We went to Homestead last year and we had a rookie test we could use and Homestead was the track that we used and we learned a lot at that test. With the different body change this year there has been a little bit of a learning curve with that but we have really figured it out. Our engineers have done a great job. We figured out what changes we needed to make to the cars to achieve the same balance with the new body. I have a lot of confidence going into Homestead. I feel like we have gotten our cars all the way back to where they were last year which is tough because you don’t have the advantage of a body that you can build and get it the shape you want it. It is basically you have a body and you put it on there and you have to work around it. I feel we have done a really good job working around that and getting back to where we were.”


COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Autodesk Ford Mustang — ON THAT LAST RESTART WHEN REDDICK GOT AWAY, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD ENOUGH TIME TO GET BACK TO HIM? “No, I thought it was going to be tough. I knew I had to make it happen in turns one and two because it was just hard to pass in three and four all day. I drove it into turn one probably five car lengths deeper than I had all day and it worked out somehow. I was able to get him loose on his bumper and get to his inside and we were side drafting on the back stretch and got together and it worked out in our favor I guess.”


Ford Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Texas Motor Speedway)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Page 4


JEFF MEENDERING CONTINUED — CAN YOU SPEAK TO HOW COLE HAS EVOLVED AND MATURED OVER THE TWO YEARS YOU HAVE WORKED WITH HIM? “Yeah, he has done a great job. You can see him getting better and better every week for sure. I think we are to a point now — last year we were obviously really good at Homestead but I feel like going into Homestead our team and us are working together at a championship caliber level. I feel like we are getting to that point now for sure. The whole team has grown along with Cole and Cole is doing a great job. He is very solid now. We had our backs up against the wall a little coming into this race and he did an awesome job stepping up. That is what we had to do and he knew that is what he had to do. I think we have a lot of confidence now for the end of the season. I am looking forward to that for sure.”


COLE CUSTER CONTINUED — YOU WERE PRETTY ADAMANT ON THE TRACK AFTER THE RACE THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN AT HOMESTEAD. IS IT YOUR SUCCESS THERE LAST YEAR THAT GIVES YOU YOUR CONFIDENCE OR IS IT HOW MUCH YOU GUYS HAVE GOTTEN STRONGER THE SECOND HALF OF THIS SEASON? “I think we have some confidence going in there but also I think it is just a point of us having to execute well and we have a really good baseline to go off of from last year. Things will change this year. There is a different tire and different body rules. The track will be the same. We need to stay on our game to make sure it is good but I think we have the best baseline out there and we will do our jobs to make sure it is right and I will make sure to do my job to make sure I am driving the car right.”


HOW DID YOU GET THIS WIN TODAY? WHAT HAPPENED TODAY TO WHERE TODAY WAS THE DAY WHERE BEFORE IT HAD NOT HAPPENED? DID YOU SEE ANYTHING OUT OF YOURSELF THAT WAS DIFFERENT? “It is such a combination of things, honestly. I think that is one of the things that gets really frustrating. We had a fairly long winless streak and you start to question everything you are doing and if you are doing it right or if you should change something. I think there are some things I probably could have done different to win a couple more races but I think today just kind of worked out and I was put in this situation to make something happen and it worked out. I think you still have to make sure when you are in those situations that you do everything right but you have to put yourself in those situations in the first place.”


JEFF MEENDERING CONTINUED — ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN NEXT WEEK BUT RIGHT NOW THE TWO WINNINGEST DRIVERS THIS SEASON ARE OUTSIDE THE CUTOFF LINE. HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THAT? HOW CAREFUL WILL YOU BE AROUND THOSE GUYS? “I don’t know. My thought of going into Phoenix is the same way we look at every week. We are just going there to win. That is what we want to do and work for. The playoffs are tough. Anything can happen. It happened to us last week and there is no telling what could happen at Phoenix but I am definitely glad that we are in a situation where it doesn’t matter for us to be able to go to Homestead. But we are there to win that race.”


THERE WAS VERY HEAVY WIND TODAY, WAS THAT AN ISSUE FOR YOU TODAY? “It seems like from yesterday there wasn’t much wind and today there was a lot. It might have affected us a little in three and four being a little loose on entry and a little tight on exit but it wasn’t groundbreaking I would say.”

Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance/Photo Credit Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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