Cole Custer has experienced the good and bad when it comes to moving and, quite frankly, he hopes he never has to go through either again.
First, he took the final step up the ladder in his NASCAR development, moving from the Xfinity Series after three seasons to the Cup level, where he’s in his rookie campaign driving the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing. Custer is coming off a ninth-place finish at Phoenix and sits 22nd in the point standings as the series prepares to return to action this weekend at Darlington Raceway.
In a perfect world, Custer would like to just stay where he is for the next 25 years and then ride off into the sunset with nothing but memorable race wins and championships in his rearview mirror.
That would represent the best-case scenario of a good move, but there’s another side to that four-letter word. After sharing a three-bedroom apartment with a couple of friends, Custer decided to move roughly 25 minutes away to a new townhouse in the Charlotte area last year.
“Moving is about the worst thing I’ll ever do, and I never want to do it again,” he said, despite realizing that a house is likely in his future. “You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to move. I probably had 20-25 things that I ended up just getting rid of because I knew I’d probably never use any of it again.”
The only thing that made the experience a little easier to bear was the Ford F-150 he used to transport a vast array of furniture, boxes and clothes.
“Having a truck is so versatile because you’re able to kind of move whatever you want and you don’t have to always call somebody to come and help all the time,” said Custer, who currently has a King Ranch F-150 as his daily driver. “With your own truck you’re able to just knock it out and do it, maybe have a couple buddies come over and try to move some of the bigger stuff with you, but I think it’s so nice to just have that truck.”
Of course, when you move into a new place there are a lot of projects just waiting to be done, foremost of which is landscaping and making the outside look nice. Custer is no different, having used his King Ranch to fill the bed up with mulch for his garden, but that is the end of his responsibility. What exactly goes into the garden is anyone’s guess.
“My girlfriend picked out everything for the garden,” said Custer. “I really have no idea exactly what’s going in, except they’re different types of bushes and flowers – that sort of thing. We’re not growing any food.”
While loading the prettiest Hydrangea or Rhododendron in the back of his truck may provide a sense of calm and stress relief, it’s a far cry from what he and his father did during his youth while growing up in California.
That’s because his dad, Joe, who currently serves as president at Stewart-Haas Racing, had a need for speed that was second to none. He would regularly satisfy that by loading a couple of dirt bikes into the back of the family F-150 and make the 45-minute drive with Cole from their home in Orange County to Lake Elsinore for a day of fun.
“We have always been a Ford family, and with him being into off-road racing and dirt bikes it was the perfect thing for us because you could use that truck for anything,” said Custer. “I think he wanted to get me a feel for what riding a dirt bike was like, so we would just go out to the track and kind of run around. I don’t remember a lot of things when I was that young, but I always remember being with my dad and driving around in that Ford truck.”
Since those days, Custer has moved from dirt bikes to stock cars; he’s moved from California to North Carolina; and he’s in the process of moving to the top of the NASCAR racing heap.
Campbell Marketing & Communications for Ford Performance