|● Autodesk Fusion 360 returns as primary sponsor for its second of six appearances of 2021 on the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and its driver Cole Custer during this weekend’s historic Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Autodesk Fusion 360 kicked off its fourth season with Custer and SHR in June on the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway road course. It was a hometown race for San Francisco-based Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in software applications for the engineering, manufacturing, construction, architecture, media and entertainment industries. |
● Sunday’s 82-lap race will be Custer’s 63rd Cup Series start. He drove to an impressive fifth-place finish in last year’s Brickyard 400 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. It was his first of two top-fives during his Cup Series Rookie of the Year campaign, which he followed up with a dramatic victory the following weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● Custer will be making his eighth points-paying Cup Series race on a road course. In his seven previous points-paying Cup Series starts on road courses, Custer’s best was a ninth-place run on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval last October. In February, he rallied for a 13th-place finish on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course after dropping back as far as 24th while avoiding a multicar accident in the closing laps. In his most recent road-course outing last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Custer finished 18th. In this year’s non-points Busch Clash on the Daytona road course, Custer drove deep into the top-10 on multiple occasions, but he fell three laps off the pace late in the race when he could not refire his Mustang after serving a self-imposed stop-and-go penalty for missing the backstraight chicane. He finished 20th.
● In his 11 road-course outings in the Xfinity Series from 2017 through 2019, Custer finished outside the top-10 just once with his fourth-place run in 2018 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, best of them all.
● Custer also has top-10s in all three of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outings on road courses, all three occurring at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. His best was his most recent, a second-place run from the pole with a race-high 39 laps led in the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry in 2016. In addition to his three K&N Pro Series outings at The Glen, Custer has made three starts at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway with a best finish of fourth in 2019.
● Sunday’s race is the sixth of a ground-breaking seven NASCAR Cup Series races to be held on road courses in 2021 and the second of back-to-back road-course events. From 1988 to 2017, there were only two road courses on the schedule – Sonoma and Watkins Glen. The Charlotte Roval was added in 2018, giving the series three road-course venues. The initial 2021 schedule doubled that tally, with Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas, Road America, and the Indy road course all being added. And when COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the series’ stop this year at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, the Daytona road course was put in its place.
● After his 18th-place finish three weekends ago at Watkins Glen, Custer arrives at the Brickyard 28th in the driver standings.
● Following Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, Autodesk will return as the primary partner for Custer and the No. 41 team for four more races in 2021 –Aug. 28 on the Daytona oval, Sept. 18 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and Oct. 10 on the Charlotte Roval. The 2021 season marks Autodesk’s fourth year with SHR, and the partnership is more than skin deep. The team uses Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design and manufacturing software extensively to create lightweight, but strong, components for its fleet of racecars.
● Joining Autodesk on the No. 41 Ford Mustang is team co-owner Gene Haas’ newest holding, Haas Tooling, which was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to end users. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at HaasTooling.com have proven to be even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as CNC machines have become vital to producing personal protective equipment. Haas Automation, founded by Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
● As announced during the annual Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day weekend, Custer and the team encourage fans to join Wow Wow Classic Waffles in support of Feeding America®, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Fans are encouraged to text HUNGER to 50555 to make a $5 donation to Feeding America®, by visiting the Feeding America®donation page on Facebook, or the donation page via the Feeding America® website. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.
|Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing|
| It’s almost everyone’s first time on the Indy road course this weekend. Is there anything from the previous road-course races this year that can carry over into your performance this weekend?“The Glen is a little bit of its own animal, I feel like, just because it’s so fast and a little bit different than everywhere else. Indy, I think you can take some of the stuff we’ve learned this year and apply it there. Obviously, this is the year we’ve run the most road courses and we’ve been able to see a lot of different things and I think you’re able to hone in on what you will need. I expect the Indy road course will be difficult. The simulator work we’ve been doing is to try and get ready and get acquainted with the corners, and then we’ll try and adapt as quickly as we can once we get there. That’s been the name of the game – you have to adapt once you get to the racetrack. We’ll have practice and qualifying, so that’s better than just showing up and racing.” |
Your SHR teammate Chase Briscoe is one of only three Cup Series drivers with previous experience on the Indy road circuit. Are you tapping into his knowledge of the track?“Chase is obviously the one who won the (Xfinity Series) race last year and they were really fast. So being able to talk with him and going to the simulator and kind of get an idea of what he thinks of the track and what’s realistic and what’s not and what to look for, it’s a huge gain, for sure.”
If you could have the keys to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a day, what would you do?“I’d probably just go over and see all the trophies and all the history in the museum there. It’s one of the coolest things. They have some special stuff downstairs that I think would be really cool to see, all the historic stuff that they have there. I think having the first (Cup Series) road-course race is huge, it’s historic. I mean, Indy is obviously the most historic track maybe in the world, definitely in the United States, and it’s just having that first race at a really historic racetrack, I’m really looking forward to it. We want to go and win – it’s the first race and we want to be the ones to do it. But you’ve got to take it one step at a time. There’s got to be a lot of adapting and a lot of trying to think on your toes with it being the first race at a place. And you’ve got to really hope your preparation is right and make sure you have some good ideas you can have after your first ideas because things are going to change fast.”
How do you like sharing the weekend with IndyCar?“I think it’s cool. IndyCar is totally different from what we do, but to see the two forms of racing come together is really awesome.”