|● Cole Custer heads to the season’s second NASCAR Cup Series race on a true mile-and-a-half tri-oval when he and the No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) take to the track at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400. |
● Sunday’s 400-mile race will be Custer’s 88th Cup Series start and his fifth at Kansas. His Kansas debut resulted in a seventh-place finish in July 2020 en route to earning that year’s Rookie of the Year honors, best of his previous four Kansas outings. It was his fourth top-10 through his first 19 Cup Series starts.
● Riding along with Custer and his SHR 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 in July 2020. 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.
● Also returning to Custer’s No. 41 Mustang for the second time this season is Production Alliance Group (PAG). Tustin, California-based PAG is a premium, live-event and creative development company. Its creative works can been seen at concerts, award shows, sporting events, and corporate events. From the lights to the sound and everything in-between, PAG is the creativity and execution behind it all.
● The 24-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, pulled double duty with PAG as primary sponsor in both the Feb. 26 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and the Feb. 27 Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Saturday, he scored his 10th career Xfinity Series victory in dominating fashion behind the wheel of the No. 07 for SS GreenLight Racing, qualifying second, leading a race-high 80 laps and crossing the finish line .565 of a second ahead of runner-up Noah Gragson in the third overtime. Custer followed that up with a solid 11th-place finish in the Cup Series race in his No. 41 SHR Ford.
● Custer has four Kansas appearances in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, the most recent three in the No. 00 SHR Ford and the first in the No. 5 entry for JR Motorsports, with a best finish of 11th in the 2019 event after leading a race-high 85 laps.
● In his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outing at Kansas, the 24-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, qualified fourth and finished seventh in the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry in the May 2016 race.
● Custer’s potential top-10 finish in Sunday’s annual Throwback Race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway ended 33 laps short when he was caught up in a multicar accident that was not of his own doing. He arrives at Kansas 26th in the Cup Series standings.
|Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing|
| You’re coming off a potentially strong finish that came to an abrupt end when you got caught up in a late-race accident at Darlington last Sunday. Do you feel there is momentum as you head to Kansas this weekend?“Yeah, right when we had things turning around, we got caught up in the wreck on the backstretch. We’ve had a lot of things not go our way this year, but all you can do is move on to the next one, and that one is a pretty racey track at Kansas. Hopefully we can build on the positives from Darlington. Kansas is actually a tough racetrack. You have to move around and work the different lanes. You have to have the speed, as well, obviously. Track position is going to be huge and how you work the strategy is important. It’s a track where you have to put everything together. You have to make sure you can work the lanes good, and work them from the bottom to the top of the track.”|
Kansas has one of your best tracks during since your Rookie of the Year campaign in 2020, when you scored your third career top-10 in the spring, then came back in the fall to almost grab another. How was that experience for you?“The guys fought all race long both times that year and we definitely were able to make something of it in the first race, even though it wasn’t the prettiest day. We were in a good position in the fall race. Right there at the end was the best I had been in the top groove all race long. But a speeding penalty set us back and we still ended up with 14th place, which was disappointing when we considered what might have been. Our spring race last year turned out to be a frustrating day, but we came back and had a decent run in the fall race.”
This will be just the second race weekend of the season on a true mile-and-a-half tri-oval. Is there anything you can carry over from the first one at Las Vegas to this weekend’s race?“Every single track is different, so you can’t necessarily bring the same thing to each one. Considering we almost made it to halfway in the race at Las Vegas before something happened under the hood, we didn’t get the most track time that we could’ve. But it was a very eventful day, for sure. We started in the back and then we started making progress, but had to go to the back again. Then we spun and had to go to the back one more time, so it was just an eventful day and it didn’t end very well. I think we had a solid car, though. We finally got running good at the end and it was shaping up to be a solid day, but it didn’t work out. We do know with how the aero is on the NextGen car, they’re edgier to drive on the mile-and-a-halves. But I think we have a really good idea on what we need to bring to Kansas this weekend. We’ve been working hard to put in all the preparation we can, but it all still comes down to making our best educated guess because we still don’t get a ton of track time before race day. You just have to hope you hit it right.”