● Cole Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) feature Autodesk as co-primary partner for the fourth time this season and the second race in a row this weekend’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. San Francisco-based Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in software applications for the engineering, manufacturing, construction, architecture, media and entertainment industries, kicked off its fifth season with SHR May 1 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, then returned for the June 12 race at its hometown Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, then last month’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, and last weekend’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Autodesk returns to Custer’s No. 41 Ford a final time Oct. 9 on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.
● The Autodesk partnership with SHR is more than skin deep. The team utilized Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design and manufacturing software extensively to create lightweight, but strong, components for its fleet of Gen 6 racecars. Autodesk’s generative design capabilities and its Fusion 360 software helps designers and engineers quickly find optimal solutions to design problems, like SHR’s brake pedal revision in its Gen 6 racecars, as chronicled in this video. The new pedal accounted for a 32 percent reduction in weight with a 50 percent increase in stiffness, with the optimized design being realized by Fusion 360. The entire project took just two months to complete – from initial design to simulation, additive manufacturing of the pedal, testing and finalized part. Just as importantly, it was all delivered within two weeks of the needed race date.
● Also riding along with Custer on his SHR Mustang this weekend 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.
● As part of this year’s Martin Truex Jr. Foundation “Honor a Cancer Hero” program, the name of Anastasia Vessell of Douglasville, Georgia, will appear above the passenger-side window of Custer’s No. 41 SHR Ford. She was nominated by her husband Jack, who called her an amazing lady and a fighter who “kicked cancer’s butt,” and with whom he is looking forward to a brighter future into their golden years. Anastasia’s lifelong battle with vertigo caused a diminished lifestyle from performing most motioned activities. After the couple married in 2020, she was diagnosed with breast cancer six months later. Numerous doctor visits led to her treatment plan, the last chemo treatment for which occurred this past April, and the last radiation treatment in June.
● Sunday’s 334-lap race around the 1.5-mile Texas oval will be Custer’s 105th career Cup Series start and fourth at Texas. His best finish there was 14th in November 2020 after an accident ended his day prematurely in the July race. He finished 19th there last November.
● Custer was victorious at Texas in the November 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, one of his six outings there in that series. He has three other top-five finishes and an eighth-place result in his most recent Xfinity Series visit to Texas in November 2019.
● In NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition at Texas, Custer has a best finish of ninth in the November 2016 race, driving the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry.
You had a taste of racing at Texas with the NextGen car during the All-Star Race weekend in May. What are you expecting when you head back there this weekend for a 500-mile marathon?
“If you want to see some cars going really fast, then Texas is the place to go. I mean, it’s just a big track, a lot of grip, a lot of speed. We’re just going as hard as we can pretty much the whole lap and the whole race. I think from what we’ve seen this year with the NextGen, you can expect the racing to be exciting from the first lap through the last.”
What is it about Texas that makes it that way?
“Texas is just fast, wide open, and you’re trying to get as much speed as possible out of your car. It’s a place where you’re on the gas and on the throttle so much that it means a ton to have that car that can just make more speed than everybody else, and you’re going to see people trying to get there as soon as possible.”
What’s your favorite memory racing at Texas?
“For me, it was winning there in the Xfinity Series a few years ago. It actually catapulted us into the championship race. It was a last-second kind of really good, tight finish at the end, so it was a really cool one to win. Getting that cowboy hat in victory lane is definitely one of those prizes every driver wants. I think Texas has one of the coolest victory lanes. All of the flames, the cowboy hats, it’s a really unique place to win because they always do a good job. They do a good job of promoting the race and it’s obviously an important race in the playoffs.”