Custer Earns Career Best Cup Finish at Indianapolis

Custer Earns Career Best Cup Finish at Indianapolis NK Photography Photo

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):             

● Cole Custer started 30th and finished 14th.

● During the lap-12 competition caution Custer reported his No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Autodesk Fusion 360 Ford was just a tick loose while running 21st.

● On lap 38, Custer picked up a piece of trash on the grille, but was able to continue on.

● The California native reported his Mustang was starting to get tight while running 16th on lap 40.

● The rookie driver ended the stage in 14th and reported his Mustang was, “a little tighter off,” but didn’t visit pit road.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

● Custer started in 10th and finished 13th.

● On the lap-74 caution, Custer pitted from 13th and restarted 14th on lap 83.

● With two cautions in a short span, Custer didn’t pit and ultimately restarted 16th on lap 91.

● By lap 97, Custer worked his way back up to 13th, where he ultimately ended the stage.

● During the Stage break, Custer pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to free his Mustang up a little bit.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

● Custer started 16th, finished fifth.

● As the front of the field began to make scheduled green-flag pit stops, Custer stayed out on the track allowing him to gain positions.

● “It’s starting to get too tight,” Custer radioed on lap 128 from fifth about his Ford Mustang.

● Under caution on lap 134, Custer pitted from the fourth position for fuel and four tires and restarted sixth.

● Custer was able to work his way back into the top-five just after the restart, and ran as high as fourth, before getting passed by teammate Aric Almirola on lap 145.

● On lap 154, the caution came out and moved Custer in to the fourth position.

● On the only attempt of a green-white-checkered finish, Custer lined up fourth behind teammate and leader Kevin Harvick.  

● Custer nudged the rear of Harvick’s No. 4 machine to help push him to the lead on the restart and Custer ultimately finished fifth.

 

Notes:

● Custer’s fifth-place finish was his best result in 19 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, and it came in his first Cup Series start at Indianapolis.

● This was Custer’s first top-five and second top-10 of the season.

● Custer was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.

● Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Matt Kenseth was .743 of a second.

● There were nine caution periods for a total of 43 laps.

● Only 19 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

● Harvick remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with an 85-point advantage over second-place Chase Elliott.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Autodesk Fusion 360 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It is awesome to have all of SHR running well here at Indy. It is Tony’s (Stewart) backyard so it is a huge race for us. For us, our team, this package has been exactly the opposite of what I am used to driving. For it to all come together today means a lot. Thanks to all of the guys at SHR for bringing great race cars. HaasTooling.com went national this week, so check them out. I am psyched. I am really happy we finally had it all come together.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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Speedway Digest Staff

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