Saturday, Jan 28 Racing: Cole Custer Dover Advance Racing: Cole Custer Dover Advance NK Photography Photo

Notes of Interest


● Cole Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to one of the 23-year-old NASCAR Cup Series driver’s favorite racetracks for Sunday’s Dover 400. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year posted finishes of 11th and 10th, respectively, when the series visited the concrete mile oval for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader last August.


● Sunday’s 400-mile race marks Custer’s 52nd career Cup Series start and his third at Dover.


● Custer’s six outings at Dover in the NASCAR Xfinity Series collectively rank among his best in 104 career starts in that series from 2017 through 2019. His most recent, in October 2019, was his best. He qualified third in the No. 00 SHR Ford and led 31 laps en route to a victory by a one-second margin over runner-up Justin Allgaier. It was his fourth of four top-fives and fifth of five top-10s in his six Xfinity Series starts at Dover. In the May 2019 race, he qualified on the pole and led a race-high 155 of 200 laps before finishing fourth. That came on the heels of his runner-up finish in the October 2018 race, when he led 38 laps and crossed the finish line .525 of a second behind Christopher Bell. Custer finished fourth in his Dover Xfinity Series debut in May 2017 and eighth in the October 2017 race.


● In NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition, the native of Ladera Ranch, California, has a best finish of fifth in the most recent of his three Dover outings, when he drove the No. 00 entry for JR Motorsports in the May 2016 race. He led a race-high 67 of 200 laps en route to a 13th-place finish in the May 2015 Truck Series race for JR Motorsports.


● After last Sunday’s 36th-place finish at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Custer arrives at Darlington 26th in the Cup Series standings, 337 points behind leader Denny Hamlin, and 76 points behind the 16th and final playoff position.


● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford Mustang for SHR 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 and shipped directly to end users. products became available nationally last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at 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.


● SHR revealed last month that Code 3 Associates returns to the No. 41 Ford Mustang for the July 11 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Code 3 Associates has been a hero to animals for more than 30 years. If disaster strikes, Code 3 will deploy its Animal Rescue Team to help in emergencies like hurricanes, fires and floods. Fans have the opportunity to have their name featured on the No. 41 SHR Ford and help Code 3 continue its rescue efforts by simply visiting and making a $41 donation.


Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


You’ve had a good bit of experience on the Monster Mile at Dover. What would be your favorite memory?

“For me, it was winning there in the Xfinity Series. It was a track I always wanted to win at and it took me some time. I was close a lot of times, so to finally win there meant a ton. It’s the coolest trophy you can win with the Monster, and it’s one every driver wants to check off their list.”


Dover is a track where a small, one-car incident can turn into a multi-car mess and usually it’s the guys in the back that get the short end of the stick. How do you avoid that when you have to start further back in the field?

“At Dover it’s especially difficult when you have to start deep in the field. It’s really hard to pass, at times, and you can get caught up in wrecks easily.  A lot of times you’ll see guys wreck and come down the track collecting a lot of others. We won’t have that luxury this weekend to start up front and out of the way, so we’ll hope to be able to work our way forward from the very beginning.”


A lot of drivers either love or hate Dover. What are your feelings toward the racetrack?

“I love Dover. You’ve got to be really aggressive and just go for it, or it’ll eat you up. But you also have to be very strategic with how you work the gas and make your way through the corners. There’s a reason it’s called the Monster Mile. If you aren’t ready for it, and don’t pay attention to those details, it can be a handful.




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