● Cole Custer and the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) take a momentary but expectedly eventful break from the season-long points championship when they head to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for Sunday night’s annual NASCAR All-Star Race. The 23-year-old driver from Ladera Ranch, California, the reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year, earned his spot in the non-points exhibition by virtue of his first career Cup Series victory last July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● Custer is one of 17 drivers automatically entered into the NASCAR All-Star Race. The criteria for eligibility include NASCAR Cup Series race winners in 2020 and 2021, and fulltime drivers who are either past All-Star Race winners or past Cup Series champions. Additionally, the winners of each of the three rounds of the NASCAR All-Star Open held prior to the All-Star Race Sunday night will also gain entry into the All-Star Race, as will the winner of the NASCAR Fan Vote.
● This year’s edition of the NASCAR All-Star Race will feature six rounds for a total of 100 laps. The starting lineup for Round 1 will be determined via random draw. Rounds 1 through 4 will be 15 laps each; Round 5 will be 30 laps; the Final Round will be a 10-lap shootout. At the beginning of Round 2, the field will be inverted via random draw (minimum of eight/maximum of 12). Before the start of Round 3, the entire field will be inverted. At the beginning of Round 4, the field will be inverted via random draw (minimum of eight/maximum of 12). Starting positions for Round 5 will consist of the cumulative finish from Rounds 1 through 4. The lowest cumulative finisher starts on the pole, second-lowest starts second, and so forth. All cars must enter pit road for a mandatory four-tire pit stop during Round 5. The starting positions in the Final Round are set by finishing positions of Round 5. Only green-flag laps will count. Additionally, the fastest team on pit road during the mandatory pit stop will earn $100,000. And, of course, the race winner will earn $1 million.
● Sunday night’s All-Star Race will be Custer’s second. He earned his spot in last year’s event, which was held on a Wednesday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, just three days prior with his dramatic victory at Kentucky. He finished 16th. Last year’s Kentucky victory also earned Custer a spot in February’s Busch Clash non-points event on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where he finished 20th.
● Custer has two points-paying Cup Series outings at the 1.5-mile Texas oval. He finished 14th there last November after an accident ended his day prematurely in the July race.
● Custer was victorious at Texas in the November 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, one of his six outings 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.
● 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 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.
● 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 Code3.cc/Cole41 and making a $41 donation.