● Autodesk Fusion 360 returns as primary sponsor for its second of six appearances of 2021 on the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and its driver Cole Custer during this weekend’s historic Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Autodesk Fusion 360 kicked off its fourth season with Custer and SHR in June on the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway road course. It was a hometown race for San Francisco-based Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in software applications for the engineering, manufacturing, construction, architecture, media and entertainment industries.
● Sunday’s 82-lap race will be Custer’s 63rd Cup Series start. He drove to an impressive fifth-place finish in last year’s Brickyard 400 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. It was his first of two top-fives during his Cup Series Rookie of the Year campaign, which he followed up with a dramatic victory the following weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● Custer will be making his eighth points-paying Cup Series race on a road course. In his seven previous points-paying Cup Series starts on road courses, Custer’s best was a ninth-place run on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval last October. In February, he rallied for a 13th-place finish on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course after dropping back as far as 24th while avoiding a multicar accident in the closing laps. In his most recent road-course outing last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Custer finished 18th. In this year’s non-points Busch Clash on the Daytona road course, Custer drove deep into the top-10 on multiple occasions, but he fell three laps off the pace late in the race when he could not refire his Mustang after serving a self-imposed stop-and-go penalty for missing the backstraight chicane. He finished 20th.
● In his 11 road-course outings in the Xfinity Series from 2017 through 2019, Custer finished outside the top-10 just once with his fourth-place run in 2018 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, best of them all.
● Custer also has top-10s in all three of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outings on road courses, all three occurring at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. His best was his most recent, a second-place run from the pole with a race-high 39 laps led in the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry in 2016. In addition to his three K&N Pro Series outings at The Glen, Custer has made three starts at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway with a best finish of fourth in 2019.
● Sunday’s race is the sixth of a ground-breaking seven NASCAR Cup Series races to be held on road courses in 2021 and the second of back-to-back road-course events. From 1988 to 2017, there were only two road courses on the schedule – Sonoma and Watkins Glen. The Charlotte Roval was added in 2018, giving the series three road-course venues. The initial 2021 schedule doubled that tally, with Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas, Road America, and the Indy road course all being added. And when COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the series’ stop this year at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, the Daytona road course was put in its place.
● After his 18th-place finish three weekends ago at Watkins Glen, Custer arrives at the Brickyard 28th in the driver standings.
● Following Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, Autodesk will return as the primary partner for Custer and the No. 41 team for four more races in 2021 –Aug. 28 on the Daytona oval, Sept. 18 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and Oct. 10 on the Charlotte Roval. The 2021 season marks Autodesk’s fourth year with SHR, and the partnership is more than skin deep. The team uses Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design and manufacturing software extensively to create lightweight, but strong, components for its fleet of racecars.
● Joining Autodesk on the No. 41 Ford 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 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.
● As announced during the annual Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day weekend, Custer and the team encourage fans to join Wow Wow Classic Waffles in support of Feeding America®, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Fans are encouraged to text HUNGER to 50555 to make a $5 donation to Feeding America®, by visiting the Feeding America® donation page on Facebook, or the donation page via the Feeding America® website. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.