● Cole Custer and the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Phoenix Raceway this weekend to bring down the curtain on the 2021 season with Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale.
● The 312-lap race around the desert mile oval will be Custer’s 75th Cup Series start and his fourth at Phoenix. The 23-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, scored his first nine career Cup Series top-10s in the March 2020 Phoenix race, which was just his seventh career Cup Series start, en route to earning Rookie of the Year honors. He followed up that ninth-place finish with another near-top-10 in this race a year ago, which was derailed by an unscheduled pit stop to replace a loose wheel during the final stage. He finished 28th. Last March at Phoenix, another top-10 bid was ruined when contact from behind in the closing laps sent Custer into the wall and relegated him to a 31st-place finish.
● In six NASCAR Xfinity Series outings at Phoenix from 2017 through 2019, all behind the wheel of the No. 00 SHR Ford, Custer started in the top-four and finished in the top-eight in each of the last five, with a best result of second from the second starting position in the November 2018 race. He finished .810 of a second behind Justin Algaer in that race after recording four of his six career Xfinity Series laps led at Phoenix.
● In Custer’s three career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outings at Phoenix, he has a best finish of third in the November 2014 race in the No. 00 Haas Automation entry behind winner Erik Jones and runner-up Matt Crafton.
● Custer dominated the February 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Phoenix in the No. 00 for owner Bill McAnally. He qualified on the pole and led a race-high 62 laps en route to his third of four career K&N Series wins.
● After his 23rd-place finish last Sunday on the half-mile, paperclip-shaped oval at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Custer arrives at Phoenix 26th in the driver standings.
● Returning to Custer’s 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.