Friday, Sep 29

One Cure Racing: Cole Custer COTA Advance

Notes of Interest


● Cole Custer is perhaps the most thankful among the NASCAR Cup Series competitors who are headed to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, to see the weekend weather forecast features warmth and plenty of sunshine with virtually no chance of rain. When the series debuted on the 3.426-mile, 20-turn road course that is home to the Formula One United States Grand Prix a year ago, heavy rains forced officials to stop the scheduled 68-lap race 14 laps short. And Custer’s day was cut even shorter when poor visibility led to an accident just 24 laps into the race. Custer is hoping dry conditions this weekend will yield much better results in the season’s first of six road-course races.


● Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will be joined for the first time this season by the One Cure project, which is led by the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University with a mission to find a cancer cure through research benefiting man’s best friend. It is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals. This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer.The center, located in Colorado State’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 130 of them enrolled in carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. The canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope for the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.


● In lead-up to this weekend’s partnership on the racetrack, One Cure partnered with Custer on a “$41 for 41” fundraising campaign that generated a total of $4,362 from 75 unique donors.


● This weekend’s 68-lap, 231-mile race marks Custer’s 81st career NASCAR Cup Series start and his 10th on a road course. His best road-course outing in the Cup Series was an impressive ninth-place run on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval in October 2020. In February 2021, 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 11 road-course outings in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 2017 through 2019, Custer finished outside the top-10 just once with a best result of fourth in the 2018 race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.


● Custer 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. He also made three starts apiece on the road courses at Sonoma and Watkins Glen in NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition, with best finishes of third in the 2016 East Series race at Watkins Glen after having qualified on the pole there the previous year, and fourth in the 2019 West Series race at Sonoma.


● After an accident less than halfway through last weekend’s race on the newly reinvented Atlanta Motor Speedway oval, Custer arrives at COTA 29th in the driver standings, 94 points out of first.


● Custer will be pulling double duty this weekend as he’ll also be behind the wheel of the No. 07 Ford Mustang for SS Green Light Racing for Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 Xfinity Series race.


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


You and your Cup Series counterparts made history last year by racing by racing for the first time at Circuit of the Americas. What was the significance of that weekend in your mind?

“Aside from the huge rain on race day, it was a cool race to be a part of, the first race at that racetrack. It’s pretty prestigious. It’s a place F1 cars have raced and there were a lot of unknowns, obviously, because we hadn’t raced there. But it was pretty exciting to feel that place out.”


How would you describe the racetrack at COTA?

“It’s a very technical track and a little bit awkward. Not a ton of flow because there are long straightaways and how tight the corners are, and every single corner is different. It’s a very difficult track – some people do really well in parts of it and struggle in others. There are a lot of passing zones and it’s racey as hell.”


In general, what is it like to race on a road course in a stock car?

“It’s like driving a bulldozer around. A lot of road courses are meant for small cars that can move around that are really agile, where a stock car is really bulky and we’re beating and banging around. But this new NextGen car should handle a lot better than what we’re used to. The body being more symmetrical is a huge benefit. The changes to steering and the sequential shifter will all make a difference this weekend. We’ve seen a lot of great racing with the new car but now we get to see what it does on a road course which should make for some really exciting racing.”


The number of road-course races on the schedule has doubled in recent years. How does that change the way you condition, and your mental preparation?

“It’s not too much different physically, honestly. You might work out the right side of your neck a little bit more because we rarely use that part, but you don’t change too much, I would say. Mentally, the biggest thing is being prepared. You really have to have a good game plan and have an idea of what you’re unloading with and what you’re expecting to do the first few laps of practice, now that we have it. From there, you’re thrown into a lot of different situations so you have to know how to adapt. Being able to know what the best move is in those situations means a lot. Doing your homework and making sure you’re watching film and looking back on your notes from the past will help you in those situations.”


Talk about racing in the heavy rain at COTA last year.

“Well, the rain happened and, once it started falling, it was kind of chaos. You really couldn’t see much because there’s so much spray that comes up from behind the racecars that you can hardly see 3 feet in front of you. So you’re just kind of moseying around down the straightaways and all of a sudden some car is stopped in front of you. It’s definitely a nerve-wracking feeling and, based on the weekend forecast, we won’t have that again. But it’s something that’s in the back of your mind, for sure.”




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