Saturday, Dec 09

Jacob Construction Racing: Cole Custer Bristol Dirt Advance

Notes of Interest


● The season’s first short-track swing concludes under the lights for the second weekend in a row but in a rare Sunday-night event for Cole Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) on the dirt-covered Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway oval. The second-ever Food City Dirt Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway – which joins the Memorial Day-weekend Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and the Labor Day-weekend Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C) Raceway as the only Sunday-night races on this year’s NASCAR Cup Series tour – will be even more of a rarity as it’ll be just the 12th race in NASCAR’s 70-year history ever held on Easter and the first since 1989.


● Riding along with Custer and his SHR Mustang for the first time this weekend is Jacob Construction, a multifaceted construction firm with a focus on construction, development, design and technology services. Jacob provides clients with a wide range of services in the design build and construction management sectors of the construction industry. In conjunction with these services, Jacob self performs structural concrete, architectural and structural precast erection.


● Sunday night’s 250-lap race around the .533-mile, dirt-covered Bristol oval will be Custer’s 84th Cup Series start and his fifth at Bristol. The 24-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, started 21st and finished 24th in last year’s inaugural Food City Dirt Race, the first Cup Series event held on dirt in 50 years.


● The 2020 Cup Series Rookie of the Year was no stranger to competing on dirt in a NASCAR event when he arrived at Bristol last spring. He drove the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry in the 2015 and 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the half-mile dirt oval at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, owned by SHR co-owner Tony Stewart. He qualified 24th and finished 29th in the July 2015 race, then came back a year later to finish sixth from 23rd on the grid. 


● The two Truck Series appearances by Custer on the dirt at Eldora came during a successful seven-year run by the series that began in 2013. The inaugural race there in July 2013 marked the first time in more than four decades a top NASCAR series had competed on dirt – the previous occurring on Sept. 30, 1970 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, where Richard Petty drove to the 117th of his record 200 career Cup Series wins. Like the annual Eldora Truck Series races, it was on a Wednesday night and contested on a half-mile oval. There was never a repeat winner in the Truck Series race at Eldora, and five of its seven winners are entered in this weekend’s Food City Dirt Race – Austin Dillon (2013), Bubba Wallace (2014), Christopher Bell (2015), Kyle Larson (2016) and SHR’s Chase Briscoe (2018). and Stewart Friesen (2019). The two Eldora winners not entered at Bristol are Matt Crafton (2017) and Stewart Friesen (2019).


● Saturday night on the half-mile, paperclip-shaped Martinsville (Va.) Speedway oval, Custer qualified third and ran in the top-five during the opening two stages before he was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop, leaving him with a 21st-place finish. He arrives at Bristol 24th in the driver standings.


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


What are your expectations for Bristol dirt with the new NextGen car?

“I don’t know if it’ll honestly be that much different than the old car. It looked like they had a good test with the NextGen car with Stewart Friesen, and I think they changed the track a little bit to make it more racey, but overall it looked like it was pretty similar. I think we’ll just have to see when we get there.”


How different do you think it’ll be racing at night this year instead of the daytime?

“I think it’ll definitely make the racing better, make visibility better. Last year, you couldn’t even see a foot in front of you, at times, just because of all the dust and the sun and the glare and everything. So, from a driver’s standpoint, it’ll definitely help a lot and it’ll also hopefully help the racing by keeping more moisture in the track.”


Have you done anything special to prepare for this weekend’s race?

“I went out and tested a Dirt Late Model, and obviously it’s not going to be extremely similar. But just getting in the dirt and getting a feel for it again and kind of seeing how the track changes and everything, it’s good to get your feet wet again and get a jumpstart for the weekend.”


What do you think will be the key to running well on the dirt this weekend?

“I think it’s going to be important to get through your heat race good and kind of start your race off good because, if you start behind, it can definitely kind of throw you for a loop, and then you’re kind of fighting and maybe you do something that you don’t want to and you get yourself in a bad position. I think the heat race is important, and then it’s going to be a lot about attrition. I think just staying clean is going to be one of the biggest things, and not making mistakes and just being there at the end, because there are going to be a lot of guys who do make mistakes and it’s going to be a matter of limited mistakes. Last year, it was a lot to take in, being our first time on dirt there. And this weekend, we wipe the slate clean going back with the NextGen car.”


Who do you expect will do well this weekend?

“I think it’s going to be the guys who have raced a lot of dirt before, obviously guys like Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse and Chase (Briscoe) – those guys are going to be good just because they’ve raced a lot of dirt before and at a high level. There are going to be some guys who are pavement racers who are going to get up there and race, but I think we’re going to try to make sure we cross the T’s and dot the I’s and hopefully not make any huge mistakes, and try to get as much speed out of our Jacob Construction Mustang as possible.”




No right click

Please link the article.