● Cole Custer and his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are set for their fourth of six road-course races this season when the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
● The 24-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, will be making his 97th career Cup Series start during Sunday’s 82-lap, 200-mile race, and his second on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis circuit. He qualified 10th for this event a year ago and was vying for a top-five finish in overtime before getting caught up in a multicar accident.
● Custer has one other start at the facility, when he drove to an impressive fifth-place finish in the 2020 Brickyard 400 on its iconic 2.5-mile 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.
● Sunday’s race will be Custer’s 13th road-course start in the Cup Series. He qualified 10th and finished 15th in the July 3 race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He posted stout qualifying efforts at the previous two road-course races – third for the March 27 event at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, and sixth for the June 12 race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway – but late-race, multicar chaos foiled his bids for finishes deep inside the top-10 at both events. Custer’s best Cup Series finish on a road course was ninth in the October 2020 race on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.
● In NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition, Custer has top-10s in all three of his road-course outings, all 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 (N.Y.) International 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.
● Riding along with Custer and his SHR 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 in July 2020. 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.