Notes of Interest
● It’s back to short-track racing for the first time since a three-pack of races in April for Cole Custer and the No. 41 Jacob Construction Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). They’ll take to the .75-mile oval at Richmond (Va.) Raceway for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400.
● Sunday’s 400-lap race will be Custer’s 99th career Cup Series start and his sixth at Richmond. His 14th-place finish in the September 2020 race there is the best of his previous five outings and it helped him earn that year’s Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors. He qualified 12th and finished 22nd in this season’s first Richmond race April 3.
● In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, Custer’s seven career starts at Richmond is more than he’s had at any other track. Best among those starts was the April 2019 race, when he qualified fourth in the No. 00 SHR Ford, led a race-high 122 of 250 laps and took the checkered flag 2.639 seconds ahead of runner-up and fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric. He followed that up with a third-place finish in that year’s September race for his fourth Xfinity Series top-six in seven Richmond starts. Custer also started on the pole and led 43 laps en route to a sixth-place finish in the April 2018 race in his SHR Ford, and scored a sixth-place finish in his Richmond debut in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 5 JR Motorsports entry in the April 2016 race.
● Custer’s first two Richmond outings came in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2013 and 2014. The first year, he started and finished third after leading 24 of 100 laps, then came back the following year to qualify second and lead a race-high 52 of 100 laps en route to his fourth of four career victories in K&N Pro Series competition.
● Riding along with Custer and his SHR Mustang 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.
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Jacob Construction Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
You’ve logged more laps at Richmond than perhaps any other track where NASCAR races. Sunday’s race marks your 14th career start there between the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and K&N East Series. What’s been your favorite Richmond memory?
“Definitely winning there in the Xfinity Series a few years ago. It was my first short-track win in the Xfinity Series and it meant a lot because we worked pretty hard to try and get our short-track stuff better, and it’s not an easy track to get around. So, it meant a lot to win that one.”
You’ve run at Richmond so much during your career, are you immersed in footage and data from your previous runs there to figure out how you’re going to get around there Sunday?
“Yeah, that’s every weekend for me. I look at old races and try and talk to (SHR teammate) Kevin (Harvick) every weekend to find out what he’s looking for. He’s been a huge help the last few years. All of my teammates have been. It was tough going straight to racing with no practice or qualifying the last two years. You can look at as much film and data as you want, but you’re still missing the experience of actually being out there. You know what you need to work on, but you really don’t learn as much until you’re actually out there on the track. In the spring race this year, it was huge to have the chance to practice and qualify before the race. Hopefully that experience will help put us over the top on Sunday.”