● Cole Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) welcome back Autodesk a co-primary partner for the third time this season when they take to the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway oval for Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400. San Francisco-based Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in software applications for the engineering, manufacturing, construction, architecture, media and entertainment industries, kicked off its fifth season with SHR May 1 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, then returned for the June 12 race at its hometown Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. After Saturday night’s race, Autodesk returns to Custer’s No. 41 Ford for back-to-back races Sept. 17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Sept. 25 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth before appearing one final time Oct. 9 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.
● The Autodesk partnership with SHR is more than skin deep. The team utilized Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design and manufacturing software extensively to create lightweight, but strong, components for its fleet of Gen 6 racecars. Autodesk’s generative design capabilities and its Fusion 360 software helps designers and engineers quickly find optimal solutions to design problems, like SHR’s brake pedal revision in its Gen 6 racecars, as chronicled in this video. The new pedal accounted for a 32 percent reduction in weight with a 50 percent increase in stiffness, with the optimized design being realized by Fusion 360. The entire project took just two months to complete – from initial design to simulation, additive manufacturing of the pedal, testing and finalized part. Just as importantly, it was all delivered within two weeks of the needed race date.
● Also riding along with Custer and his SHR Mustang this weekend 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.
● Saturday’s 160-lap race will be Custer’s 101st career Cup Series start and sixth on the Daytona oval. His 11th-place finish in last year’s season-opening Daytona 500 is his best result at the iconic track. He finished 20th in this year’s Daytona 500.
● In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Daytona, Custer made six starts from 2017 through 2019, all in SHR Fords. He had a best start of third in the August 2018 race, and best finishes of 14th in the 2018 and 2019 openers, both seasons culminating with runner-up finishes in the series championship.
● Eleven days after his 18th birthday, Custer started the 2016 ARCA Menards Series season opener and his first career race on the Daytona oval from the pole. He led a race-high 42 laps before bringing the No. 54 for car owner Ken Schrader home 10th.