Cole Custer Gateway to the East?

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is an elegant monument that was erected to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and to celebrate St. Louis’ central role in the rapid westward expansion that followed. Completed in October 1965, the Gateway Arch is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and has become an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis.

For Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado for Haas Racing Development (HRD) and native of Ladera Ranch, California, the hope is that the Gateway Arch is just as welcoming to those who travel from the West Coast to the East, as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series converges on Greater St. Louis at Gateway Motorsports Park for the first time since 2010.

A “veteran” driver of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – as much as one can be at just 16 years of age – Custer has experienced success on both sides of the country. With three victories in the East Series and a win in the West Series in a combined 20 starts, Custer has proven his ability to find victory lane regardless of which coast he’s racing on. Now he’ll look to score his first victory not only in the Heartland of America, but also in the Camping World Truck Series.

While Custer will make his third Camping World Truck Series start of the 2014 season this weekend, it will mark the first time he will race at Gateway in any kind of vehicle. He has, however, tested twice at the 1.25-mile egg-shaped oval located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Madison, Illinois. In 2013, Custer visited Gateway once in his K&N Pro Series car, and again in his Camping World Truck.

Custer feels more than ready for Saturday’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200. It will be his first standalone Truck Series event – those that are not held in conjunction with other NASCAR touring series – and he’s counting on making the most of the opportunity. With no Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series drivers to overshadow the Truck Series up-and-comers, Custer fully expects to be in contention for his first Truck Series victory when the checkered flag waves Saturday night.

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Steven B. Wilson

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