HaasTooling.com Racing: Cole Custer Kansas Advance

Notes of Interest


● Fresh off their first top-10 of the season, Cole Custer and his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang team for Stewart Haas Racing (SHR) head to the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400. It will be the milestone 50th career NASCAR Cup Series start for the series’ reigning Rookie of the Year.


● The 23-year-old from Ladera Ranch, California, had solid runs in both Kansas outings last year, finishing seventh in July and 14th in October. The seventh-place finish in July was his fourth Cup Series top-10 in 19 starts. His bid for a second-consecutive Kansas top-10 in October was thwarted by a late-race speeding penalty on pit road.


● Last weekend’s 10th-place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway was Custer’s eighth Cup Series top-10.


● Custer has four Kansas appearances in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, the most recent three in the No. 00 SHR Ford and the first in the No. 5 entry for JR Motorsports, with a best finish of 11th in the 2019 event after leading a race-high 85 laps.


● In his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outing at Kansas, Custer qualified fourth and finished seventh in the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry.


● After last Sunday’s 10th-place finish at Talladega, Custer arrives at Kansas 23rd in the Cup Series standings, 268 points behind leader Denny Hamlin, and 51 points behind the 16th and final playoff position.


● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford Mustang for SHR 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 last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at HaasTooling.com have proven to be even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as CNC machines have become vital to producing personal protective equipment. 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.


● SHR revealed last week that Code 3 Associates returns to the No. 41 Ford Mustang for the July 11 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Code 3 Associates has been a hero to animals for more than 30 years. If disaster strikes, Code 3 will deploy its Animal Rescue Team to help in emergencies like hurricanes, fires and floods. Fans have the opportunity to have their name featured on the No. 41 SHR Ford and help Code 3 continue its rescue efforts by simply visiting Code3.cc/Cole41 and making a $41 donation.


Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


You’re coming off your first top-10 of the season at Talladega and head to the mile-and-a-half oval at Kansas. What’s on your mind?

“It was good to have a solid day at Talladega after all that can potentially happen to you on that track. We left there with the mindset of stringing together a bunch of top-10s and building some consistency. Kansas is a tough racetrack. You have to move around and work the different lanes. You have to have the speed, as well, obviously. Track position is going to be huge and how you work the strategy is important. It’s a track where you have to put everything together. You have to make sure you can work the lanes good, and work them from the bottom to the top of the track.”


You had a solid seventh-place finish in last year’s first visit to Kansas and almost scored another top-10 your second time there last fall. How was that experience for you?

“The guys fought all race long both times and we definitely were able to make something of it in the first race, even though it wasn’t the prettiest day. We were in a good position in the fall race. Right there at the end was the best I had been in the top groove all race long. But the speeding penalty set us back and we still ended up with 14th place, which was disappointing when we considered what might have been.”


This will be your third race of the season on a mile-and-a-half tri-oval. What can you carry over from the Las Vegas and Atlanta races from earlier this year?

“Every single track is different. You can’t bring the same thing to them. We struggled a little bit at both of those races earlier this year, but I think we have a really good idea on what we need to bring to these mile-and-a-half tracks. We’ve been working hard to put in all the preparation we can, but it all still comes down to making our best educated guess because we don’t have practice or anything to work our cars in before the race. You just have to hope you hit it right.”


You’re making your 50th Cup Series start Sunday. How would you gauge your progress, and your working relationship with your crew chief Mike Shiplett and your engineer Davin Restivo?

“Fifty races, that’s a cool number. But it’s just a fraction of what most of the guys out there have under their belts. It’s been cool to work with Mike and Davin because I’ve been working with them since the Xfinity Series. We’re making good progress, I think, and with the rules and the different tires and new tracks and everything, you’re always learning in the Cup Series no matter who you are. It’s nice to have our communication down and know what each other is looking for in our cars. It’s been good, it’s just a matter of perfecting these cars and getting better each time we are out there.”