HaasTooling.com Racing: Cole Custer Darlington Advance

Notes of Interest


Cole Custer and the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Demo Day Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are bearing down for the final 10 races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season after their strong bid for a top-five finish last Saturday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway was foiled when Custer was caught in a multicar accident on the next-to-last restart of the race. Custer and the team left Daytona more determined than ever to lock down their first victory of the season during the home stretch, which begins with Sunday night’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.


● Appearing on Custer’s SHR Mustang for the first of two consecutive races Sunday night will be Haas Automation’s Demo Day in leadup to this year’s annual event held at the network of nine Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) locations throughout the country. Demo Day provides HFOs an opportunity to feature the latest CNC machines, innovations and technology from Haas Automation. HFOs will showcase machine cutting demonstrations, as well as educational seminars to explain how the latest Haas machines and options can make companies more efficient and profitable. Current Haas users, potential customers and anyone in the manufacturing industry are also invited to attend. To find the nearest HFO, and for more information, click here.


● Saturday’s 500-mile race will be Custer’s 66th Cup Series start and his and his fifth on the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year’s 12th-place finish in the Southern 500 last September was the best of his three Darlington outings in 2020. In this year’s Southern 500 at Darlington in May, an accident during Stage 2 of the race ended his day prematurely.


● The native of Ladera Ranch, California, was credited with the victory in his most recent NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington in 2019 after finishing second the previous year and ninth in 2017, all behind the wheel of the No. 00 SHR Ford. In the 2019 race, he crossed the finish line .602 of a second behind the apparent race-winner Denny Hamlin. But Hamlin’s racecar was disqualified after a ride-height violation was discovered in postrace inspection, giving Custer his eighth of nine career Xfinity series victories. In the September 2018 Xfinity Series race at Darlington, Custer was runner-up to Brad Keselowski by .738 of a second.


● After last weekend’s 24th-place finish on the 2.5-mile Daytona oval, Custer arrives at Daytona 28th in the driver standings.


● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford 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 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.


● September is Hunger Action Month, and SHR, its partner Wow Wow Classic Waffles, and Feeding America®, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, are asking fans to think about their answer to a simple question: How will you choose to end hunger? Hunger Action Month is an annual campaign dedicated to driving awareness and inspiring action to help end hunger in America, both on a national scale and on the ground in local communities. It’s a time when the Feeding America network of food banks and the public come together to raise awareness and inspire action to help people facing impossible choices due to hunger. Fans are encouraged to visit the Hunger Action Month page via the Feeding America website to learn how they can take action through sharing, volunteering, pledging to advocate, fundraising and making a donation. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Custer and the No. 41 SHR Ford team have accumulated nearly 100 volunteer hours to date, working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in packing bags and helping with drop-off events at Charlotte-area schools.


● Fans can do their part by texting HUNGER to 50555 to make a $5 donation to Feeding America, by visiting the Feeding America donation page on Facebook, or the donation page via the Feeding America website. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.


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


Is there a race you’re looking forward to more than any of the others over these last 10 events of the season?

“I would say Darlington is one I’m looking forward to. It’s one of those races that every driver looks forward to because of the challenge behind it and how much you can do as a driver. There are so many different lanes you can work and you’re running right up against the wall. It’s just a driver’s racetrack and I feel there’s not one guy who doesn’t feel excited when they hear Darlington is coming up.”


How do you feel the team has progressed to this point, where you’re about to enter the home stretch of the season?

“There have been just so many things to work through this year that were a little unexpected, there were a lot of curveballs thrown against us. Everybody’s worked so hard to figure out what direction we need to go in. We’ve got more of an idea on what direction to go, it’s just a matter of fine-tuning that. I think we’re headed in the right direction, it’s just a matter of working the final details.”


What did it mean for you to be in the playoffs last year as a rookie?

“I think it meant the world. It was a great experience to see how everybody raced each other under tight circumstances. It was definitely a great experience and hopefully we can be right back in the thick of things next year. In the meantime, we’ll just work as hard as we can to build all the momentum we can through these final 10 races this year, maybe even pick up a win or two.”


Do you feel the playoffs are a good way to determine a champion?

“It’s how we play the game. I don’t know how else to say it. I think it generates a lot of excitement. I think it’s a lot like other sports where we have playoffs and I think it’s always been good. In all sports, you have times where the best team doesn’t win the whole thing, doesn’t win the championship. That happens in our sport, too. It’s just part of it. Our sport is a little bit unique because we do race at different tracks and things can happen. Some teams are better at certain tracks than others, but at the same time it’s the game you play. We have a playoff system and I think it’s been great for the sport in having a lot of excitement and you just have to make it happen those last 10 races.”