● Cole Custer and the No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) welcome back Autodesk as primary sponsor for Sunday’s Save Mart 350k NASCAR Cup Series race on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. It will be a hometown race for San Francisco-based Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in software applications for the engineering, manufacturing, construction, architecture, media and entertainment industries, which kicked off its fifth season with SHR May 1 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway.
● 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 helped 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.
● Sunday’s 90-lap, 350-kilometer race will be Custer’s 91st Cup Series start, his 11th on a road course, and his second on the 2.52-mile, 12-turn Sonoma circuit. The 24-year-old native of Ladera Ranch, California, started 23rd and finished 20th in his Cup Series debut at the track last year. His best previous Cup Series finish on a road course was ninth in the October 2020 race on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval en route to that year’s Rookie of the Year honors.
● In his 11 road-course outings in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 2017 through 2019, Custer finished outside the top-10 just once with a best result of fourth in the 2018 race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
● Custer also has top-10s in all three of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series outings on road courses, all at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. His best was his most recent, a second-place run from the pole with a race-high 39 laps led in the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry in 2016. He also made three starts apiece on the road courses at Sonoma and Watkins Glen in NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition, with best finishes of third in the 2016 East Series race at Watkins Glen after having qualified on the pole there the previous year, and fourth in the 2019 West Series race at Sonoma.
● Custer arrives at Sonoma 27th in the driver standings after his 29th-place finish in last Sunday’s inaugural Cup Series race at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, near St. Louis.