Custer Closes Out Rookie Season at Phoenix

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November 6, 2020
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Custer Closes Out Rookie Season at Phoenix

Date: Nov. 8, 2020
Event: Season Finale 500 (Round 36 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Phoenix Raceway (1-mile Oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)
Start/Finish: 15th/28th (Running, completed 310 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 16th with 2,202 points

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):             
● Cole Custer started 15th and finished 14th.
● On lap 13, Custer reported his Mustang was a little too free while running 13th.
● During the lap-30 competition caution, Custer pitted from 12th for service and restarted 12th in the HaasTooling.com Mustang.
● On lap 53, the rookie driver reported his Mustang was loose on landing while in the 15th spot.
● Custer pitted from 14th during the stage break for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):             

● Custer started 14th and finished 13th.
● On lap 100, Custer was in the 18th spot and worked his way back up to 15th by lap 125.
● On lap 130, the Ford driver relayed to the crew that his Mustang was not handling well while continuing to run 15th.
● Custer made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 137 from the 15th spot.
● Under caution on lap 161 Custer pitted from 17th for adjustments to help with his exit. He restarted 15th.
● In the closing laps of Stage 2, Custer gained two spots to end it in 13th before pitting for service.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-312):             

● Custer started 20th, finished 28th.
● Custer made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 206 for a loose wheel and returned to the track one lap down.
● The young driver made his final stop on lap 271 for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● On lap 290, Custer was in the 28th spot and ultimately finished in the same position.

 

Notes:
● When the checkered flag dropped on the Season Finale 500, Custer was officially named the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. The 22-year-old racer from Ladera Ranch, California, sealed this accolade when he made a last-lap pass for the win July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer was the only rookie to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs and the first rookie to win a NASCAR Cup Series race since Chris Buescher in 2016.
● This was Custer’s 39th career NASCAR Cup Series start and his second at Phoenix.

 

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

“Not the finish we wanted at Phoenix today, but I have to thank the crew and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, HaasTooling.com and Ford Performance for standing behind me this year. They worked with me and helped me get better this season. I think we have a lot to look forward to next year and we have a lot to build on. It was definitely a rookie season with a lot of peaks and valleys. It was a really interesting season to be a rookie with no practice, no testing or qualifying, so it was a lot of just learning on the fly, but I think we all managed it very well. We had a really good rookie class of me, Tyler (Reddick), Christopher (Bell) and John Hunter (Nemechek). I think we all had really good runs throughout the year and it definitely means a lot to win the Cup Series Rookie of the Year.”

 

Next Up:

The 2021 season kicks off with the 63rd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14 with live coverage from FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.