Cole Custer Notes of Interest:
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
After being the highest-placing XFINITY Series regular in the series’ last race at Texas, do you feel you and your team have built momentum going into Bristol?
“Absolutely. We had a quick car in Texas and I think our Haas Automation Ford Mustang will be fast in Bristol. We have a smart program with a lot of great people.”
Are you a fan of the new bottom groove at Bristol?
“I was sad when they put it down last year because I felt like I figured out the top groove really well the year before, but it’s a new challenge that we’ll have to adapt to. Hopefully, I can learn how to run the car down there. The bottom groove will take Bristol back to what it used to be back in the day, so that’s actually pretty cool.”
How will the Dash 4 Cash play into your race strategy?
“Drivers are probably going to put a lot of focus on the stage points and placing in the top-two at the end of the stages. It will definitely affect our strategy going in, but our ultimate goal is to just stay up front at the end of each stage.”
What does it take to be successful at Bristol?
“You definitely need some speed, and the main thing is that you just have to stay out of trouble, which is hard to do because you’re going so fast. Having a good car going in is crucial to performing well at Bristol.”
Why do you like racing at Bristol?
“It’s something completely different than what we’re used to. There’s so much banking – it’s a concrete track and the grooves usually move around a bit. It’s something that’s unique and hard to figure out but, once you figure it out, it’s really rewarding. It’s one of the coolest places we go. Some of the characteristics from the local short tracks I grew up on apply at Bristol. It’s really quick and you don’t have to deal with as much dirty air, but it’s definitely hard to get used to the high banks and the large amount of rubber buildup. “
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What is your plan for a successful race at Bristol?
“Cole’s been great at short tracks his whole career. I like the idea of the bottom groove so the track has more options for passing. I think Cole’s going to excel at Bristol. We’re going to lean on our Cup guys some and see what has worked for them in the past. It’s not a superfast track, so it’s not as aero-dependent. The difference in aero balance between the XFINITY and Cup cars doesn’t really show up on that track, so you can really use their setups more at Bristol than at an intermediate track.”
What do you think about Bristol being a Dash 4 Cash race and how will that play into your strategy during the race?
“Our downfall in Phoenix was that we didn’t qualify well and that’s going to be really important for the Dash 4 Cash races. We have to put in a good qualifying effort to have a shot at it. There are not enough laps to get in those positions to run for a win when you’re toward the back.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine