NASCAR XFINITY Series Overview
Event: Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 (Round 24 of 33)
Date: Sept. 2, 2017
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
Layout: 1.366-mile oval
Cole Custer Notes of Interest
Cole Custer, Driver Q&A
How special is it to honor Sam Ard in the official throwback weekend of NASCAR at Darlington Raceway?
“The 00 number has been part of my entire NASCAR career and, over the years, I’ve gotten to know its history and met some of the people who worked with Sam and saw him race. The more I learn about Sam and all that he accomplished, the more impressive it becomes. I feel like I’m driving his car and I want to make him and his family proud. Guys like Sam Ard helped shape the sport into what it is today. Without him, I don’t know if the opportunity to drive racecars for a living would exist. I’m grateful for it and I’d like him and his family to know it. I would like to emulate his actions on and off the track. Usually, the guys who dominate the series aren’t the most liked drivers. Sam Ard was a rare case where fans actually cheered for a driver who won so much. He was respected on the track and all through the garage.”
What are your thoughts on the throwback-themed race weekend at Darlington?
“I think the throwback weekend is something that NASCAR and Darlington need to keep doing. It’s really good for the sport right now. It takes us back to our roots and reminds us of where this sport came from. Being able to honor people like Sam Ard, who helped pioneer the sport, is humbling.”
What are your expectations coming to Darlington Raceway for the first time?
“We’re just hoping Sam’s success rubs off on us a little bit this weekend. Hopefully there’s still some luck left in that 00 paint scheme. We tested a pretty good Haas Automation Ford Mustang there so I’m optimistic about the weekend and we’re going to do all we can to keep it up front. It was funny, though. The first day of testing I didn’t hit the wall. The second day I hit the wall just about an inch on my rear-quarter panel. Then I hit a foot, and then the whole quarter panel. I hit it about three times, but never too bad. That’s why they call it a test, though.”
What were your initial thoughts on Darlington when you tested, and what did you learn to bring back in the Sport Clips VFW 200?
“My first impression of Darlington was that it was just a real racetrack. Darlington is a place where you really have to drive it and you really have to be up on the wheel and pay respect to every single lap out there. It’s a really cool place to run and its’s challenging. I wish we had more tracks like Darlington.”
Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A
What are your thoughts on the No. 00 throwback paint scheme and do you think you will have the same success Sam Ard did?
“I’m really excited we chose to run this paint scheme. It is an honor to support such an iconic era of racing where Sam Ard dominated the XFINITY Series and helped pioneer the sport. We should have a lot of people cheering for us in Sam’s home state. We had a good test at Darlington in May so, hopefully, we can make his family and all of his fans proud.”
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