KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado for Haas Racing Development (HRD), has been a model of consistency as of late in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He’s scored four consecutive top-10 finishes, and will be looking for a little more magic this weekend as he heads to “The Magic Mile,” better known as New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, for Saturday’s UNOH 175.
New Hampshire was the site of Custer’s second of four NASCAR K&N Pro Series wins. The Ladera Ranch, California native started from the pole and led a race-high 60 laps en route to claiming the checkered flag.
So, it makes sense that Custer will be looking for a little more magic this weekend when he races at New Hampshire for the first time in Camping Word Truck Series competition. A driver with a penchant for getting around quickly on the flat racetracks, it would be tough to rule Custer out of contention this weekend.
In fact, three of Custer’s four K&N Series victories have come at relatively flat racetracks – Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and New Hampshire. Given his history of success on the racetracks that put a premium on driver ability, Custer could be poised for a breakthrough Truck Series victory at The Magic Mile.
Already in NASCAR competition, Custer has set records as the youngest winner in Pro Series history by scoring his first win at Iowa on Aug. 2, 2013, at the age of 15 years, 6 months and 10 days. He followed that up earlier this season by becoming the youngest pole winner in national touring series history at 16 years, 4 months and 22 days when he claimed the honor at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.
A win this weekend would not only be another first for Custer, it would also place his name in the record books as the youngest race winner in Camping World Truck Series history.
COLE CUSTER, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado for Haas Racing Development:
You won a K&N race from the pole at New Hampshire. Talk a little bit about that day.
“Last year at New Hampshire, we were fortunate to have a great racecar. It was a tough race. We led the first few laps, but then had a slow leak in the right-rear tire that dropped us back to sixth or so. We got to change tires at the halfway break, and then it was kind of up to me to fight my way back to the front of the field. The guys gave me a great racecar that day, and we were fortunate enough to pull into victory lane.”
You’ve won races at both New Hampshire and Phoenix, both flat racetracks. What is it about those kinds of racetracks that makes you so good?
“I like those flat racetracks like New Hampshire and Phoenix. They’re fast, they have hard braking points, but still have good grip. You have to be able to roll the center of the corners and get back to the gas hard, but it’s a fun place to race and I’m really looking forward to making my first Truck Series start there this weekend.”
To win the pole and the race in your first start at New Hampshire is really saying something. What was it about the track that you took to so quickly?
“I think New Hampshire suits my driving style. There’s a lot of grip, and you have to get into the gas as hard as you can. You’re driving into the corners as hard as you can. You’re on the brakes hard. I think all of those factors combined really suit my driving style.”
Take us on a lap around New Hampshire.
“You’re going down into turn one and you’re on the brakes really hard. There are some bumps on corner entry that can make it a little challenging, but they aren’t too bad. You need to get off the brakes as quickly as possible to roll the center of the corner. You get back to the gas as quickly as you can, and you try to dip low on corner exit before drifting back up to the wall. Really, turns three and four are very similar. There are bumps getting into three, so you’re kind of repeating the process at both ends of the racetrack.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine