Custer able to overcome early adversity to finish fifth at Texas

John K. Harrelson/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Cole Custer was able to rebound from early problems to finish in the fifth position in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 from Texas Motor Speedway.

Custer was able to qualify second for the race, but a flat right rear tire quickly dropped him from second to 29th in the opening eight laps of the race. With 10 laps in the race, Custer dove down pit road to change the tire. Unfortunately, he was placed a lap down on pit road despite Ty Dillon spinning on Lap 10. Under the caution, Custer was told that his tire had only 11 pounds of air pressure.

By the end of the first stage, Custer was one lap down. Custer and his No. 00 Haas Automation Ford team stayed out and took the wave around. The team needed a caution to come out quickly after the second stage went green. Luckily, the caution flew shortly after for an incident by Angela Ruch coming off turn four. Custer was able to begin his progress towards the front of the field.

By the time the green-checkered flew for the second stage, Custer was able to finish in the seventh position.

“It was a hard day from the start. You couldn’t really do anything about that tire. I was proud about how well we rebounded after that. We had a top-three car, but we didn’t have the track position there. We had a fast car and had some bad luck, there is nothing we can really do.”

In NASCAR, championships are won by how the pit crew are able to overcome adversity. Custer was proud of his crew and how well they overcame the tire issue.

“I think there is nobody that could have breathed on it like we did like championship contenders. That was a really strong run for us with what happened at the beginning of the race. We just got to focus on Phoenix and make it up there.”

Going into the final race of this round in the playoffs, Custer sits 13 points behind the cutoff line that will determine if he will race for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With the playoff picture tight throughout the grid, Custer believes they have a chance to advance.

“It’s pretty tight. Obviously you can make 13 points up in two stages if those guys are just struggling in the middle part of the race. I can’t really be down with our two weekends. We have had good race cars, but have had flat tires in both races. It is what it is. I think there is no reason why we can’t make that back up.”

At Phoenix in the spring, Custer finished in the 21st position after starting ninth on the day.

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