FONTANA — This has been a very busy week for Cole Custer leading into today’s NASCAR Xfinity Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway, a track the Ledera Ranch resident labels as his home facility. While this is just his third time competing at the facility, he’s very familiar with the area having competed in midgets at Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino and the now-closed track at Pomona.
In fact, his No. 00 Steward-Haas Racing Ford will be sponsored by Thompson Pipe. It’s a direct tie to his early days as a racer.
“That is a really cool story because I kind of grew up racing with that family,” he said of Ken Thompson. “My quarter midget track shut down in Pomona when I was eight years old and we had nowhere to race and the Thompsons actually built a track that kept me and everybody racing in the Southern California area.
” I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done. Hopefully we can get them in victory lane.”
Custer will go into the 150-lap event third in the points, trailing leader Tyler Reddick by 11 points and four behind Christopher Bell. He posted the seventh fastest practice time on Friday (176.061 mph), with Justin Allgaier leading the session (178.059). Reddick, Bell, Kyle Busch and Noah Gragson completed the top five.
The addition of Mike Shiplett as crew chief has paid quick dividends. Released by Chip Ganassi Racing when the decision was made to end that Xfinity program, Shiplett was quickly signed by SHR. He has recorded one win and five top-10’s at ACS.
“I’m looking forward to working with Cole and refining his talents, see where he needs help and just helping him in those areas so he can win multiple races each year,” Shiplett said.
Custer is optimistic about the race.
“Fontana is always one of the biggest races for me. It’s also one of the most fun tracks we go to as a driver with the multiple lanes and worn out surface,” Custer said. “It’s a place we have had a lot of speed in the past, so hopefully, we can put it all together this time.
“We are solid right now. We are running top-five and have top-five speed. It is just a matter of putting everything together. We have a new crew chief this year and a couple new people, so we are sorting through some things right now and …read more
Source:: Dailynews – News