Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Cole Custer Moving to Cup Series with Stewart-Haas in 2020

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The tagline of the NASCAR Xfinity Series is ‘Names are Made Here,’ but given the recent advancements of some of the series’ biggest stars, it should be ‘Moving on Up.’

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer is the latest to make the move to the Cup Series in 2020, joining fellow championship contenders Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell in NASCAR’s top division next year.

Reports of Custer’s move broke out on Thursday, but the driver of the No. 00 Ford shrugged off the news, electing instead to focus on the championship battle unfolding this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Right now, I’m just trying to focus on the championship,” Custer said Thursday. “I’ve really tried to kind of stay out of it, I mean, honestly, this is a really big weekend for us, I mean to win a championship in the Xfinity Series, so if we can do that that’s probably my focus this next week.

The team made the news official on Friday morning, solidifying their four-car lineup for next season.

“This is the moment I’ve worked for ever since I first started racing,” Custer added about his move, when it became official. “I’ve learned a lot in these last three years in the Xfinity Series, and to be able to stay within Stewart-Haas Racing will make a steep learning curve a little less steep. I know the people, the culture and what’s expected of me. I’m ready for this challenge.”

The 21-year old Ladera Ranch, Calif. native first entered the Xfinity Series full-time in 2017, winning nine races along the way, seven of which have come this season. Custer has finished in the top-five in points each season, with a runner-up finish in the championship last year.

“I was asked last year about this time what Cole needed to do to earn his place in the NASCAR Cup Series, and I said he needed to win,” said Gene Haas, Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner. “Well, Cole has done that – a lot. He showed that he’s ready to compete at the next level and we’re giving him that opportunity.”

“Cole has certainly earned his spot in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020,” Tony Stewart added. “He’s consistently running up front, leading laps and winning races. The level of competition increases dramatically in the NASCAR Cup Series, but it’s where Cole belongs after having proven himself in the Xfinity Series.”

Custer will take over for Daniel Suarez in the No. 41 Ford, who took to social media on Thursday night to give a message to his fans about his tenure with SHR coming to an end on Sunday.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.