By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
NASCAR’s youth movement continues as Cole Custer will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Custer will drive the No. 51 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Rick Ware Racing at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. The Ladera Ranch, CA native will also compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Stewart-Haas Racing.
At Las Vegas Custer has two starts. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the NASCAR Next alumnus finished third while competing for JR Motorsports in 2016. In 2017, Custer finished 11th for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“This is a dream come true to compete in the Cup Series,” said Custer. “I can’t thank Rick Ware Racing and Haas Automation enough for the opportunity to race at Las Vegas. It’s going to be a new experience for me, but I feel that we can have a productive day by completing all the laps and seeing the checkered flag.”
Custer became the youngest pole winner in the NASCAR Truck Series history in 2014 at Gateway Motorsports Park. That year Custer also became the series’ youngest winner at 16 years, 7-months, and 28 days old at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“I’ve been watching Cole a long time and he’s a fine young man,” Ware said. “I’ve been friends with the Custer family for a while now and they are truly amazing people. Over the last couple years Cole has grown into a stout race car driver with a fine finesse for speed and rhythm.”
Custer will be the third driver in three races for Rick Ware Racing. Justin Marks started the season for the team in Daytona. At Atlanta, Harrison Rhodes made his Premier Series debut.
“The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is home of someone of the greatest race car drivers in the world and Cole definitely fits into that category,” Ware continued. “I think our expectations as a team are realistic and achievable. Getting Cole to the checkered flag is our top priority as a race team.”
Custer will not have to worry about qualifying as Rick Ware Racing acquired a charter from Richard Petty Motorsports. Now, while he focuses on a run at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship, Custer will prepare for his Cup Series debut in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube on March 4.