(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Cole Custer to Race for SHR in 2017 XFINITY Series

On Friday morning, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Cole Custer, currently racing in the Camping World Truck Series for JR Motorsports, will move up to the XFINITY Series full-time in 2017.  Custer will drive the No. 00 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing.  Sponsorship will continue to be provided by Haas Automation.

Custer is very pleased to continue his move up the NASCAR ladder with Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I’ve really enjoyed the XFINITY Series races I’ve run this year and I’m looking forward to running the full schedule in 2017,” Custer said in a press release.  “It’s a new challenge, and with the resources of Stewart-Haas Racing, I’m in the best position to learn and succeed. I’m grateful for the chance they’ve given me and I plan to make the most of it.

For Custer, driving for Stewart-Haas Racing isn’t new.  When Custer first moved up to the Camping World Truck Series as a 16-year old in 2014, he drove the No. 00 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.  Custer had a dominating win at Loudon from the pole to become the youngest winner in the history of the Camping World Truck Series.  In addition to the win, he ended up with two top 5 and six top 10 finishes.

For Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner, watching Custer race is very familiar.

“I’ve watched Cole grow up on and off the racetrack,” team co-owner Gene Haas stated in the press release.  “He’s found success at every level and represented Haas Automation very well. The XFINITY Series is the next step in his career and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Cole Custer is the son of Joe Custer, a long-time partner of Haas with what is now Stewart-Haas Racing.  Joe Custer’s involvement with the team predates Tony Stewart’s time with the organization.

Custer won’t be going into the XFINITY Series cold turkey.  He’s made three starts this season for JR Motorsports (one in the part-time No. 5 and two in the full-time No. 88).  In those starts, Custer has one top 5 and two top 10 finishes.  The best run was a fourth-place finish at Charlotte in May.

Custer will still finish out the season in JR Motorsports’ No. 00 in the Camping World Truck Series.  There, Custer currently sits ninth in points with four top 5 and seven top 10 finishes.  His best finish of the season was two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, where he won the pole, led 39 laps and was just a turn away from earning the win before now-infamous contact with John Hunter Nemechek occurred, costing him the win.  Custer is 32 points behind Timothy Peters for the final spot in the Camping World Truck Series Chase and likely needs to win in order to qualify.

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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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