Another up-and-coming driver is getting a shot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Cole Custer will make his MENCS debut in two weeks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Pennzoil 400, piloting the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware Racing.
Haas Automation will sponsor Custer.
The Ladera Ranch, Calif., native is guaranteed to be in the field, as RWR has a charter that was bought it from Richard Petty Motorsports prior to the start of the season.
Custer has two starts at Las Vegas in his NASCAR career, finishing third in the 2016 Camping World Truck Series race and 11th in last year’s XFINITY Series event.
“This is a dream come true to compete in the Cup Series,” Custer said in a team release. “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.”
Justin Marks wheeled the No. 51 to a 12th-place finish in last week’s Daytona 500. Harrison Rhodes is scheduled to make his Cup Series debut this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, followed by Custer in Sin City.
“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 are amazing people. Over the last couple years, Cole has grown into a stout racecar driver with a fine finesse for speed and rhythm.
“The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is home of someone of the greatest racecar drivers in the world, and Cole definitely fits into that category. 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 currently drives the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing in the XFINITY Series and did so last season as well, capping off his rookie season with a dominant victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway and a fifth-place finish in the point standings. Prior to his NXS career, he drove the No. 00 truck for JR Motorsports and participated in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
The Pennzoil 400 will take place on March 4, with the green flag scheduled to fly around 3:30 p.m. ET. Television coverage will be on FOX.