By AMANDA VINCENT
Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Friday via press release that Cole Custer would be the driver of the NASCAR team’s first full-time entry in Xfinity Series competition in 2016. He’ll drive a No. 00 Ford Mustang.
“Cole Custer has accomplished a lot at a very young age and is well-positioned to make the next step to the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” Stewart-Haas Racing Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli said. “Our goal with our Xfinity Series program is to develop young talent, and that includes behind the wheel. Cole has earned this opportunity and we look forward to working with him.”
Custer, a regular in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, already has three-career Xfinity Series starts to his credit, all coming this season in a car fielded by JR Motorsports. In those three races, Custer’s stats include a top-five and two top-10 finishes.
“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. “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.”
The 2016 race season is Custer’s first full-time season of Camping World Truck Series competition. Through 15 races, so far, this year, Custer has four top-fives and seven top-10s. He has two-career wins in the Truck Series in 34-career starts, one each in part-time seasons of 2014 and 2015.
“I’ve watched Cole grow up on and off the race track,” SHR co-owner Gene Haas said. “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.”
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