Ford Performance NASCAR: : Championship 4 Media Day (Cole Custer)

Ford Notes and Quotes
Ford 300 Advance (Homestead-Miami Speedway)
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang, is the defending champion of the Ford EcoBoost 300. If he’s able to repeat that victory on Saturday, he’ll also be crowned NASCAR XFINITY Series champion. Custer spoke about his championship hopes during Media Day Thursday in Miami.

COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – DOES IT GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE WITH THE WAY YOU BEAT THE FIELD LAST YEAR AT HOMESTEAD? “Honestly, not really. I think you always have a good game plan going into the weekend because you know how good you were last year and you run off those notes and everything, but, really, you’ve got to think of it as kind of just another weekend. You’ve got to do your homework. You’ve got to do everything right because things always change. I think we have a good plan, but we’ll see what happens.”

DOES THAT WIN GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE? “It definitely helps because we have good notes to rely on and stuff like that, but Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell came here and tested, so they’ve got to be a lot better than they were last year also. We’ll see. There’s always little differences like the bodies and the tire is a little bit different, so you’ve got to adjust for that and do your homework.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THE WEEKEND? “There’s always a little bit of nerves, but I think especially early in the week when you don’t know exactly what to expect, but after you kind of do your homework and do a lot of preparation I think it calms a lot of the nerves and you have a good understanding and plan going in.”

IS THIS TRACK A STRENGTH FOR YOUR TEAM? “Yeah, I mean definitely more than a short track I would say. Mile-and-a-halves have just always been our strongsuit it seems like, so do we have a ton of confidence that we’re just gonna be faster than anybody? No, I think everybody is gonna be fast, but I think we’ll be right there with everybody. I think it’s a track we can compete at and win.”

WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE TO SEE YOUR TEAM DEVELOP THIS YEAR? “It’s nice because you can see the progression of how much better the team has gotten and how much better I’ve gotten. It’s kind of been a work in progress ever since the start, so I think now you can kind of see it all coming together.”

WERE YOU SURPRISED TO WIN AT HOMESTEAD LAST YEAR? “I was definitely surprised just because we hadn’t done that yet. We hadn’t won. That was our first win, so to do it in that kind of style was pretty huge. You just never expect to do something like that. I think it’s kind of a once in a lifetime type thing.”

HOW BIG WAS THAT WIN AT TEXAS? “It was definitely big because we had been searching for a win all year and had been so close, so to finally get it was pretty big, and to do it in the style that we got it to where it was close and we had to really work for it, I think that was definitely fulfilling.”

HAS IT BEEN SORT OF DISAPPOINTING NOT TO HAVE MORE WINS THIS YEAR? “I think we all wanted to get more wins, but I think also we were kind, if you look at our stats compared to last year I think we have twice the number of top 10s and twice the number of top fives. We’ve run way better we just haven’t really got the wins, but also last year we didn’t win that much and when we did win it was by a ton, by a huge margin and it’s hard to replicate that. I think we’ve done a good job this year, we just kind of have to keep working and keep trying to finish strong.”

ARE YOU PROUD OF HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO PERFORM LAST YEAR? “Oh, for sure just because we had no notebook to work off of last year really. We were making a manufacturer change and it was a rookie crew chief and rookie driver, so it was just a lot of unknowns and a lot of we just didn’t know what to expect and we did our best, and I think we did a great job, it’s hard to do that in the first year.”

HAS TONY GIVEN YOU ANY ADVICE THIS WEEK? “I haven’t talked to Tony yet. I’m gonna try and talk to him before the race, but he’s obviously probably one of the best to talk to just because of how that one race in 2011 that he won is as good as it gets for a high-pressure situation and having to do your job, so he’ll definitely be one that I’ll want to try and ask some questions.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE TITLE? “It would mean a lot. It would be huge. That’s what our team wants and we’ve worked so hard for it throughout the last two years trying to build our program, so it would be very fulfilling for our whole team for how hard everybody has worked to get us to where we’re at right now to win a championship.”

DOES LAST YEAR’S WIN GIVE YOU AN EDGE? “Not really just because Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick got to come down here and test, so they obviously probably made their cars better. We have a really good notebook to work off of, but things always change. The bodies are a little bit different. The tires are a little bit different, so we have to adjust for those things. I think we can make our car just as good as Christopher and Tyler, it’s just we’ve got to do it at a little bit shorter time span because they got to go to the test.”

DOES THAT WIN GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE GOING IN? “It’s confidence that you know that you can get the job done, but blind confidence isn’t gonna help you. I think doing the preparation and doing the homework is what’s going to help you more.”

IS THERE ANY REASON WHY YOU CAN’T WIN THIS WEEKEND? “I think there’s no reason why we can’t. I’ve watched a lot of film and a lot of old races, just trying to get an idea of every situation that I’m gonna be put in and what to do in it and I’m pretty confident that I know what my plan is and that’s it’s good, but now it’s just me executing it. We’ve also looked at a lot of old races with our cars and stuff that’s changed, and I think we have a good idea of how to unload for this weekend.”


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