Ford Performance NASCAR: California (Cole Custer Media Availability)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Friday, February 28, 2020
EVENT: NASCAR Cup Series Media Availability

COLE CUSTER, No. 41 Haas/ Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang

ARE YOU CURIOUS TO FIND OUT HOW A FORMULA 1 CAR DRIVES? “It is cool to have the Formula 1 team there. It is pretty different. It isn’t something on my radar now. I am pretty focused on NASCAR. What those guys do is pretty impressive. It might be cool to race one someday.”

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WAS LAST WEEK SORT OF YOUR, “WELCOME TO THE CUP SERIES” MOMENT? HOW DID YOU DIGEST ALL THAT IN THE WEEK AFTERWARDS? “Yeah, we definitely want to run a lot better than that. I think we have cars that are capable of winning. It is just a matter of trying to figure out the differences in the cars and make your best guess and study as much as you can before the race. I guessed wrong. Going into it this week you are able to look at a lot of data and things. I have learned a ton since last week and it is just a matter of taking advantage of all that and trying to perfect everything as good as you can.”

WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO GO TO PHOENIX FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH THIS PACKAGE? “I am looking forward to the short tracks. I think the changes they made on the aero side will help the racing a lot from what it seems like from last year. At the same time it is still going to be a little new to me but closer to what the Xfinity cars were last year. I am really looking forward to that and seeing what the short track package is going to be like. It is something I think I can adapt to a little better because it will be a little more similar.”

WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED IN YOUR TWO WEEKS RUNNING THE CUP SERIES? WHAT ARE THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES YOU HAVE SEEN BETWEEN THE CUP SERIES AND XFINITY SERIES WHERE YOU WERE ONE OF THE DOMINANT DRIVERS? “I think for me it is getting used to the cars. They are a lot different especially with the 550 package and how you work the throttle and everything, how you are going to do that is a lot different than Xfinity. At the same time, you make one little mistake and are a little off in one area you will lose a ton of spots. Everybody here is pushing it to the limit. Everyone in the top-25 is probably capable of winning races. It is a matter of trying to perfect every part of it.”

WHEN YOU SEE A WRECK LIKE RYAN NEWMAN HAD AT DAYTONA AND HE WALKS OUT OF THE HOSPITAL TWO DAYS LATER, CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE SAFETY FEATURES OF THESE CARS AND HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL? “It is definitely pretty amazing that he was able to walk away after two days in the hospital. We are all very thankful for that. It is a testament to how far the safety has come in NASCAR. That is about as bad as it gets and to see him probably make a full recovery is pretty awesome. At the same time it awakened us again that it is a dangerous sport and things can happen and it is a matter of making sure that we are taking advantage of all the safety innovations we have had.”

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST COMEUPPANCE SINCE YOU HAVE COME TO THE CUP SERIES AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN LAST WEEK AT VEGAS THAT MIGHT TRANSFER TO ATLANTA? “Honestly, it is just this 550 package. That is probably what I have learned the most about and how you want to work the throttle and traffic. Just everything. I think you can look at so much data now with all the different stuff we have. Every single aspect of the race you can look at stuff. Coming back this weekend it is a matter of trying to perfect those areas. If you are a little off in one area you will get eaten up. It is a matter of trying to perfect all those.”

AND HOW ABOUT ATLANTA? “Some. It is the 550 package and 1.5 mile track but one is really worn out and one is not worn out. There are a good amount of differences but I think our package will be pretty similar from race to race.”

WHAT IS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND COMING TO YOUR HOME STATE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE CUP SERIES? “I guess for me, I just want to go out there and be competitive. That is all you want as a race car driver. At the same time, I don’t know. I won here last year. It is a track I have always felt really comfortable at. The worn out bigger race tracks are always better for me. At the same time, you have to put as much effort and preparation as you can into it. That is what we have done this week. It is just a matter of trying to perfect it while we are out there.”

WHAT DO YOU DO ON YOUR OFF TIME? “Just hanging out with friends is the biggest thing for me. I will go golf. I am not a good golfer but I go do it. I go to the lake. We have Lake Norman right there in Charlotte. Just being with friends and hanging out for a little bit I guess.”

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF LEARNING FROM YOUR TEAMMATES LIKE? “In the past I have talked a lot with Kevin (Harvick) and he has run a good amount of Xfinity stuff. My rookie year in Xfinity I talked to him every single week trying to get an idea of what to expect going to the track. I was trying to do that this year also, trying to talk with him as much as I can. Clint (Bowyer) and Aric (Almirola) have been very helpful also. If I have any questions they have been extremely helpful. I have some of the best teammates out there. At the same time, if you ask four people you are probably going to get four different answers. So you filter through what everybody means. Sometimes they say things differently but mean the same thing. It is a matter of trying to understand all of it and see how it works for you.”

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