Ford Performance NASCAR: Cole Custer Kentucky Media Availability Transcript

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Friday, July 10, 2020

COLE CUSTER, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED ALL THE CHANGES GOING ON DURING THE FIRST PART OF THE SEASON? “There’s definitely been a lot of learning, for sure. I think, obviously, these cars are a lot different than what the XFINITY cars were, so trying to wrap your head around that and figure out how to perfect every little thing, whether it’s restarts or passing or how to work traffic or pit road, just anything about it you’re trying to make sure you’re getting 100 percent out of it. Without practice that’s obviously made it a little bit tougher, but I think we’ve adapted as well as we can and it’s just trying to, now I feel like we’re at a good point where we’re putting it all together and starting to get close to where we can kind of perfect all those little things, but you’ve got to do it on a consistent basis and I think we’re getting to that point.”

HOW CHALLENGING IS IT BEING A ROOKIE THIS SEASON WITH ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED? “It’s always gonna be challenging being a rookie, but, at the same time, it’s probably been a little bit tougher this year because you don’t have practice, we didn’t have rookie testing. The cars are a big difference from the XFINITY cars, the Cup cars, so there are just a lot of differences that you’ve got to work through and it’s hard to do that when you don’t have the practice time and stuff like that. Like I said, I feel like we’re in a good spot and I think we’ve gotten to the point where we started to figure all that stuff out, it’s just being consistent with it and starting to perfect it that little bit more.”
American Muscle

YOU START 29TH AT KENTUCKY. WHAT WILL THAT BE LIKE TO GET TO THE FRONT? “I feel like I’ve already spent hours trying to figure that out. It’s definitely gonna be a tough race. Watching the XFINITY race last night, the PJ1 was just so dominant. It looks like it’s gonna be a really dominant top lane kind of race, so that makes it a little bit tough to pass, but, at the same time, the track is gonna be changing throughout the whole weekend, so it’s hard to tell exactly what our race is gonna be like yet. So you’re trying to work through all the different possibilities in your mind of what our race might look like, but, overall, I feel like it’s gonna be a track position race. You’re gonna want to try to get towards the front on restarts and on pit road, and from there you’re just trying to run a solid race without having mistakes.”

WHAT IS THE CHARACTERISTIC OF KENTUCKY AS YOU KNOW RIGHT NOW? “Right now, it’s how the PJ1 changes is huge. It’s gonna change a lot through the weekend and that changes how you work traffic, how you can make passes, which lines you want to run on the short run and long run, so that PJ1 is extremely important in how they put it down. Obviously, it seems like it’s a little bit different every single time they put it down, so it’s just trying to figure that out and make sure you’re getting 100 percent out of it.”

IS THIS RACE BEING IN THE DAY GOING TO BE A CURVEBALL FOR YOU GUYS? “For sure. We’ve definitely talked about it a lot. It’s something that you definitely see a difference in the track, I feel like, when it’s day and when it goes to night, so trying to figure out how you want to adjust your car to kind of a slicker track is gonna be pretty important. And also the biggest difference is we don’t have all the practice sessions before the race to work in the track. You saw that last night with the XFINITY race, there was dust all over. The bottom lane was not worked in very well, so it’s gonna take a little while for that bottom lane to work in, so we’re gonna see how worked in it is by the time we get to our race.”

WAS IT A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR YOU AT INDY PUSHING A TEAMMATE TO THE WIN? HOW NERVEWRACKING WAS IT? “At that point, my best shot was to push Kevin and that might have got me in a better position to try and maybe make a move to try to win the race also. It’s definitely nervewracking. I mean, you’re coming to that line and you’re like, ‘I’ve got to do this right. This is important right here. We need this.’ So I’ve been in those situations before where you’ve got to push people if you’re running up front in the XFINITY cars or the Truck Series or whatever it is, so you have experience doing that kind of stuff, but doing it at this level puts that much more pressure on it and you’re at the Brickyard 400 so you want to make it happen. It was definitely nervewracking, but it was something that we were able to kind of control those nerves and make sure that we do our jobs right.”

IS THERE ANY LESSON YOU CAN TAKE FROM YOUR XFINITY EXPERIENCE AT KENTUCKY AND APPLY TO THE CUP LEVEL? “There’s a lot of differences, honestly, but, at the same time it’s still the same track. It’s a really edgy racetrack because it’s new pavement, it’s a repave, so the tires are a little bit harder. The track takes a little bit of time to get worked in and you have that PJ1, so you’re able to take things from the XFINITY car – what lines kind of worked there and how it changed throughout the weekend – so basic characteristics with the track you’re able to kind of carry over, but, at the same time, the feel in the car is completely different and how you work traffic and things like that.”

DOES HAVING A TALENTED ROOKIE CLASS INSPIRE YOU TO DO BETTER? DOES THAT HEALTHY COMPETITION HELP? “I think so, for sure. I think it pushes all of us to be better because we all want to compete against each other and make sure we’re not falling behind too much. I think it’s just a matter of you still have to focus on yourself most of the time. If you’re focused on other people, you’re not gonna be making yourself better and working on your own problems, but, at the same time, it does push you to make sure you’re pushing yourself as much as you can.”

HAS THERE BEEN ANY DIFFERENCE RACING AT THE CUP LEVEL WITH SHR? “It’s still the same race team. It’s still Stewart-Haas Racing and I feel like we’re a pretty laid-back team that’s kind of a little bit old school, but it’s a different level. There are a lot more competitive cars. People have a lot more experience, so it’s just a matter of trying to get used to all that stuff, but at the core of it I feel like we’re the same race team.”

WHAT DO YOU THING ABOUT THINGS LIKE THE UNDER GLOW LIGHTS AND CONE CHOOSE RULE FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE? “I think it will be cool. Honestly, I think the cone choose rule for restarts will be interesting. It puts the driver’s hands in it more, where somebody is gonna take that chance of going in the other lane or things like that. I think that’s gonna be really interesting. The under glow lights, that’s something that’s pretty cool just to look at, but, overall, I’m pumped up about it. I think we ran pretty good at Bristol before. We unfortunately got wrecked, but I think we can go there and have a strong run and hopefully make it through the open and try and win that thing. I’m looking forward to it.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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