Saturday, July 20, 2024

Cole Custer returning to Cup Series at Atlanta

Cole Custer is having a pretty good three days. After winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ weather-shortened Chicago Street Race that technically lasted two days despite not racing on Sunday, Monday brought the news that Rick Ware Racing has signed him for the next three Cup Series races. He will drive the #51 Ford Mustang at Atlanta Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Pocono Raceway.

“It’s great to be getting back into a Cup car again,” said Custer. “I can’t thank Rick Ware Racing enough for this opportunity. RWR is building a solid programme and I’m happy to help keep it growing in the right direction. It’s fun to be part of their group and hopefully we’ll have some solid runs together.”

Custer made his Cup debut with RWR in 2018 on a three-race schedule, impressing in his third race when he qualified tenth. He graduated to the top level full-time in 2020 with Stewart-Haas Racing and scored a surprise win at Kentucky en route to a playoff appearance and Rookie of the Year honours. However, he struggled over the next two years and was demoted back to the Xfinity level for 2023.

Despite a slow start to the Xfinity season, he is riding a ten-race streak of top tens that began at the start of April. This included winning at Portland followed by Chicago, and he currently sits third in points.

He also worked with RWR’s Xfinity programme in 2021, which was fielded in conjunction with SS-Green Light Racing.

“We have put a lot of effort into elevating our programme the past two years and having Cole come race with us again is great for the team,” commented team owner Rick Ware. “He has won at every level he’s competed in and is having a strong season in the Xfinity Series this year. We’re hoping to capitalise on the momentum of Cole winning two of the last three NXS races, and we look forward to getting started together in Atlanta.”

The #51 is thirty-third in owner points. Cody Ware began the season as the car’s full-time driver until his arrest and suspension after seven races, from which the car has been split between six drivers besides Custer: Matt Crafton, Todd Gilliland, Andy Lally, Ryan Newman, Zane Smith, and J.J. Yeley. Yeley finished eleventh at Talladega for the #51’s best run so far.