Cole Custer
23-Year-Old Driver  
Stewart Haas Racing
2021 Fantasy Outlook
It was an incredibly successful first season of Cup Series racing for Custer. He waged a year-long battle with Tyler Reddick and finally prevailed to win 2020 Rookie of the Year. Custer's one win (Kentucky) and seven Top-10 performance was enough for him to finally pull away from Reddick and win that honor. He'll look to up the ante in 2021 as he and crew chief Mike Shiplett return for season 2 in NASCAR's top division. Custer is as the old cliché goes "the goods". The soon-to-be 23-year old driver is seasoned and skilled beyond his years, and proved to be a quick study behind the wheel in his first full season of Cup Series racing. Things went a bit lean for Custer in the final weeks of the season, but he should rebound nicely this season. If we see improvement and growth similar to other young drivers the past few years, Custer should likely steal another victory and push his Top 10 totals easily into the double digits. Read Past Outlooks
Moves to rear again
June 26, 2021
Custer will use a backup car and start from the rear of the field for Sunday's Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 at Pocono Raceway, Kelly Crandall of reports.
Custer finished last during Saturday's Pocono Organics CBD 325 as he was only able to complete 13 laps due to a wreck after a collision with Brad Keselowski. Custer will need the backup car to race Sunday, and he'll start from the back of the field for the second straight day after failing prerace inspection twice Saturday.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The 21-year-old prospect is ascending to the Cup Series in 2020. Custer is coming off a seven-win Xfinity Series campaign and runner-up points finish last season. The Stewart Haas Racing prodigy has done nothing but win at every stage of his racing development, and now he'll take over the very capable No. 41 Ford team at SHR. Custer brings his Xfinity Series crew chief, Mike Shiplett, in the move up to NASCAR's top division. This is a great move, and that established chemistry should help ease this often difficult transition. Custer piled up eight victories, 31 Top-5 and 50 Top-10 finishes over his last two seasons of racing in the Xfinity Series, so he is ready to take this step up. He won't be ready to win right out of the gate, so development will take some time. We would expect Custer to post rookie season numbers that are modestly better than what Daniel Suarez achieved in the same car last season.
Custer was a little slow to start, but finished last season strong. He would end up with one victory and 26 Top-10 finishes. Custer would pilot the team's Ford in the season finale at Homestead and race for the championship. The SHR youngster put on an impressive show, winning the pole and leading 95 laps, but he would fall second to Tyler Reddick in the race and the championship. It was a great campaign for the 21-year-old and good development of his racing skill. Custer will return to the team and seek the championship again in 2019, although he'll have to do it with a new crew chief. Jeff Meendering moved to Joe Gibbs Racing during the off-season, so Custer will have a new face atop the tool box in the upcoming season.
One of the strongest performing and most impressive drivers of the stretch run last season was Custer. He earned more points (383) than any other driver over the final 10 races of last season. Custer also racked up one win and eight Top-10 finishes during that stretch run. His victory came in the season finale at Homestead and served as an exclamation point on this season, and a peek of the future. Custer wound up an impressive fifth in the final point standings, and that will be a mark to shoot past in 2018. This driver/team/operation gelled at the end of last season, now they're set to impress. We look for Custer to win multiple races in the upcoming season and to challenge for the championship.
This young driver was so talented that Dale Earnhardt Jr. basically started a truck series team from scratch just to give Custer a ride the last two seasons. He opened eyes when he became the youngster winner in NASCAR touring series history at age 16 and that made Earnhardt a believer in his skills. Custer's time in the truck series is now complete with two wins and 24 Top 10's spread across just 42 starts. He'll take over the initial entry into the Xfinity Series by Stewart Haas Racing. This new team and rookie driver will go head-to-head with William Byron for the ROTY honors in 2017. Custer will be teamed with talented crew chief, Jeff Meendering, in the No. 00 Ford team. New teams can be surprising or they can be underperforming. In the case of Custer, his talent should elevate this team quickly to overcome any growing pains.
This skilled young driver makes the jump from part-time competition to full-time competition in this racing series this season. Custer opened eyes in 2014 at the age of 16 when he became the youngest winner in Camping World Truck Series history with his big win at Loudon. Dale Earnhardt Jr. saw enough of the young Californian tearing up the K&N Pro Series in both the East and West to put together a part-time truck series team for him. Custer hasn’t disappointed since given the opportunity. In just 19-combined starts over the last two years, he’s claimed two wins, three poles and 10 Top-10 finishes in those 19 starts. It will be exciting to see what Custer can do in a full 23-race slate. The sky’s the limit for this young driver and strong race team.
More Fantasy News
Starting from rear
June 26, 2021
Custer is starting from the rear in Saturday's Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports.
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Named Rookie of the Year
November 9, 2020
Custer was officially awarded Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series after the conclusion of Sunday's season-ending event at Phoenix Raceway.
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Crash and DNF at Michigan
August 8, 2020
Custer crashed and finished 34th in the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway Saturday afternoon.
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Wins Quaker State 400
July 12, 2020
Custer won the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway Sunday afternoon.
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Fifth-Place at Indy
July 5, 2020
Custer finished fifth in the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon.
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