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Cole Custer to make Monster Energy NASCAR Cup debut at Las Vegas

UPDATE: THOMASVILLE, N.C. – Officials from Rick Ware Racing (RWR) confirmed today that NASCAR Next alumnus Cole Custer will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) debut March 2-4 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Custer, a native of Ladera Ranch, California, will drive the team’s No. 51 Ford Fusion while also competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Haas Automation, Inc., America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools, will continue its support of Custer and serve as the primary sponsor of RWR’s No. 51 Ford in the March 4 race.

2018 51 29
ole Custer will make his Cup debut at Las Vegas in March, driving the #51 for Rick Ware Racing. Rick Ware Racing

Starting his racing career at the age of four, Custer has been successful in every form of motorsports competition. From quarter midgets to Late Models to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, the 20-year-old has proven himself as a winner.

Some of Custer’s NASCAR accolades including becoming the youngest Truck Series pole winner ever at Gateway (Ill.) Motorsports Park. Five events later, he became the youngest winner in the history of NASCAR’s national touring series at 16 years, 7 months and 28 days when he won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

Custer also scored his first-career Xfinity Series win with a dominating performance in the 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leading 182 of the event’s 200 circuits in his 38th career series start.

"This is a dream come true to compete in the Cup Series," said Custer. "I can’t thank Rick Ware Racing and Haas Automation enough for the opportunity to race at Las Vegas. It’s going to be a new experience for me, but I feel that we can have a productive day by completing all the laps and seeing the checkered flag."

Ware, a mainstay in motorsports competition for 27 years, says Custer is a superstar in the making and is grateful for the opportunity to work with him.

"I’ve been watching Cole a long time and he’s a fine young man," Ware said. "I’ve been friends with the Custer family for a while now and they are truly are amazing people. Over the last couple years Cole has grown into a stout race car driver with a fine finesse for speed and rhythm.

"The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is home of someone of the greatest race car drivers in the world and Cole definitely fits into that category. I think our expectations as a team are realistic and achievable. Getting Cole to the checkered flag is our top priority as a race team."

Custer has two career starts at Las Vegas – one in the Truck Series and one in the Xfinity Series. He finished third in the 2016 Truck Series race and 11th in the 2018 Xfinity Series race.

To commemorate Custer’s Cup debut, RWR through Lionel will offer a die-cast of the No. 51 Haas Automation Ford Fusion available for purchase to the general public in the coming weeks.

In December, RWR announced that they had secured a charter from Richard Petty Motorsports securing the team a berth not only into the Daytona 500 but the remaining 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events in 2018 as well.

— Rick Ware Racing —

Original post: 2-18-2018 Cole Custer will make his Monster Energy Cup Series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, sources have told motorsport.com.

Custer will pilot the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware Racing in the Pennzoil 400. An announcement is expected later this week.

The 20-year-old Ladera Ranch, California, native is currently in his second full season in the Xfinity Series with Stewart-Haas Racing. Custer won his first NXS race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his 38th-career NXS start behind the wheel of the No. 00 Ford.

Custer made his Xfinity Series debut with JR Motorsports in 2016. He returned to SHR last year and credits Ford Performance for expediting his growth in NASCAR racing.