Cole Custer will compete for the XFINITY Series Championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished 2nd Saturday at ISM Raceway.
COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE 7? "I kind of struggled with the brake pedal all day. I was just saving my brakes until like 15 to go and I just let it have it there at the end. I got to close in, but I didn’t quite have enough. Our Haas Automation Mustang, I mean that was probably the best we’ve been at Phoenix so far, but we just kind of struggled trying to get the whole run together."
THOUGHTS ON GOING TO HOMESTEAD WITH A CHANCE TO WIN THE TITLE? "I think we can go there and win. There’s no reason why we can’t. Last year we led the most laps and this year we’re probably better, so I think we can go there and really compete for a championship."
YOU CLINCHED YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP 4 SPOT AFTER STAGE 2. DID THAT MAKE THE FINAL STAGE ANY LESS STRESSFUL? "I didn’t know that we clinched in the second stage, so I guess not. I knew we just had to kind of have a solid day and that’s kind of what we did. I think that’s the best we’ve run at Phoenix in a long time. I was happy with our day it’s just a matter of we just need a little bit more. I’m looking forward to Homestead. We’ve been really fast there the last two years and it’s just a matter of trying to put the whole race together and I think we know how to do that, it’s just a matter of us executing it."
HOW HAS IT BEEN TO GO THROUGH A WHOLE YEAR TO GET BACK TO THIS POINT? "That means a lot. As race car drivers we do have a good idea of how to reset and focus on the next week, so I think throughout the season you’re just worrying about what’s going on, but at the same time when it comes down to the playoffs and you get closer and closer to Miami you kind of start to remember what it was like being at the banquet last year finishing second and just watching Tyler drive away from me on the wall there at the end of the race, so I think we want to go back there and win."
DRIVERS NEVER FORGET, RIGHT. "You’re always gonna remember it, but we have a good idea how to focus on the next weekend. We can forget about it probably whenever we want to, but it’s just a matter of you’re gonna remember it the rest of your life for sure whenever it comes up."
DOES NEXT WEEK IMPACT YOUR 2020 PLANS WIN OR LOSE? "Not that I know of. I’m not sure what we’re doing yet, so we’ll see. Hopefully, we have something soon. Right now, we have a really big week ahead going to Homestead and trying to win a championship, so we’ll see what happens."
HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT THE CONCERN OF YOUR COMPETITION AT HOMESTEAD? "Honestly, you can’t really think about it that way. I think we’ve been extremely fast the last couple years there and I think Tyler probably did run the wall a little bit better than I did at the end of the race and they probably set their car up a little bit better to run the wall, so I think going there this time we’re gonna think a little bit more about that, but at the same time I think we’ve just got to go out there and do what we’ve done the last two years and go there with a full focus and intensity. There’s nobody who is going to be faster than us, it’s just who can execute the better race."
DO YOU HAVE A NEW CAR? "We have a car, I’m sure, that’s really good. Nowadays they kind of just knock the cars out. They’re not really where one is a lot better than the other. You kind of have a short track car or an intermediate car, but you really don’t. All of our cars are good. I don’t really worry about it."
SO YOU AND TYLER DON’T HATE EACH OTHER? "We already took a picture facing off with each other with Claire B., so I think it’s all good."
ANY HELP FROM THE CUP SIDE TO HELP YOU FOR HOMESTEAD? "I think when we look at all our teams it’s hard to compare everything, but you can compare tire data and the air pressures and stuff like that, and there’s philosophies that you kind of have going on, but at the same time there’s a lot of stuff that’s different. I wouldn’t say we really base a ton off our Cup teams. We try and just get a little bit of help here and there."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT JUSTIN ALLGAIER IN THE FINAL? "I think everybody in our series sees Justin as kind of a bulldog. He’s really good on restarts and he’s gonna make the most of his car and be really aggressive. They’ve probably struggled a little bit more for speed than our teams probably have at the mile-and-a-halves, so we’ll see if they can make their cars a little better coming to Homestead, but obviously it’s anybody’s game. You just have to put it together for one race, so we’ll see."
THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL STAGE? "I didn’t know we were locked in after stage two. I didn’t get that memo. I knew we needed a solid day and that’s what we did. I knew I had to save my brakes anyway that last stage, so I don’t really know if that made a difference."
— Ford Performance —