Cole Custer will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He will run double duty for the weekend, driving the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford Fusion in the Cup series and competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race for Stewart-Haas Racing in the No. 00 Ford Mustang.
“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.”
Some of Custer’s NASCAR resume includes becoming the youngest Truck Series pole winner ever at Gateway Motorsports Park in 2014. Later that season, 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. His first career Xfinity Series win came in the 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leading 182 of 200 laps.
Rick Ware Racing has an honorable reputation for bringing new talent into the sport. Just this year, the team has given debut rides to Harrison Rhodes and Justin Marks, finishing 33rd and 12th respectively. Ware has been involved in motorsports competition for 27 years. He talked about scouting Custer and what led him to the decision to hire the up and coming driver to pilot the Cup series Ford car.
“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 some 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 some experience at Las Vegas in NASCAR’s top three touring series. He finished third in the 2016 Truck Series race, 11th in the 2017 Xfinity Series race and ninth in Saturday’s race.
“It’s going to be a new experience for me,” Custer responded, “but I feel that we can have a productive day by completing all the laps and seeing the checkered flag.”
This will be Rick Ware’s 33rd race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series as an owner.