Stewart-Haas Racing: Charlotte NXS Advance (Cole Custer | Riley Herbst)

COLE CUSTER | RILEY HERBST
Charlotte NASCAR Xfinity Series Advance
NASCAR Xfinity Series Overview

  • Event: Alsco Uniforms 300 (Round 12 of 33)
  • Date: Saturday, May 27
  • Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway
  • Layout: 1.5-mile oval
  • Time/TV/Radio: 1 p.m. EDT on FS1/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Cole Custer Notes of Interest

  • Custer welcomes a new partner this weekend to the No. 00 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as it takes to the 1.5-mile Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway oval for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300. Adorning the hood of Custer’s racing machine for the first time will be 3D Systems, which more than 35 years ago brought the innovation of 3D printing to the manufacturing industry. Custer is ready to get back to work after his third-place finish two weekends ago at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, his fifth consecutive finish of seventh or better, a streak that includes another third-place finish April 15 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, a fourth-place result April 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and a fifth-place finish April 1 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. The seventh-place result came April 29 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway.
  • Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte will mark Custer’s sixth career Xfinity Series start at the track. All but one of his five previous visits to the track resulted in top-10 finishes. Best of those was his runner-up finish to Brad Keselowski in May 2018 after qualifying second and leading 29 laps. In his most recent Charlotte visit, Custer again qualified second and led 24 laps, including 17 in the opening stage. A cut tire late in the race forced him to settle for a 24th-place result. Custer made his Xfinity Series debut at the track with an fourth-place finish in the May 2016 race. He finished seventh and sixth in the spring and fall 2017 races, respectively. He has an additional four Charlotte starts in the NASCAR Cup Series with a best result of 12th in May 2020, and one in the NASCAR Truck Series start that resulted in a 13th-place finish in May 2016.
  • As the leading additive manufacturing solutions partner, 3D Systems brings innovation, performance, and reliability to every interaction – empowering its customers to create products and business models never before possible. Thanks to its unique offering of hardware, software, materials, and services, each application-specific solution is powered by the expertise of 3D Systems’ application engineers who collaborate with customers to transform how they deliver their products and services. The company’s solutions address a variety of advanced applications in healthcare and industrial markets such as medical and dental, aerospace and defense, automotive, and durable goods. More information on the company is available at www.3dsystems.com.

Riley Herbst Notes of Interest

  • In 2016, at just 17 years old, a young Riley Herbst packed up his things and moved by himself more than 2,200 miles from his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, to the Charlotte area to pursue his NASCAR dream. In Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300, he’ll mark his 121st career Xfinity Series start as he climbs behind the wheel of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for SHR. Herbst’s 2023 season started strong with six consecutive top-10s in the first six races for the 24-year-old driver. In the past six races, however, Herbst has repeatedly been the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting caught up in incidents not of his own doing. He looks for a reset coming off the Xfinity Series off weekend to turn his fortunes back in a positive direction.
  • Herbst had the need for speed when the Xfinity Series came to the Charlotte oval in May 2021 after finishing 12th in the previous May’s race without the benefit of practice or qualifying due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The May 2021 race weekend was his first at the track with practice and qualifying, and the No. 98 Monster Energy team rolled off the hauler with a fast racecar. Herbst topped the speedcharts in practice, then followed it up setting the fastest lap in qualifying and earning his first career Xfinity Series pole. In the 200-lap race, Herbst struggled with an ill-handling racecar but finished 12th for the second year in a row after leading seven laps.
  • The Alsco Uniforms 300 will mark Herbst’s fourth Xfinity Series start on the Charlotte oval. After his 12th-place finishes in May 2020 and 2021, Herbst was plagued last May by cut tires in both qualifying and the race, which he finished 25th. Herbst has two starts in the ARCA Menards Series at Charlotte with a best finish was second in May 2018, when he missed going to victory lane by just .293 of a second behind his now fellow Xfinity Series regular Brandon Jones. In his career, Herbst has earned 19 top-fives and 60 top-10s in the Xfinity Series. His best career finish is second, earned twice – in February 2020 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and July 2020 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 3D Systems Ford Mustang

A lot of drivers have commented that the Memorial Day race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the most underrated race of the season. What is it about this track during this time of the year that is so favorable to drivers?

“I think the racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway is just getting better and better, mostly because it’s starting to age. It’s getting to that point where the tires are starting to wear and you’re having to move around the track a lot, especially during the daytime. You’re slipping and sliding all around and you’re running against the wall. Charlotte can be a lot of fun for a driver, but it can also bite you in some instances. I think it’s just becoming one of the better mile-and-a-half racetracks just because it’s aging.”

This weekend, you’re welcoming a new partner with 3D Systems on your No. 00 Ford Mustang. What does their support mean to you and your career?

“It’s awesome to have 3D Systems on the car at Charlotte. We’re getting to run some new colors that you don’t typically see on the No. 00 Ford Mustang. I can’t thank them enough for their support. Hopefully, we can give 3D Systems a good run at Charlotte. Their printers have been huge for what we do around the shop. The plan is to run well all weekend and get their car in victory lane.”

Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang

In the past, you’ve mentioned how the May race in Charlotte is one of your favorites and probably the most underrated race on the schedule. Why so?

“Charlotte is one of the most underrated races on the schedule. No one realizes how difficult it can be to drive a daytime race at Charlotte at the start of the summer months. This track is slick in the sun and you’re slipping and sliding all over it. Sure, it can bite you, but it can also be one of the most fun races of the year if you can stay out of trouble. We qualified on the pole here back in 2021 and were fast last year in practice. Although we had a little bit of trouble in qualifying, I think we can still find that speed that we’ve had, if not more. I’m excited to put the bad luck behind us and run well at Charlotte.”

What do you need to do in order to get your season back to the form you and the team exhibited throughout the first six races of the season?

“We just have to stay out of trouble. Honestly, we haven’t lacked speed or determination. It just seemed like when one thing went wrong, it all went wrong. This string of bad runs is just a string of bad luck and being in situations that were out of our control. I know that I have what it takes to win in the Xfinity Series and the No. 98 Monster Energy team deserves to be in victory lane. We’re putting it all together and competing for wins, but now we just have to keep ourselves out of bad situations.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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