MOORESVILLE, N.C. — official team release — Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America photo —
JR Motorsports will expand into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for 10 races in 2015 with driver Cole Custer, general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced today.
Custer, who turns 17 this month, became the youngest winner in NASCAR national touring series history last year with a truck series victory in only his seventh start. He and the No. 00 Chevrolet Silverado team will receive primary sponsorship from Haas Automation Inc., the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America.
“This is a new and exciting venture for us,” said Earnhardt Miller. “We have come a long way since racing street stocks in 2002, and we are constantly evolving. Expanding into the truck series on a part-time basis is furthering our growth. Bringing in a talent like Cole and a great partner like Haas Automation is a great way to do that. I’m proud of the direction we’re heading.”
Haas Automation has sponsored Custer for four years. The company was founded in 1983 by industrialist Gene Haas, and it manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers in the company’s one million square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California. Distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets, Haas Automation provides the industry’s best sales, service and support while offering unparalleled cost-to-performance value.
“I’ve watched Cole develop as a driver and young man for several years,” said Haas. “Last year Cole successfully represented Haas Automation, bringing attention to machine tool buyers following the truck series by winning poles and races. When presented the opportunity to sponsor the championship team of JR Motorsports with Cole as the driver, I simply said yes. I have complete confidence in Dale Jr., Kelley, and Cole’s ability to take Haas Automation to victory lane.”
Custer is a native of Ladera Ranch, California. He surged onto the scene in 2014 with a NCWTS win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in only his seventh start, becoming the youngest driver in NASCAR national touring series history to win a race. Earlier in the year he became the youngest to win a pole, as he took the honor at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.
“I’m so excited to get this season started,” said Custer. “With all that JR Motorsports has accomplished over the past few years, we know we have everything needed to go win races and compete. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity with a better organization. I really want to thank Haas Automation, along with Kelley and Dale Jr. for putting this deal together.”
Custer’s trucks will be based out of a JR Motorsports satellite shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. Joe Shear, Jr., will serve as the team’s crew chief. Shear Jr. was Custer’s crew chief in 2014 when they competed in nine truck races with one win, two top-five and six top-10 finishes with two poles. Shear Jr. is a nine-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series.
Custer’s 10-race NCWTS schedule includes races at Martinsville Speedway (March 28), Dover International Speedway (May 29), Gateway Motorsports Park (June 13), Iowa Speedway (June 19), Eldora Speedway (July 22), Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 19), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Aug. 30), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 26), Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 31) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13).
In addition to NCWTS competition, JR Motorsports will field cars in select NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) events in 2015 as part of Custer’s development. Specifics to Custer’s schedule in those two series will be announced at a later date.
CREDIT: JR Motorsports