MOORESVILLE, N.C. — official team release — Matt Hazlett/Getty Images North America photo —
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for JR Motorsports (JRM), will compete in five NASCAR Xfinity Series events this season, the team announced on Tuesday.
Haas Automation will sponsor Custer in four of the five races with Cessna receiving primary branding at Kentucky Speedway.
The 18-year-old Californian will make his debut in the No. 5 Chevrolet next month at Richmond International Raceway (April 23) in a fourth entry for JRM. Custer then transitions to the No. 88 Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28) and Kentucky Speedway (July 8). He’ll return to the seat of the No. 5 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 7) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19).
“Cole is a driver who has shown a lot of potential,” said team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “He is fast and tenacious, he leads laps and wins races; everything you want out of a driver no matter how much experience they have. We take a lot of pride in helping guys advance their careers towards their ultimate goal of racing in the Cup Series. Cole is on that path and I’m happy that we’re able to put him in our cars to help in that process.”
After spending 2015 competing part-time in the NCWTS with JRM, Custer embarked on his first full-time season in 2016. In 12 starts for the team, Custer has amassed one win (Gateway Motorsports Park), two top-five and four top-10 finishes, with one pole.
“Seat time is critical to development as a driver, and the more I can get, especially with a team like JRM, the faster that development will go,” said Custer, who will graduate from high school in May. “This is a great opportunity for me to get more laps, get used to the equipment, and compete at another level.”
With two career NCWTS victories to his credit, Custer stands as the youngest winner in NASCAR national tour series history, accomplishing the feat in 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. By virtue of a pole in the NCWTS race at Martinsville Speedway last fall with JRM, he became the youngest pole winner in the track’s storied history.
CREDIT: JR Motorsports