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NASCAR Cup New Hampshire

Cole Custer: "It would be a dream" to drive for Haas Cup team

Nothing has been formalized, but Cole Custer said he’d “love to” drive for the NASCAR Cup team that his current Xfinity co-owner Gene Haas will operate next season.

Custer's return to the Cup Series at the Haas Factory Team would likely not be a surprise as his father, Joe, will manage the one-Cup, two-Xfinity car operation and Haas Automation has been part of the younger Custer’s entire NASCAR career as a sponsor.

Custer, 26, has made no secret of his desire to return to Cup. He won the Xfinity championship in his return to the series last year and currently leads the series standings this season, although he has yet to win a race.

With qualifying canceled on Friday due to rain, Custer will also start from pole for Saturday's NXS race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“Whenever I went back to this series, my goal was always to go back to cup, you know? So, I’ve been trying to work on what I can do to get myself better over the past year and a half,” Custer said on Friday.

“At the end of the day you try and do as best you can and you hope it all sorts itself out. I really don't have much to say or anything right now.”

Xfinity Champion Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang

Xfinity Champion Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Asked specifically if he would drive for the team Haas has decided to retain for next season if offered the opportunity, Custer said, “Yeah, I mean, I’d love to. You know, that’s what my career has been, I guess is, you know, it’s always tied to – that relationship.

“I think you know what Gene Haas has done in this sport and you know it would be a dream come true to get to run that Cup car. I’ve tried to go back to the Xfinity Series to prove what I can do and try and make the most of it and you just kind of try and hope it all sorts of itself out.”

Originally, Haas and Tony Stewart – who currently co-own Stewart-Haas Racing – issued a joint statement within the last month announcing their plans to close the four Cup team operation at the end of the 2024 season.

On Thursday, Haas said he would continue to operate a NASCAR team in 2025 that not only includes a pair of Xfinity teams, but he would retain one of his Cup teams as well.

The operation will be housed out of the current SHR shop in Kannapolis, N.C., and is expected to retain its alliance with Ford Performance.

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At New Hampshire, it’s almost as if Custer’s career has come full circle.

The 1.058-mile short track was the site of his first NASCAR national series win – a Truck victory when he was just 16 years old.

In just 10 years, Custer has won in the Cup series, has two Truck wins and 13 victories and a championship in Xfinity. He also won once in the ARCA Menards Series, once in ARCA West and has three wins in ARCA East.

“I really didn’t know what I was doing. You know, I was just trying to go out there and hit the gas and go fast, you know, and hopefully you had a car underneath you that could do it,” Custer said of the start of his NASCAR career.

“Now I think you just have so much more knowledge of what goes into it and on the bad days, you’re able to make the most of it. I feel like when you’re that young, it’s like if you get thrown curveball. It’s harder to know what to do to make the most of it.

“As a veteran, you just kind of know how to grind away and, you know, make the most of the day. But that was one of those magical days where you have everything work out right.”

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