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Cole Custer: 'It Would be a Dream Come True' to be Named Haas Factory Team Cup Driver

While Cole Custer's NASCAR Cup Series future looked bleak with the announcement of Stewart-Haas Racing closing down, his stock is all of a sudden on the rise with great performances in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and Gene Haas announcing that he'll remain a Cup team owner in 2025.


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Cole Custer is very focused on the current task at hand, which is defending his 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. Heading into this weekend's SciAps 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the site of his first career NASCAR National Series win back in 2014, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver maintains a slim one-point advantage in the Xfinity Series regular season championship standings.

But while he's ready to get on track in an effort to extend his points lead this weekend, Custer also has to have the future on his mind -- he'd be crazy not to. Following a three-year stint in the NASCAR Cup Series, Custer was dropped back to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The tenacious racer has had his sights set on doing whatever it takes to return to the NASCAR Cup Series ever since.

“I think for me, whenever I went back to the Xfinity Series, my goal was always to go back to Cup," Custer admitted in a media availability at New Hampshire on Friday. "So, I've been trying to work on what I can do to get myself better over the past year and a half. At the end of the day, you try and do as best you can and you hope it all sorts itself out. But I really don't have much to say or anything right now that's solidified or anything."

Stewart-Haas Racing, Custer's current race team, will close down at season's end, but Gene Haas surprisingly announced that he will still remain a team owner in the sport in 2025 as he will retain one NASCAR Cup Series charter for a newly created Haas Factory Team.

While there are no guarantees, this could signal a path for Custer, who has made it to the pinnacle of the NASCAR National Series ranks before, to return to the NASCAR Cup Series next year.

Custer's father Joe Custer, who has served as Chief Operating Officer of Stewart-Haas Racing, will serve as the team president for the new Haas team next season. And when the elder Custer was asked by FOX Sports' Bob Pockrass if his son was a candidate for the Haas Factory Team Cup ride, Joe Custer told Pockrass to ask Custer. Pockrass did just that.

“Yeah, I'd love to," Custer answered. "At the end of the day, that's what my career's been, I guess. It's always tied to that relationship. At the end of the day, I think what Gene Haas has done in this sport, it would be a dream come true to get to run that Cup car. I'm focused on this weekend and trying to figure out how to win here. But obviously for me, I've tried to go back to the Xfinity series, prove what I can do and try and make the most of it. And you just kind of try and hope it all sorts itself out from there.”

Custer has certainly shown what he can do behind the wheel in his return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. While he is still seeking his first win of the 2024 season, Custer has remained consistent on track, which has led to the driver of the No. 00 Ford being the series point leader through the 15th race of the 33-race season.

A season ago, Custer racked up three wins, including one in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway to secure his first NASCAR National Series championship.

Including the three wins in 2023, Custer now sits at an impressive 13 wins in 158 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts.

Additionally, the 26-year-old driver has also reached victory lane in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series twice, and he scored a NASCAR Cup Series win at Kentucky Speedway during his rookie season in 2020 after a breath-taking four-wide move for the lead in the closing laps.

Following a seven-win NASCAR Xfinity Series season in 2019, Custer seemed ready to emerge as a bright young star in the NASCAR Cup Series, but unfortunately, it was the right place at the wrong time as the Stewart-Haas Racing organization began to dive in performance towards the end of the 2020 campaign, and it never recovered.

If Custer does indeed get his second chance, expect him to do whatever it takes to leave his mark on the Cup Series. The driver has shown that when he wants something bad enough, like the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship when he was demoted, he can rise to the occasion and take care of business.

While we wait to hear Custer's official plans for the 2025 season, we'll wait and see if he can take care of business Saturday in the SciAps 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Custer will start from the pole in the event after qualifying was washed out on Friday. Custer is confident that he and his team can remain near the front all race long on Saturday.

“For sure. I always look forward to coming to New Hampshire and this is a place that's always special coming back to," Custer explained. "So I always look forward to it and you just hope that you have everything underneath you to go and compete for a win. I think at the end of the day we should have a shot at this weekend. Our guys are doing a great job. We just have to break through. I feel like we're top five or so every single weekend and it's very strange to be leading the points but also a little bit frustrated that you haven't won yet. I think it's coming. We just have to keep knocking on the door.”

Custer has a career-best finish of second at the 1.058-mile oval in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he'll look to notch a win in the victory column to go along his NASCAR Truck Series win at the facility.

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett, NKP for Ford Performance

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