Cole Custer Confirmed for Full-Time Truck Ride with JR Motorsportsby Kyle Pokrefky January 19, 2016 0 comments
JR Motorsports has officially made the announcement that 17-year-old Cole Custer will make a full-time run for the team this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Piloting the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet since 2014, Custer has already drafted quite the impressive résumé in the Truck Series with two wins, four top-fives and 10 top-10s coming in 18 total starts in the series.
Being under 18 years of age, the Ladera Beach, Calif. native has been relegated to running partial schedules in both 2014 and 2015 as he was ruled ineligible to compete on oval tracks larger than 1.25 miles in length.
With his 18th birthday landing on January 23rd, the two-time Truck race winner will be eligible to run the intermediates and superspeedways on the schedule in time for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Prior to his Daytona start Custer will also need to seek approval to run the superspeedways and will thus run the ARCA Racing Series’s season opener at Daytona with Ken Schrader Racing.
In previous years, Custer’s tenure in the Truck Series was utilized to gain experience at the national level. This year, Custer’s sights are set on the series title.
No major personnel or sponsor changes are expected to be made to JR Motorsports’s truck operation as both Haas Automation and crew chief Joe Shear Jr. will return to work with Custer.
“We are all pretty confident heading into the season,” Custer said. “Joe and I have been together for three years and we have a great relationship. We’ve shown a lot of speed in our time together, and we need to build a little more consistency. I can help that with the way I drive.
“Last year, we were running to win races and get experience; this year, it’s going to be all about the points. I think we’ll still have the speed we had last year, and I think we’re going to be contenders for the championship.”
In their first year as an operation in the Truck Series, the No. 00 Chevrolet finished 21st in the owners standings with one win each picked up by Custer and Kasey Kahne across 15 total starts.
Custer, Kahne, Alex Bowman, Jeb Burton, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson each made at least one start in the truck during the 2015 season.
With one year under their belt in the series, team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. is confident that his operation has assembled a strong enough foundation to compete for the 2016 title.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Cole run the full season,” Earnhardt Jr. stated. “He and the team showed they have great speed and the ability to run up front in their limited schedule last year.
“We have great people and partners in place to make this a top-notch effort and give them the opportunity to go out and learn, win races, and compete for the championship.”
Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images