BRISTOL, Tenn. - Cole Custer got his weekend off to a good start by winning his seventh career pole and first at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, but his race didn’t go according to plan as he finished third to race-winner Christopher Bell.
Custer led the first 25 laps before being passed by Tyler Reddick. He hit the wall shortly thereafter and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting for track position. Custer lamented his lack of speed on restarts, but still managed to finish third with Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Chase Briscoe immediately behind him in fourth. Austin Cindric brought his Team Penske Mustang home in sixth.
As a result of being in the top four, both Custer and Briscoe will be eligible for a $100,000 bonus at Richmond as part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash.
That race is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 12 (7 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Ford Finishing Results:
3rd – Cole Custer
4th – Chase Briscoe
6th – Austin Cindric
POST RACE QUOTES
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR DAY? “That’s really what we should be doing all year long. It’s just taken us a little bit of time for me to learn the race cars and for them to kind of find what I like. Overall, this is by far our best weekend from start to finish. We showed that I feel like we can be a top four contender, so there at the end I felt like I honestly was the best car it’s just so hard to pass when they get like that around the top. I found a little bit of speed down on the bottom of one and two, but we didn’t get the $100,000 this week, but we’ve got a shot again next week. We’ll go there with our Nutri Chomps Ford and see what we can do.”
THIS IS WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT LAST WEEK WHERE THE BEGINNING YOU WERE OFF AND GOT BETTER AT THE END. YOU SEEMED TO BE CONSISTENT ALL DAY TODAY. “Yeah, we still weren’t great necessarily at the beginning to the middle stages, but it’s definitely the closest we’ve been. That’s definitely encouraging. There at the end, once again, I felt like we were probably the best car and for sure one of the top three best cars, but we’ve got to keep getting better and we have every week. It’s definitely something encouraging to look forward to for the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to going to Richmond and seeing what we can do.”
COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang
“We just got that damage early and then had to come from the back. We just didn’t really have the fire off speed or the perfect scenarios to pass people when we got up in the top five to really get track position. It was impossible to pass, really. I don’t know. I’m pretty mad because I think we had the best car there at the end, we just didn’t have the best fire off. I know we’ve got to get a little bit better.”
YOU BATTLED THE 2 AT THE END. BUMPED HIM A FEW TIMES, BUT COULDN’T PASS. WHAT WAS YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS THERE? “Yeah, you just need the perfect scenario to pass somebody. You have to have the perfect run to get next to him and then you have to have no lappers on the inside. There are tons of lappers, so it’s almost impossible to get that perfect scenario to pass someone. We just couldn’t get it to happen. I think we had the best car there at the end, it’s just a matter of having the track position.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang
“Bristol hasn’t been the strongest track for us over the last couple of years, but I think we’ve made a lot of improvements in our package and I think that showed in qualifying and in the race today. I feel like we’re just a bit compromised short run versus long run and lane usage. I could either be really good on the bottom or really good on the top, but I couldn’t be good enough at both with speed over the run, so we’ve got some things to learn and something to bring back here in the summer I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot. I think I was two laps down in stage two here in the fall race and was running second in stage two today, so I’ll take it.”
HOW WAS THE TRACK SURFACE? “It was interesting. There were glimmers of hope. I probably ran it more than anyone did in the first stage and made really good time on it because I felt like we were set up for it and no one on the track was gonna move up to the top. We set our car up for the top and we were just as competitive on the top. It was interesting for sure. It was racier than I expected it to be, but I’m interested to see what happens in the Cup race tomorrow for sure.”