Stewart-Haas Racing Sheds Light on Cole Custer’s NASCAR Future

Cole Custer

Getty Cole Custer works in the garage area at Michigan International Speedway.

There have been questions about Cole Custer throughout a 2022 season that has featured numerous struggles. Now Stewart-Haas Racing has provided some clarity about the 2020 Rookie of the Year’s NASCAR Cup Series future.

Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s chief competition officer, met with media members ahead of the trip to Watkins Glen International. He addressed several topics, such as Kevin Harvick’s recent winning streak, before facing a question about the driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang.

“Right now, I believe that is what our plan is right now. Yes,” Zipadelli said about keeping Custer in the No. 41. “We’re just looking and trying to sort out the [No.] 10 car at this particular time.”

ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on NASCAR Newsletter!

Obviously, the statement leaves some wiggle room for Stewart-Haas Racing. The answer indicates that Custer will return, but there could also be some changes. There will still be some questions about Custer and the status of the No. 41 until the organization makes an official announcement.

There Have Been Questions About Custer’s Future

Cole Custer

GettyCole Custer waits for qualifying at Phoenix Raceway.

One reason for the question about Custer is that SHR still has to announce plans for multiple entries. This includes the No. 41 that Custer has controlled since 2020 and the No. 10 that features Aric Almirola.

Another reason for the question is a situation over at another team. Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch have not been able to reach an agreement to bring the two-time champion back to the No. 18, primarily due to the lack of sponsorship.

Busch has acknowledged to reporters that he has spoken to other teams and created questions about possible destinations. SHR has stood out as an option considering the number of sponsors on hand, the possible openings in the building, and the quality of the equipment that heads to the track each week.

If Busch became available on the market, it would make sense if he moved over to SHR and took over one of the entries. He would automatically contend for wins in whichever entry he landed.

Surprising Incidents Have Derailed Strong Runs

Cole Custer

GettyCole Custer’s season has featured surprising issues.

A winner at Kentucky Speedway in 2020, Custer has not returned to Victory Lane in 2021 or 2022. He has posted four total top-10 finishes, but he has also dealt with numerous issues on the track.

The list includes a 20-lap run at Michigan International Speedway when Custer dealt with three flat tires. The final blown tire caught on fire and sent the California native back to his pit stall. His day came to an end while the crew extinguished the blaze.

The most recent race on the schedule, which took place at Richmond Raceway, featured Custer lining up inside of the top 10 for the opening pace laps. He continued to race in the top 10 before securing points at the end of Stage 1.

However, the situation drastically changed for Custer. He lost all power steering in the No. 41, so he had to contend with handling issues for the remainder of the 400-lap race. He ultimately ended the day 26th overall and three laps down after showing up to the track with a fast Ford Mustang.

READ NEXT: Ryan Blaney Secures Massive NASCAR Contract Extension

Read More