Cole Custer will make his Monster Energy Cup Series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, sources have told motorsport.com.
Custer will pilot the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware Racing in the Pennzoil 400. An announcement is expected later this week.
The 20-year-old Ladera Ranch, California, native is currently in his second full season in the Xfinity Series with Stewart-Haas Racing. Custer won his first NXS race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his 38th-career NXS start behind the wheel of the No. 00 Ford.
“Everybody is still happy that we won,” Custer said at Daytona 500 Media Day on Wednesday. “We didn’t have any huge changes over the offseason because we were fairly confident with what we had. We just had to fine-tune it and try to get the tracks where we need to work on a little better so we’re a more well-rounded team that can run well anywhere.
“But we still have a lot of momentum from winning, for sure…As long as we work on our cars and get our performance at tracks where we struggled, I think we’ll be competing for a championship, no doubt. ”
Custer quickly ascended through the K&N Pro Series. He won four races in his first two seasons competing in both the East and West tours. At 16, he became the youngest driver to win a pole in a national series as the fastest qualifier for the Camping World Truck race at Gateway Motorsports Park in 2014. Five events later, Custer won his first truck race from the pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Custer made his Xfinity Series debut with JR Motorsports in 2016. He returned to SHR last year and credits Ford Performance for expediting his growth in NASCAR racing.
“Having the simulator and all the resources that Ford gives us helps a lot,” Custer said. “You wouldn’t think there was much stuff to do for Daytona, but we beat it to death on the simulator just to try to get our cars a little better. Definitely having those resources helps.”