Although 17-year old Cole Custer has been named the regular driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr and his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller have asked Kasey Kahne to take the wheel during the NC Education 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15.
The idea, however, is not to replace Custer who will be back in the No. 00 for the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 29th, but to “provide some feedback” for both the teen and his team, according to Dale, while Earnhardt Miller stated that, “Getting Kasey behind the wheel is going to be a true asset for all of us. With Cole’s age, he’s not eligible to compete on some of the bigger tracks, so we had to limit the schedule based on that fact. This opportunity to have Kasey in the truck will help the team evaluate our program on an intermediate track. And Kasey’s stats in that series really speak to his talent.”
Because of the age restrictions, Custer has competed in only 1 of the first 3 races at the season, finishing 16th in the Kroger 250 Martinsville Speedway March 28th, after qualifying 2nd.
Born, January 23, 1998 in Ladera Ranch, California, Cole is the son of Joe Custer, executive vice president at Stewart-Haas Racing. He is also, reportedly, a descendant of George Armstrong Custer, although history states that the General and his wife never had any kids together.
Cole joined the K&N Pro Series East at the age of 15, and made his debut at Bristol Motor Speedway for Ken Schrader Racing, and became the youngest driver to win in the series history after taking pole at Iowa Speedway and leading every lap, a record for a combination race. He also won a second race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from pole, finishing the season 8th in driver standings.
Last year, young Custer joined Haas Racing Developments to run 9 races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, While he finished 12th in his debut in the 2014 Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway, he later set rack record with qualifying time of 136.426 miles per hour lap speed for the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park, to become the youngest pole winner in the history of NASCAR history.
Kasey Kahne, 35, normally drives the No. 5Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series. He also owns his own race team, Kasey Kahne Racing, which competes in the World of Outlaws series, fielding three cars for Daryn Pittman, Cody Darrah, and Brad Sweet. His team also fields a car in the USAC Sprint Car Series for Brady Bacon, and in USAC midgets for Sweet. Kahne is a two-time Skagit Speedway winner of the Annual Jim Raper memorial Dirt Cup (2002 and 2003), and holds the current record for the fastest lap at Skagit. He also has 29 wins across 3 NASCAR Series. However, the race May 15th will be his first truck start since claiming victory at Rockingham Speedway back in 2012.