Cole Custer Deflects 2020 Cup Series Talk

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Cole Custer will start from the pole Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (HHP/Jeff Fluharty Photo)
Cole Custer deflected talk of a move to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Thursday. (HHP/Jeff Fluharty Photo)

MIAMI – Though Cole Custer’s name was all over the news on Thursday, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver deflected questions about his future during Championship 4 Media Day at the Miami Beach Edition Hotel.

Multiple media outlets have reported that Custer, who is contending for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will move up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2020 to replace Daniel Suarez behind the wheel of the No. 41 Ford Mustang.

But, asked twice about what his future may hold by reporters, Custer offered no answers and simply turned his focus back to the task at hand – Saturday’s title-deciding Ford EcoBoost 300.

“Right now, I’m just trying to focus on the championship,” Custer said. “I’ve really tried to stay out of it. Honestly, this is a really big weekend for us, to (potentially) win a championship in the Xfinity Series … so if we can do that, then that’s probably my focus this next week.”

Pressed on a hypothetical about Cup expectations for 2020, Custer did offer some slight insight into his thoughts, but still played his cards close to the vest.

“That’s a tough question. You kind of just have to take it one week at a time,” Custer said. “Everybody wants to run (well); nobody wants to run bad, so I think it’s just something you have to figure out when you get there.”

Custer is a seven-time winner in Xfinity Series competition this season and is in the midst of the best statistical year of his NASCAR career, but he does have some past experience in Cup Series machinery.

The 21-year-old from Ladera Ranch, Calif., made three Cup starts for Rick Ware Racing in 2018, piloting a Ford with support from Stewart-Haas Racing.

His best finish was 25th at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in his series debut, but Custer did qualify 10th at Richmond (Va.) Raceway during his most recent Cup appearance in September of that year.

Custer has raced full time in the Xfinity Series in each of the past three seasons, while the driver he’s reported to be supplanting – 27-year-old Suarez – earned the Xfinity Series championship in 2016 before advancing to the Cup Series with Joe Gibbs Racing the following year.

In three seasons at the Cup Series level, Suarez has earned a best finish of second at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in 2018. This year is his first with Stewart-Haas Racing behind the wheel of the No. 41 Ford.

Update:

Daniel Suarez has confirmed that he will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing via a video posted to his personal Twitter account.