Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Cole Custer's 'dream come true' scenario for Cup return

Haas Factory Team has not named a driver for the lone Cup Series car it will field in 2025, but Cole Custer would love to be the one behind the wheel.

"At the end of the day, I think what Gene Haas has done in this sport, it would be a dream come true to get to run that Cup car," Custer said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"I'm focused on this weekend and trying to figure out how to win here. But obviously, for me, I've tried to go back to the Xfinity series, prove what I can do, and try and make the most of it. And you just kind of try and hope it all sorts itself out from there."

Haas Factory Team is the team that will replace Stewart-Haas Racing after the 2024 season. Co-owner Gene Haas will keep one Cup Series charter while he and Tony Stewart get rid of the other three.

Custer has multiple seasons of Cup Series experience. He moved up to Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 41 Ford in 2020 after piling up nine wins in three Xfinity seasons, and he immediately achieved some success.

Custer won his first career Cup race as a Rookie. He took advantage of a late restart at Kentucky Speedway and went on to win ahead of Martin Truex Jr. Custer ultimately ended the season 16th in the championship standings.

The 2021 and 2022 seasons did not go as well for the California native. He only posted a combined five top-10 finishes and missed the playoffs in both seasons. This led to him moving back to Xfinity while Ryan Preece took over the No. 41 Ford in Cup.

Custer spent last season in the No. 00 Ford in Xfinity, and he got back to his winning ways. He captured the checkered flag in three races -- Portland, Chicago, and Phoenix -- and he won the championship.

While he hasn't won a race this season yet, he remains atop the Xfinity standings after 15 races. A return to the playoffs is within reach, which would allow Custer to defend his title. Successfully doing so would only benefit him as he seeks a return to Cup competition.

"I think for me, whenever I went back to the Xfinity Series, my goal was always to go back to Cup," Custer said. "So, I've been trying to work on what I can do to get myself better over the past year and a half. At the end of the day, you try and do as best you can and you hope it all sorts itself out."