Stewart-Haas Racing Driver Looks for Third Road-Course Win of the Season
- Event: Shriners Children’s 200 (Round 23 of 33)
- Time/Date: Saturday, Aug. 19
- Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International
- Layout: 2.45-mile, seven-turn road course
- TV/Radio: 3:30 p.m. EDT on USA/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
HighPoint.com first partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2020 as the primary sponsor of Chase Briscoe’s No. 98 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Briscoe won nine times that season, including three in a HighPoint.com-sponsored car. But that year’s COVID-19 protocols prevented anyone from the company from attending races, so there was no celebration in victory lane. HighPoint.com has appeared on Briscoe’s car every year since, following him to the NASCAR Cup Series, and the Mendiburu family has also supported SHR drivers Aric Almirola and Cole Custer. But, for the first time, HighPoint.com will be appearing as a primary sponsor on a car not piloted by Briscoe as the IT services provider heads back to the Xfinity Series in search of a trip to victory lane this weekend.
HighPoint.com will sponsor Custer’s SHR Xfinity Series racecar in the Shriners Children’s 200 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Custer and his team have scored two road-course victories in the first six races this year where competitors turned both left and right. The first came when Custer parked his Ford Mustang in victory lane June 3 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway in his first career start at the track. He followed that up July 1 in the Inaugural Chicago Street Race, where he led all 25 laps of the rain-shortened Xfinity Series race. He finished sixth June 10 on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, and sixth again after rebounding from a spin in last Saturday’s Indianapolis 150 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“There’s just so much that plays into these road courses, so you have to be prepared for anything it throws at you,” Custer said. “There are so many different factors with the restarts and whether guys make mistakes or not. You just hope that you’re there to fight at the end of it all. So I think as long as we keep ourselves in a good position, have some solid speed in our HighPoint.com Ford Mustang, and avoid making any big mistakes, we’ll have a shot to go to victory lane again this weekend.”
Custer first met HighPoint.com CEO Mike Mendiburu in 2018 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, where the Mendiburu family was attending the race as fans. Joe Custer, Cole’s father and SHR President, introduced the family to his son and took time to speak with Mendiburu about sponsorship in the sport. It wasn’t something the company was interested in pursuing at the time, but two years later that would change as HighPoint.com decided to invest in the relationship that was created that day and joined the team as a primary sponsor for Briscoe, the team’s Xfinity Series driver at the time.
When Custer returned to the Xfinity Series in 2023, HighPoint.com elected to become an associate sponsor on the No. 00 Ford Mustang and it only took 13 races for the 25-year-old to find victory lane again.
Custer owns 12 Xfinity Series wins and has made four starts at Watkins Glen. His four prior starts feature back-to-back top-10 finishes in 2018 (sixth) and 2019 (seventh), and he’s never finished outside the top-12. He also has five starts outside of the Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen – two in the NASCAR Cup Series and three in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He earned a best K&N Pro Series East finish of third in August 2016, and a best Cup Series finish of 11th a year ago.
“Watkins Glen is just so much different because it’s so high-speed,” Custer said. “You can do so much there, but there are also different things you have to fight at Watkins Glen versus other tracks. You’re going so fast. In essence, you have to have the car set up to handle more aerodynamically well for everything that’s going to be thrown at you. Watkins Glen just throws that element of high speed into it, so it’s a lot different than any other road course on the schedule. The No. 00 team and I are excited for the challenge, though, and hopefully we can show the same speed that we’ve had for the past few road-course races.”
Custer has already locked in his spot in the 12-driver Xfinity Series playoff field by virtue of his two wins, but he’s still on the hunt for more wins and valuable playoff points to help him advance through the postseason – all the way to the Championship 4 finale Nov. 4 at Phoenix Raceway. He could very well be the driver to get HighPoint.com back to victory lane, and to give the Mendiburu family a chance to finally celebrate the success they’ve found in their relationship with SHR.