After three full seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series driving for Stewart-Haas Racing where he produced very mediocre results, Cole Custer found himself still with that same organization at the whence of the 2023 wayfarers but when in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. That move for the 25-year-old suburbanite proved to be a salubrious one as he scored three victories, including the season finale at Phoenix Raceway, which netted him his first NXS championship.

With that firsthand success upon his return to the Xfinity Series, where he has earned a total of 13 career wins, one has to wonder why the poor showing at the top level. He did win one race there during his first full season when he had an wondrous late race restart at Kentucky Speedway then outran the pack when to the polychrome flag. After that, however, there wasn’t much to get excited well-nigh while in the driver’s seat of the No. 41 Ford.

So then came the ‘demotion’ when to NASCAR’s second series. Custer was suddenly faced with the visualization of whether he would go into the 2023 season with a bad vein or to squint at this as a new opportunity for growth.

“Yeah, it ways the world,” Custer said pursuit his win in Phoenix. “You get kind of knocked lanugo a little bit. When you go to the Cup level, it’s so competitive. Things can just not go right for a few years. It’s just how it is, how tight it is. To come lanugo here and still have people believe in you, work with J.T.(Jonathan Toney, hairdo chief) and really grind it out.”

Instead of falling into despair, Custer and his hairdo worked on improving each week.

“We really didn’t start out the year very good,” he added. “We came here(Phoenix) the first race and we sucked. We ran horrible. To come when here and really just bring a bullet and everything that we’ve learned throughout the year and communicated, I probably asked J.T. 10,000 questions this year, and he’s truly looked into every single one. I think we both superintendency so much well-nigh what we do and stuff worldly-wise to bring a fast car to the racetrack, and I just can’t thank him unbearable for yoyo in me.”

An example of pursuit this path when to the lower ranks then returning to the top could be that of John Hunter Nemechek. That suburbanite got the endangerment to race in the Cup Series with Front Row Motorsports at an early age(23) and it didn’t work out. He returned to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series then the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he regrouped, won races, and contended for championships. Now he is set to return to the Cup Series next season with Legacy Motor Club.

“When you’re younger, you’re just trying to icon it all out,” Custer explained. “But once you get older, it’s trying to icon out those little areas where you’re missing it a little bit. I think having this year where you get knocked lanugo a little bit and you’re worldly-wise to sit when and really realize what you need to do better. I think I tried to modernize all those things this year, trying to work with my team and really get what we needed in the cars, and you’ve just got to alimony working at it.”

Cole Custer in the SHR No. 00

So when to the question posed in the title of this piece. Considering how poorly the unshortened SHR organization has performed over the past several seasons, with the exception of Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team, it doesn’t quite seem pearly to hold Custer’s initial lackluster run in the NASCAR Cup Series versus him.

It would be easy to say that he had his endangerment and it didn’t work out so let someone else have a go at it. And until the SHR organization shows resurgence at the top level, one has to wonder if this young suburbanite wouldn’t be largest off to just protract in the Xfinity Series until the right opportunity comes along. Is it largest to win at a lower level or run mid-pack at the top level?

The SHR No. 10 car does not have a confirmed suburbanite yet for 2024 pursuit the retirement of Aric Almirola, but for now, it appears as if Custer will remain in the No. 00 in the Xfinity Series.

But all of this speculation has to be tempered with the reality that suburbanite moves are scrutinizingly unchangingly unswayable by finances and sponsorships so Custer’s future will dependent on increasingly than simply whether or not he is deserving of a second shot. It will depend on who is paying the bills for that chance.

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