NASCAR: JR Motorsports moves into Truck Series with Cole Custer

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After capturing the NASCAR XFINITY Series title last season with 18-year-old Chase Elliott, JR Motorsports will look for more success in the Camping World Truck Series with a driver that’s even younger.

JRM – co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and his Sprint Cup boss, Rick Hendrick – will run 10 Truck Series events in 2015 with soon-to-be 17-year-old Cole Custer behind the wheel of the No. 00 Chevrolet Silverado.

Haas Automation, the machine tool company that belongs to current Sprint Cup championship co-owner Gene Haas, will remain Custer’s sponsor.

“I’m so excited to get this season started,” said Custer in a team release. “With all that JR Motorsports has accomplished over the past few years, we know we have everything needed to go win races and compete.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity with a better organization.  I really want to thank Haas Automation, along with Kelley and Dale Jr. for putting this deal together.”

Custer’s 2015 schedule features appearances at Martinsville (March 28 and Oct. 31), Dover (May 29), Gateway (June 13), Iowa (June 19), Eldora (July 22), Bristol (Aug. 19), the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Aug. 30), New Hampshire (Sept. 26), and Phoenix (Nov. 13).

Additionally, JRM will also field Custer in select K&N Pro Series and ARCA events. The team says more details on Custer’s schedule in those respective series will be announced later.

Last year, Custer ran in nine Truck Series events. Along the way, he became both the youngest pole winner (Gateway Motorsports Park) and race winner (New Hampshire Motor Speedway) in NASCAR national touring series history. Altogether, he earned one win, two Top-5s, and 6 Top-10s.

In her own thoughts, Earnhardt Miller said the move into the Truck Series was another step in JRM’s evolution.

“Expanding into the truck series on a part-time basis is furthering our growth,” she said. “Bringing in a talent like Cole and a great partner like Haas Automation is a great way to do that. I’m proud of the direction we’re heading.”

Custer’s program will be housed at a JRM satellite shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. Joe Shear, Custer’s crew chief in 2014, will retain that role in 2015.