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NASCAR Cup Series Season Reviews | Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing

After a season in which all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars made the playoffs, the hopes were high for this team After a 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season in which all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars made the playoffs, the team carried high hopes into 2021. Veteran driver Kevin Harvick won nine races last year and was the regular-season champion. Cole Custer was a race winner in his rookie Cup Series season, and both Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer were able to point their ways in. SHR’s 2020 success failed to carry over to this year’s NASCAR Cup Series campaign. In actuality, things went much worse than expected. In the final year running the Generation 6 cars, the bottom seemed to fall out for Stewart-Haas Racing.

The following article continues a FlurrySports series that looks back on the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season from the perspective of drivers and race teams. Read on for season reviews of the two younger Stewart-Haas Racing drivers, Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer.

Chase Briscoe NASCAR Cup Series Stewart-Haas Racing season reviews
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

NASCAR Cup Series 2021 Season Reviews | Stewart-Haas Racing (Part II)

Chase Briscoe — No. 14

Chase Briscoe was brought up to replace Clint Bowyer in the No. 14 car after winning nine races in 2020 while driving in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. There was a lot of hope for him coming into his rookie NASCAR Cup Series campaign. The first quarter of the season was shaky at best for Briscoe. He had no finish higher than 19th in the first nine races of 2021. Briscoe was 28th in the points standings at that point in the season.

Road Courses Prove Especially Kind to Chase Briscoe

After the slow start, Chase Briscoe then had his best finish to this point with an 11th place showing at Talladega Superspeedway. He followed it up with another 11th at Darlington on Mother’s Day. Briscoe’s first top-10 in the NASCAR Cup Series came on the road course at Circuit of the Americas when they had to shorten the race due to rain. The COTA result held up as his best finish until another new road race at Road America on Independence Day. Briscoe equaled his COTA performance with a sixth-place run.

Check out the 2021 season reviews for the other two Stewart-Haas drivers, Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola!

As the season wore on, it became clear that Briscoe had a knack for performing well on the road courses. He scored another top-10 at Watkins Glen with a ninth-place finish. Unfortunately, the lack of consistency saw him fall short of making the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in his rookie campaign.

Rookie NASCAR Cup Series Season Falls Short of Expectations

The last ten races would bring about more mediocre results for Chase Briscoe as he finished no higher than 13th. Briscoe wrecked out of the championship race at Phoenix Raceway, ending the season on a low note. Briscoe failed to crack the top-5 in his rookie season but did notch the three top-10s. His average finish on the season over 36 races was 19.6. Briscoe will look to build upon the experience gained in 2021 and improve ahead of his second year racing at NASCAR’s premier level.

NASCAR Cup Series season reviews Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing
Credit: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Cole Custer — No. 41

Cole Custer entered the 2021 season as the reigning NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. He was hoping to build upon his race win and playoff appearance in his sophomore campaign with Stewart-Haas Racing. Custer started off the season with an 11th-place finish in the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, things would only get worse from there.

Limited Success and a Whole Lot of Wrecks

During the first quarter of the season, Cole Custer fell from 15th to 25th in the standings. At Talladega Superspeedway, he earned his first top-10 of the campaign and what would ultimately tie for his best finish of the season. Custer finished 10th at ‘Dega and again at Dover. He would not score another top-10 for the rest of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

At Circuit of the Americas, Custer got caught up in the bad wreck with Martin Truex Jr. That was a sign of what was to come as he would be 28th in the points standings at the end of the regular season. After winning his way into the playoffs a year ago, Custer barely got a sniff of returning to contend for the championship this season.

Cole Custer Ends Season with Sub-Top-20 Average Finish

Cole Custer did have slightly better finishes over the last ten races. He was able to get six finishes inside the top-20 during the NASCAR Playoffs. The No. 41 team finished out the year with no top-5s and only the two early top-10s. Custer’s average finish for his second Cup Series season was a disappointing 21.7. As NASCAR prepares to transition to the Next Gen Cars in 2022, Custer will look to prove his worth to Stewart-Haas Racing after a very bad 2021 campaign.

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