June 26, 2012
By Donalde z Smith
NASCAR Race Mom (NRM) considers Cole Whitt a hometown boy.
Whitt was born on June 22, 1991 in Alpine, California. I became aware of him when he was a cute redheaded pre-teen winning local go-kart races and championships.
He had a racing website before it was popular and prudent to do so. I still remember being impressed by his photos with tigers. As a big animal lover, he supported a rescue facility called Lions Tigers & Bears.
Immediately, NASCAR Race Mom noted that the lad had an aptitude for self-promotion. However, even I was surprised at how quickly Cole marched up the NASCAR Ladder.
After winning championships in go-karts, Whitt moved up to sprint cars in 2004. Whitt was quickly noticed by Red Bull and participated in the semifinals for Red Bull's driver development search. He was thirteen at the time.
Whitt moved up to stock cars in 2010 at the age of nineteen. In his first start in the No. 84 driving for Red Bull, Whitt won the pole and finished third in the K&N Pro Series East opener at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Of the ten races on the season schedule, Whitt claimed two poles, six top-five, and seven top-ten finishes. He finished fourth in the series points standings.
In 2011, Whitt moved up that ladder again to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He competed full-time for Turn One Racing. Whitt finished the season ninth in the point standings. He demonstrated his capability to run fast by collecting one pole, two top-five, and eleven top-ten finishes; including a second-place finish at Dover International Speedway and a third-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Whitt has run well and fast his entire career. However, when he moved up to the full-time Nationwide ride of the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports; I worried that the ascend would prove to be his downfall.
NASCAR Race Mom could not have been more incorrect. Of the ten races in the books so far, Cole Whitt has two top-five and five top-ten finishes. He is currently fifth in the point standings!
“It’s just a great opportunity and I’m glad these guys are taking a chance on me and giving me this chance to show them what I can do.” Whitt has stated about his JR Motorsports opportunity.
Whitt’s on-track performance has generated plenty of attention. The 05/20/2012 race at the Iowa Speedway marked the first time one of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Sprint Cup sponsors, Diet Mountain Dew took a primary role on his team's Nationwide car.
Earnhardt has stated that he considers that a coup because the race doesn't have a built-in attraction of being in a major market or as a companion to a Cup event. "I'd love to do more of it," Earnhardt detailed. "It really takes a lot of pressure off us financially because the market is challenging."
Of course Cole Whitt did his part to cement that sponsorship bond. He qualified the Green No. 88 DewCrew.com twelfth and finished the race in seventh.
“I’m happy with today’s finish.” Whitt stated after the “Pioneer Hi-Bred 250” at Iowa Speedway. “This team knows we can do better, but we’re making strides in the right direction. We started off loose and Bruce made some good calls to not adjust on it too much. He didn’t want to go too far in one direction. That was the right thing to do.”
Whitt added, “Our lap times throughout the day were really competitive. This place is just all about track position. We were running as fast as the leaders and we were great on the longer green-flag runs. We tried for track position with that two-tire call, but that didn’t play out how we wanted it to. Overall, it was a good day and I hope the folks at Diet Dew are happy with it. It was a lot of fun driving their car today.”
NRM is pretty sure that Diet Mountain Dew was impressed. Whitt’s steady race day included leading the race for four laps starting at lap 115.
So what is next for the impressive Cole Whitt? His seventh-place finish was the No. 88 team's third consecutive top-10 showing. With Whitt’s quiet determination and Dale Earnhardt’s experience, a win in one of the remaining twenty-three races of the 2012 season would appear likely.
Could that win come at the Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) this weekend? Last year, Whitt ran only one Nationwide Race. That race was at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. He started fourteenth and finished fifteenth, one lap down. On May 20, 2011, he finished third (behind Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer) at Charlotte in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Therefore, Cole Whitt has both track time and proven speed at CMS. Additionally, this year Whitt is doing so much better with his new team. Consequently NASCAR Race Mom’s prediction would be for a top-five and possible win for Whitt this weekend.
You can follow him at... Cole Whitt - Facebook Page...
If you would like to learn more about Donalde z Smith, please check out her web site at NASCAR Race Mom.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.