MOBILE, AL (July 9, 2018) – Following two consecutive nights of racing, Cole Anderson continued his summer hot streak this past weekend driving the No. 97 Toyota pro late model for ATF & Gunslinger. A pole at Five Flags Speedway on Friday translated into a top five finish, while he visited victory lane on Saturday at Mobile International Speedway during only his second visit to the track in nearly four years.
Friday started as expected for the ATF & Gunslinger team, placing high on each practice session’s time sheet in pursuit of a better, faster car for the race. Adjustments and changes to the rear end forced the team to miss the final practice when most teams make their mock qualifying runs, so they were unsure where they compared to the competition. That worry, however, was short-lived when Anderson rocketed to the fast time award for the night.
Racing on a surface notorious for its abrasive, tire-wearing characteristics, Cole and the team planned to take it easy early, saving tires for a late run to the checkers. Cautions and other factors in the race did not play out exactly how their strategy needed and the team ended the race in fifth place. It was a finish they were proud of heading into Mobile’s Saturday night action.
“To set fast time was unexpected after we missed all of the final practice,” Anderson commented following the event. “We were changing some stuff in the rear end and just ran out of time to get on track. In the race, we wanted to work on running our race, but we simply ran out of laps at the end and had to settle for fifth. It isn’t terrible, but we were hoping for more after the run at New Smyrna.”
Fast forward another twelve hours, and the No. 97 Toyota was once again fast at the half-mile in Mobile, Alabama. Cole qualified fifth fastest and rode near the back of the field for most of the race until a timely caution allowed the field to tighten and gave him the opportunity to begin passing cars.
After working his way up to fourth, two of the leaders tangled, allowing him to restart on the front row with a small number of laps remaining. Like a shark smelling blood in the water, Cole honed in on his prey following the restart and made quick work of him, passing for the lead and continually stretching his advantage until the checkered flag.
“Some of the guys got really antsy early and went three wide, so we fell back all the way to last just to ride around and save tires,” Anderson explained. “When we got that caution, we started to pick them up, but we weren’t ready to pounce yet. We were still in conservation mode. After the last time I was there three years ago, I knew I had to save, save, and then save some more. We were ecstatic about how everything played out because we’ve never been there before as a team.
“This is really an awesome feeling,” he continued. “To have everything fall our way, and to have strategy work out is amazing. It’s not very often you get a racecar like I had all weekend. That thing was fast. At Mobile, we set the fastest lap of the race 86 laps into the event. This will definitely be a weekend we remember for a long time, and it’s good for us as a team to get right back into the swing of winning after some time off.”
Cole will once again visit Five Flags Speedway in two weeks, this time in an ATF & Gunslinger Toyota super late model as part of the Southern Super Series tour and the track’s Blizzard Series for those cars. Super late models are the same type of chassis as pro late models and nearly identical in every sense except for the engines. Super late models have approximately 50% more horsepower than the pro late model car Anderson had success with this weekend.
For more information and the latest updates about Cole Anderson visit his website at ColeAndersonRacing.com. He can also be found on social media such as Facebook (@ColeAndersonRacing), Twitter (@Cole_Anderson97) and Instagram (@Cole_Anderson97).
Led by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner and Andrew Franzone, Daytona Beach, Fla.-based ATF & Gunslinger participates in a variety of motorsports ventures, building unique cars, trucks and experiences while in pursuit of speed.