NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL (Aug. 20, 2018) – Despite battling recent symptoms of sickness on Saturday night, Cole Anderson powered his way to the front of the field at New Smyrna Speedway to continue his recent streak of success, winning at the half-mile Florida oval. The No. 97 ATF & Gunslinger team not only won, but doubled up by taking both races which were on the Saturday night card.
Friday’s private test day went easy for Cole, as he made just a handful of runs before determining the car was set for Saturday night’s event. The Saturday schedule was not much different as the No. 97 once again laid down quick times for the competition to chase. But Saturday’s routine was interrupted when Cole began feeling queasy after a great day on Friday.
“I don’t know what happened with me on Saturday,” Cole said. “I must have picked something up at the airport and I felt like crap the entire day at the races. Even now, I still feel kinda bleh. I had a super sore throat and that made it hard to even drink water, something you have to do with as much as you sweat in these cars. Once you get going, it’s not as bad, but when you slow down and things catch up, it can be hard to manage.”
While struggling to hydrate himself, Cole climbed behind the wheel underneath the hot Florida sun and rocketed his Toyota to the point in qualifying, setting fast time and earning himself the opportunity to start at the front of the first twin 50-lap feature of the night. Unfortunately for Cole, New Smyrna utliizes a random pill draw to occasionally invert a portion of the field and he drew the maximum invert of ten, placing him outside row five for the green flag.
Using his veteran skills to take advantage of the competition on the initial start, Cole quickly found himself in the top two by lap 10. A timely caution on lap 18 allowed him to restart beside the leader. Once the field was back to green, he rocketed to the front and never looked back despite a handful of late race restarts.
In the second feature event of the night, Cole started sixth after another invert and once again hastily carved his way forward. Much like the first race, a late-race restart pitted him against his mentor and teammate Jamie Skinner in a battle of restart prowess. Despite his young age, Cole got the better of his teammate on the start and led the final few laps to his second checkered flag of the evening.
“It’s never easy when you’re sick, that’s for sure,” Anderson explained of his wins. “In the first race, we were even on the lap 18 restart into turn one, but I was able to get the lead and just hold Brad [May] off from there. The second race wasn’t quite as simple.
“Jamie was right behind me all race, and since he didn’t race the first feature he had practically brand new tires,” he continued. “We got the lead and began to stretch it out until a caution came out and I knew I had to switch things up. I went as late as I possibly could and Jamie got called for jumping the restart which means he got sent to the back and we drove around to the win from there. It’s hard to celebrate in a situation like that, plus feeling that sick didn’t help. Thankfully, there weren’t more laps.”
The win marked Cole’s fifth victory this summer and continues his summer hot streak as race season begins to hit its home stretch before the major year-end races. Cole will be spending this coming weekend at Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota with his dirt modified before returning to the pavement for the annual Alabama 200 over Labor Day weekend at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
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.