PENSACOLA, FL (Sept. 24, 2018) – Saturday night’s Allen Turner Tune-Up 100 was one of the most important races for Cole Anderson at Five Flags Speedway this season. The race served as the final event prior to the season-ending Snowflake 100 and Cole gave notice his No. 97 team would be a threat to win after a strong fifth place fun.
The weekend started off with zest for Anderson and the ATF & Gunslinger team who prepare his No. 97 Toyotas. In Friday’s open practice, the team clocked in fifth fastest among pro late model cars and quickly found a balance Cole liked behind the wheel. On Saturday, the team ran only one practice session of the two available, signifying how confident they were in their machine.
Time trials were the most important part of the afternoon at Five Flags for Cole and the team. While the evening’s race was ultimately the focus, a solid time trial run positioned the Timberwolf Plastics group for success in the 100-lap feature race. After an invert of six was drawn to start the race, Cole started the night in fifth spot following his second-fastest time trial effort.
In the race, conservation was the name of the game. Throughout the season, Anderson and the team tried various strategies to maximize tire conservation for the end of the 100-lap contests in order to find a solid game plan for December’s Snowflake 100. The plan during Saturday night’s race nearly worked out, but some ill-timed cautions made the mountain climb a bit steeper for the driver from Minnesota.
“We had a lot of yellows in the beginning of the race, and that sort of changed things a little bit,” Cole said after the race. “We fell back to 15th or so doing the normal conservation mode. Once we got 40 or so laps in, I started to turn it up and guys were sideways coming back to me, so I just kept a nice, steady pace.”
Anderson’s pace was good enough to move him back into contention late in the race as he continued to reel the leaders in lap after lap. Within ten laps of the finish, he was working on third place when an ill-timed caution came out, forcing the field to slow and bunch up for the restart. Ultimately, Cole was forced to settle for a fifth-place result after having an opportunity to win.
“It just took our car about three laps to get going,” he explained in reference to the caution bunching up the field. “We pretty much had third place passed but the caution came out and it put him back ahead of us because they go back to the last completed lap. We were gaining quick on the leader but that caution ended that. Overall, it wasn’t a bad weekend and we definitely had a top three car, probably a car that could’ve won if the cautions didn’t fall wrong every time. Jamie and the guys definitely gave me something to work with.”
Tentatively, Cole Anderson’s next asphalt events are scheduled for New Smyrna Speedway at the Governor’s Cup Weekend in November, a track he has dominated nearly every time he has visited it this year. A slew of dirt racing events will fill his racing schedule until then, focusing on keeping his skills sharp while spending time with his friends a family, something his dirt racing events have generated as a byproduct of their local nature.
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).