Stars Standout Whitt Making Waves in Sprints, Eyes NASCAR Beginning his racing at the tender age of five, Californian Cole Whitt has always had the need for speed. Switching from his two wheeled BMX race bike to a four wheel high powered racing...
Stars Standout Whitt Making Waves in Sprints, Eyes NASCAR
Beginning his racing at the tender age of five, Californian Cole Whitt has always had the need for speed. Switching from his two wheeled BMX race bike to a four wheel high powered racing kart, Whitt began tearing up the karting ranks as he started to progress through the different karting classes and into the upper echelons of car racing.
With a karting career that has included eight International Karting Federation Grand National Titles, two World Karting Association Grand National Titles, eight Regional Championships and countless California State Championships, Whitt also dominated the Snap-on Stars of Karting junior ranks just a few short years ago.
Whitt, who could be seen roaming the paddock, was a short little red head kid with a huge smile and a heart for racing. On the track, Cole was a different person, a talented driver and a fierce competitor that would accept nothing other than victory.
"I have set goals for myself and wanted to achieve them," stated Cole Whitt in a recent phone interview. "I want to succeed and be good at everything I do and that is how I approach my racing."
In 2003, Whitt claimed the prestigious Super Kart Illustrated Young Driver of the Year Award. Awarded to a competitor that boasts outstanding on track results, Whitt was a deserving choice for the award and honored to receive it. The award seemed to launch the Alpine, Californian's career and in 2004 he hit it big time.
Competing in both the 80cc Junior and Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) categories, Whitt would have his work cut out for him as he traveled to both the east and west divisions of competition. With the national level being as tough as it is, many drivers stick to one class and focus on that but Cole was ready to take on two and did so in fine form. Claiming ten pole positions and eight victories, Whitt could be seen on the podium 14 times in Stars of Karting action. At the end of the season, Whitt was again awarded the Super Kart Illustrated Young Driver of the Year Award as well as becoming the 80cc Junior National Champion.
2005 saw Cole Whitt move to the senior division where he competed in Intercontinental A (ICA) scoring three victories and a third place result in the Stars of Karting national point standings. With his stellar results and consistency, Whitt was awarded the Snap-on Stars of Karting Rookie-of-the-Year award. '05 was a transition year for the talented competitor as he began to dabble in the world of car racing. WHEN many karters look to make the move to open wheel formula cars, Whitt chose another direction and entered the sprint car world. With a limited schedule as the focus was still on karting, Whitt garnered six victories and ten top five finishes along the way.
When asked about the karting to car transition, Whitt went on to explain, "The competitiveness remained the same. Karting is a very competitive sport with a lot of good drivers and it helped prepare me for where I am today. The biggest obstacle to overcome was to learn the overall dynamics of the car and how it worked compared to a kart. I really had to adapt to the sprint and midget cars and felt that having a better understanding of the car would better help me succeed."
Looking to always gain that competitive edge, Whitt began learning about the different cars he was driving. Wanting to know about the cars setup, Whitt hung around the pits long after the racing was over to watch the crew and better understand how his ride worked. To be even more involved, the talented pilot re-located to Indiana to be around the team and racing as much as possible in the summer months while the winter months he can be seen back in California attending Alpine Academy High School.
Well 2006 was a learning year, 2007 brought results for Whitt. 34 top ten finishes in 60 starts, one non-wing 410 Sprint Car win, five second and five third place results as well as 23 top-ten finishes. Whitt also claimed a second place result at Lucas Oil Western Sprint Car Feature - Turkey Night. Along with multiple hard charger awards the Red Bull backed driver finished fourth in the O'Reilly Sprint Bandits - TNT Midwest Swing, third in the O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour Points as well as sixth in Points Kokomo Speedway.
"I remember watching in 2004 and 2005 and thinking to myself, wow, this kid is the real deal," explained Stars of Karting series President Paul Zalud. "He had loads of talent, good looks, determination...everything you need to get a hold of those much needed sponsors and make it in the world of motorsports."
With his multiple karting championships and recent success in the midget and sprint car world, Whitt has generated an impressive list of big name sponsors that he helps promote: Red Bull, Douglas Wheel, Puma, Ferguson, Moen, Locton Insurance, Gridsport, Ogio and Oakley..and the list continues to grow as Whitt shows his true skill as the years pass.
Looking to help the up and coming karters, Whitt went on to say, "Stay focused in your racing and never give up. If you want something, go and get it and when you are at the track, you are there to race...Focus on that and you will complete your job of winning."
When asked, what lies next for Cole Whitt? The simple answer was "NASCAR..It is my goal and life long dream to be there and that is what I want to do. In the short term, I am going to continue to focus on my sprint and midget racing career."