Q&A WITH COLE No. 84 driver Cole Whitt, coming off a fifth-place finish July 30 at Lee USA Speedway, ranks fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship entering Saturday night's race at Gresham Motorsports Park. The layoff gave us time...
Q&A WITH COLE
No. 84 driver Cole Whitt, coming off a fifth-place finish July 30 at Lee USA Speedway, ranks fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship entering Saturday night's race at Gresham Motorsports Park. The layoff gave us time to catch up with Cole.
Q: There are three races left in the year. Rate your season so far, your expectations for last month or two?
A: "We've done pretty good this year. The whole DNF deal killed us at Iowa in the third race. And New Hampshire killed a little bit of momentum we had things seemed to be rolling well and we were running top five. I think we will be fine at Gresham. We got a test in there but unfortunately had a tire go down and had a little more work to do, but all in all the test (Aug. 10) went well and our car was fast. Going into this race everyone here seems to be more excited than going to any track. I think we will have a good chance to win it."
Q: You are fourth in points with three races to go. Are you pretty much done with points racing, just going for wins?
A: "I don't really look at the points right now. I don't even know how far back we are (156 points off the lead). I'm not even worried about the championship. Going into the season, that was our first goal but reaching that right now probably isn't realistic. We will keep going for wins, and we will do everything we can to collect some wins. We want to go to every race and be first in practice and on the pole for qualifying and win the race that's our goal going to each track. If we can do that then the points will take care of itself."
Q: What have you been doing these past 3-4 weeks since the last race?
A: "I've been trying to keep busy at the shop. It takes forever in between races and I just chomp at the bit to go racing, for sure. Sometimes I don't get to sleep because I'm so excited to go racing and it sucks that we don't get to go every weekend. You have one bad weekend you have to sit out for so long or if you have a good weekend you don't go back for a month. You try to keep yourself busy and find some type of fix for how bad you just want to race."
Q: You're a video gamer what's your favorite video game?
A: "Call of Duty. That's pretty much the only game I play."
Q: Are you one of those guys that will sit there for six hours and play into the early hours of the morning?
A: "Usually, I play for a while but I'm off of it pretty early. I don't normally play late at night."
Q: You've been in North Carolina for a year now. You live in Mooresville. What kind of food have you started eating around here?
A: "A lot of steak and potatoes recently."
Q: Was college ever an option for you? When you were mapping out your future? Or was it just racing?
A: "It was pretty much just racing. I never really thought about trying to go to college. I really wanted to just get through high school so I could get out of high school. I've just always wanted to race. I didn't really enjoy school. I did it so I could get to the race track because mom was making me do it."
Q: Are you much of a sports fan?
A: "The only one I really pay attention to is football. I like college football more than I like the NFL. I'm a big fan of the San Diego Chargers, but they don't give you much to cheer about."
Q: Favorite thing to do around the shop?
A: "I like getting a car back from paint and body and starting to assemble it. Putting all these parts and pieces in and it's looking like a real race car. These guys know what they're doing and I've learned a lot from them. I think when you get a car that's fresh from paint and you start putting it together you feel like you're putting a winning piece together."
Q: Do you get excited when you get a brand new race car?
A: "Definitely. Sometimes, when we put stuff together it looks like all the other ones, but then other times you put stuff together you get a feeling I don't know what it is. You know when everything goes together right that it's alive and it just wants to race so you get excited to drive it."
Q: What do you dread doing around the shop?
A: "It's all pretty cool. The week leading up to the race is probably the hardest part and my least favorite because it seems to go so slow."
Q: Of the tracks on the K&N East schedule, what is your favorite?
A: "The big tracks with banking are a lot of fun. Iowa is a lot more fun than New Hampshire. It has so much banking you can roll with so much momentum and run a few different lines. So far Iowa has been the most fun, but I'm really looking forward to Dover. That should be exciting."
Q: Would you rather be a "bottom feeder" or have a car that likes the high side?
A: "Wherever there isn't anyone in front of me."
Q: Talk about the communication with you and crew chief Randy Cox. How has it evolved since the beginning of the season?
A: "I don't really think it's changed much. I think we hit it off pretty good on day one. We are all real comfortable with each other and we can tell each other anything at the race track and whatever is going on we can figure it out and get the car right."
Q: Any funny stories from the road with your crew?
A: "Craig (Smokstad) likes to do these bottle bombs. He takes an empty water bottle and tapes it to the end of an air hose. When someone walks buy he'll turn the air on and it will blow up. It makes such a loud noise it will about blow your eardrums out. It gets a good laugh when you get someone that jumps."