NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL (Jul. 2, 2018) – When Cole Anderson and his ATF & Gunslinger team rolled into New Smyrna this past weekend, they were looking to set a baseline for their reassembled chassis. And set a baseline they did. Anderson once again took his No. 97 Toyota to victory lane following Saturday evening’s race.
The weekend began with a promising test session for the No. 97 team on Friday. Since it had been a little while since Cole had raced this particular car, they were looking to re-establaish a baseline on their machine. Little did they know, the track time on Friday was going to be the most valuable they received during the course of the weekend.
While Cole and the team were happy with the car following Friday’s shakedown, they showed up to the track Saturday hoping to have time to make a few additional adjustments in search of speed. Mother Nature had different ideas. Rain plagued the speedway most of the day on Saturday, totally washing out qualifying and forcing the field to start from a blind, lottery-style draw. Soon after the green flag, Cole made his way to second and set his sights on the leader.
“The bottom of the racetrack was so wet, you had to be really quick about a pass,” he explained about his ascension through the field. “That’s probably the reason they had us start single file was because of the moisture on the bottom of the track. We got to second within a couple of laps and I was starting to run down the leader.”
An early caution allowed the field to bunch up and placed Anderson on the rear bumper of the leader. After a few laps, he made his move to take the lead and never looked back. The victory continued a success streak at the facility where Cole captured this year’s World Series of Asphalt Championship in pro late models.
“When that caution came out, it allowed me to run around five laps behind him just to see where his weakness was,” Cole explained about the pass for the lead. “I got by him going into turn three and just cruised out front from there.
“It seems like we never skip a beat at New Smyrna,” he continued. “It was the first time back with this car since Speedweeks and we’ve only made it better. It felt really good to have a performance like that.”
The No. 97 Timberwolf Plastics team had planned to use this weekend as a test session for next week’s doubleheader at Five Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway, the first race of which counts towards a potentail Snowflake 100 provisional at the end of the year. To say they are riding a wave of confidence is an understatement.
“I’m really looking forward to Pensacola and Mobile next weekend,” Anderson said. “I honestly believe we’re going to be one of the teams to beat. I’ve never felt more confident in a pro late model than I do right now.”
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.