Cole Anderson and his ATF & Gunslinger team used trying circumstances at New Smyrna Speedway to build momentum for upcoming races while claiming a pair of top five finishes in the twin 50-lap events on Saturday night. It was Anderson's first return trip to the Florida half-mile since winning the World Series in a pro late model in February.
Anderson and team started the day off in stellar fashion, showing good pace in practice and translating it to a second-quick run during time trial qualifying. Just over 30-thousandths of a second off the pole, Anderson started the first of the two races from outside the front row.
Knowing the night would be long with a total of 100 laps of racing, Cole slid into line early and began to get his rhythm. Roughly 20 laps into the event, however, misfortune struck as Cole spun while racing for the lead. Miraculously, he avoided contact with the wall and all other competitors also avoided making contact with him. Relegated to the back, he quickly began to carve his way forward yet again, ultimately making his way to second before the end of the first 50 lap contest.
"It's hard to look at the results and say this, but it really wasn't a good weekend, or at least one we would call 'good,'" Anderson said after the races. "It was definitely a pair of races we'd like to forget but we tried our hardest to get the car going after the misfortune in the first race. Still, this gives us some momentum to know even on a bad night, we can run well."
In the second race, Cole was subject to an invert which started him sixth in the field with tires which were more abused than some of his competitors thanks to the early spin in race one. Despite the older tires, he was undeterred and moved his way forward, chasing down the leaders in the early laps. Unlike the first race, which was dotted with caution flags, race two was relatively clean. As Cole was tied up in traffic trying to pass for position, the leaders were able to scamper away and left him in fourth spot at the checkered flag.
"We just couldn't get the handling right where we wanted it," Cole explained after the races. "The inside line spun the tires on the one restart and that helped us to sneak by a few, but I feel like we just held on.
"We definitely have some things to work on, but that's why we came to this race," he continued to explain about the new super late model, a different Fury chassis than the car which he pilots in pro late model competition. "The idea was to keep adjusting on the car and learning its tendencies at a track we know, so we have a baseline for our information. Dustin, Jamie and the entire crew did great all weekend and still gave me the best car they could. We'll try again in this one soon."
The No. 97 Toyota pro late model will hit the track again this weekend in Alabama at Montgomery Motor Speedway, while the super late model will roll off the trailer in two weeks' time at Five Flags Speedway as part of the Blizzard Series and the greater Southern Super Series championship.
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.
Cole Anderson PR