As he gets racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the veterans are getting him.
“I feel like I’ve been earning the respect of the veteran drivers,” said Cole Whitt, the rookie driver of Turn One Racing’s No. 60. “I’ve run all 1,000 laps this year, and you get those laps by not crashing and running the whole race. You get that respect by not tearing up trucks. You can run hard an race hard, but you don’t need to run hard and race hard, wrecking yourself and wrecking others.”
That approach for the 19-year-old Red Bull athlete has him ranked third in the driver standings — only seven points behind leader Matt Crafton. He has four top 10s in the six races this season, with a best finish of second (Friday at Dover) and a worst of 14th (Feb. 18 at Daytona). Only three drivers — Whitt, Matt Crafton and Max Papis — have completed all 1,000 laps this season.
At Dover, Whitt battled neck-and-neck with some of NASCAR’s finest drivers — Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, just to name two.
“It’s starting to dawn on me. I’m almost living the dream that I want to,” Whitt said. “But I realize I have a pretty cool job. It shows you where you stack up. It shows you how you are against them. It’s huge for me. I’m proving something to myself.”
He’ll have to prove it again in Friday night’s Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, yet another track Whitt has yet to see out of a windshield.
“I’m excited about Charlotte. It looks like a fun race track,” Whitt said. “The trucks always put on a pretty good show there. I’ve always been one to watch it on TV. It’s got speed and banking, but at the same time it’s not wide open. Just a different track to race. This track fits my driving style — places where you can drive really hard. The harder you go, the harder it sits in the track, the more grip.”
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