So how about this 48 hours at Daytona:
Cole Whitt hit the high banks for the first time Wednesday night in Turn One Racing's No. 60 truck, paced final practice a day later, missed the show by a tick in qualifying that night, hopped in the No. 93 just before Friday's race, started at the back, moved to the front, missed the first Big One, drove into the top five and got collected in the second Big One before finishing 14th.
Disappointment aside, the season-opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event proved the 19-year-old rookie is quite capable of handling the high speeds and tight racing at Daytona International Speedway.
"I learned tons tonight … 14th is way better than we started," Whitt said.
The Red Bull development driver climbed into the No. 93, qualified by Shane Sieg, and started at the rear of the field. After feeling out the truck's capabilities for the first 60 laps, he climbed into the top 15 by lap 70. With 25 laps to go, nifty driving and not luck helped Whitt avoid the race's first multi-truck accident, as he dove from the high line to the apron to avoid what eventually became 14 cars wrecking in turn one.
Whitt settled into the bottom line and was on target for a top five before a 10-truck accident collected the No. 93 four laps from the finish. Brad Sweet broke loose in three-wide traffic and clipped Whitt, who at that point became a passenger. Only five trucks went undamaged in the race, and the sixth caution set up a green-white-checkered finish. But all Whitt could do was ride out the remaining laps to finish 14th.
"Tough start with a truck that didn't want to draft," he said. "It took me about half the race to figure out what we needed. I ran the best in the pocket — one in front, one in back. Once we got to the front it was all about staying on the bottom to come home with good finish. We were doing great until we got caught up in the second big one."
Whitt and Turn One Racing have a quick turnaround, as the Truck Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Friday's Lucas Oil 150. Whitt made his Nationwide Series debut at the 1-mile flat track last November, leading final practice, qualifying 23rd and finishing 15th. He also won the USAC Silver Crown portion of the 2009 Copper World Classic there, leading the final 83 laps for his first victory on pavement.
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