Cole Whitt went into Martinsville wanting to win. If he wasn’t going to win, he wanted to, as he put it, “maintain.”
The Red Bull development driver didn’t win Saturday’s Kroger 250. He instead stuck with the plan, maintained and finished sixth for the third consecutive top-10 finish of his rookie NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. In four races, Whitt has an average start of 11.2 and average finish of 8.5.
“The race didn’t fall the way we wanted,” said Whitt, who had seen Martinsville only once before in last season’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event. “We went for it early, kept passing a bunch of trucks. We were right there, going forward. But were just always battling.”
Coming off winning the pole in his first outing at Darlington, Whitt qualified second in Turn One Racing’s No. 60 and kept fighting trucks in traffic. The race’s 13 cautions that consumed 61 laps didn’t help his move forward after the No. 60 slipped to 18th at the lap-75 mark.
“We were pretty good on the short runs,” Whitt said. “Just never got a break and couldn’t make it work on the outside. Martinsville’s a one-groove race track, and we had to be in that groove all day.”
Whitt heads to Nashville Superspeedway later this month ranked in a tie for third in the standings. He’s seven points back of leader Johnny Sauter.
The Truck Series is off until April 22 when it visits Nashville Superspeedway for a Friday night race.
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