PENSACOLA, Fla. — Cole Williams’ big grin all year has been largely indicative of just how good his season has been.
Coming off winning two Pro Late Model track championships in three seasons at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Williams and his home-grown, family-owned team had goals entering the year of venturing out from one track and making a true go at an outlaw schedule.
None of them could have pictured the ride they would go on, though.
Williams scored marquee victories at Bristol Motor Speedway’s Short Track U.S. Nationals and Lebanon I-44 Speedway’s Master of the Pros 144 during his first full season on the road, proving his ability to perform outside of a specific setting.
“We kinda went out of our comfort zone in the past year, where instead of running for a championship somewhere, we wanted to hit big races instead,” said Williams. “It started off really well. With a smaller team, it’s harder to go to a new track and adapt quickly, but I feel like we’ve managed that part of things pretty well.”
“There were some races that we went to this year and we weren’t satisfied with that, because we’re a team that wants to win, but we had to look back at them and take all the positives we could from them. We’ve had strong runs everywhere we’ve went this year; so from here it’s all about building on them for the future.”
Williams specifically circled his survival of the Bristol event as a key confidence-builder for his year.
In that race, he started sixth but worked his way through the field early and contended for the top spot multiple times. He ultimately took the lead away for good with 27 laps to go in the 100-lap feature and never looked back.
“Bristol was a huge moment for us,” Williams said. “The Master of the Pros, too, at I-44 … those were two big, heavy-hitting events that I really wanted to check off this year and to get both in the same season is unbelievable, really.”
“Knowing that we traveled this much for the first time this year, to do what we did was a huge accomplishment for me personally, and for our entire team. We’re definitely trying to push ourselves more and more. We just want to win and we’re going to try to get all the trophies we can next season. I’m definitely happy with where we’re at right now.”
And then there was the Master of the Pros, in which Williams qualified on the outside pole but took the point off the initial start and led all 144 laps en route to victory over the JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour.
“That stuck out for us,” admitted Williams. “To come back to the place where I won the track and NASCAR state titles and do what we did in a touring series field … that was special.”
Williams recently ended his season with a come-from-behind 13th place finish during the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., weathering a 10-car pileup in the first half of the event to come back and pass cars late in the going.
So what’s the next frontier for the 21-year-old?
If all goes according to plan, he’ll be making much more regular appearances in a super late model next season.
“We’re for sure building a super for next year … it actually debuted at the Port City (Race Cars) booth at the PRI Show,” Williams said. “That’s a new adventure for our team … we’re excited about it though. I always say that all you can do is take it one day at a time, so we know what we want to do, but we’ll just wait and see where we end up when the time comes.”
For more information on Cole Williams, visit his website at www.colewilliamsracing.com.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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