Cole Whitt

IntroAmerican stock car racing driver
Is Racecar driver 
Driver 
From United States of America 
Type Sports 
Gendermale
Birth 22 June 1991 
, Alpine, USA
Age29 years
Star signCancer

Cole Daniel Whitt (born June 22, 1991) is an American former professional stock car racing driver. After advancing his way through Kart racing, Whitt moved up to sprint cars and became a development driver for Team Red Bull. After running in the K&N Pro Series East, Whitt made his NASCAR debut in 2010. He last competed part-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for TriStar Motorsports. He is nicknamed “The Ginger Lion” due to his ferocity behind the wheel of race cars and his red hair.

Racing career

USAC

Cole Whitt, born to Tobin and Kim Whitt, was inspired to race when he saw his cousin Brandon with a go-kart. After winning championships in go-karts, Whitt moved up to sprint cars in 2004. Whitt was quickly noticed by Red Bull and was in the semifinals for Red Bull’s driver development search. After winning the Hoosier Sprint Rookie of the Year award in 2006, Whitt traveled around the United States the next year, running 60 races and gaining top tens in 34 of those starts. To continue his racing career, Whitt and his mother moved to Lebanon, Indiana. In 2008 Whitt became the youngest winner of the USAC National Midget Championship, while winning the Hut Hundred. The next year Whitt raced in Silver Crown, Sprints, and Midgets, earning 17 wins driving for Keith Kunz.

NASCAR

Early years

Whitt moved up to stock cars in 2010, the same year he won the Super License award for USAC. Whitt ran for the Camping World East Series championship, where he impressed by winning the pole in his first start at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Whitt eventually finished fourth in points. Whitt was rewarded with making his Nationwide Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway, where he made the race and finished 15th. The next week, Whitt ran both the Nationwide and Truck Series events at Homestead-Miami Speedway, finishing 17th and 28th respectively, running the Truck race for Turn One Racing. Whitt drove for Turn One in 2011 and competed for Rookie of the Year honors. After failing to qualify in the No. 60 truck at Daytona, Whitt drove the No. 93 for RSS Racing before returning to Turn One. Whitt won the pole at Darlington, and became the first rookie to lead the Truck Series points after Charlotte, winding up ninth in points at the end of the season. He also drove a third Team Red Bull entry in the Sprint Cup Series in the final two races of the season at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, but ended Homestead with a DNF near the finish of the race.

Xfinity Series

With the closing of Red Bull’s racing program after the 2011 season, Whitt signed a contract with JR Motorsports to drive that team’s No. 88 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series in 2012, competing for Rookie of the Year honors. He also competed on a start and park basis in the Sprint Cup Series in selected races for Turn One Racing and Circle Sport. At the October Talladega race, Whitt was running in the top 15 before a crash involving Carl Edwards and Joey Logano took out Whitt on lap 17.

In 2013, Whitt and JR Motorsports parted ways with the team citing lack of sponsorship. He later joined forces with Tri-Star Motorsports, driving their No. 44 Nationwide entry from Dover onward. He earned his first top-ten of the year with an eighth-place finish at Road America. Late in the season, he ran seven Sprint Cup races with Swan Racing Company as a replacement for David Stremme. The team then hired him for the full 2014 season, placing him in their new second team, the No. 26.

Monster Energy Cup Series

During 2014 Daytona 500 practice, Whitt’s car had debris hit the nose, and without a backup car due to teammate Parker Kligerman’s crash during the session, Whitt’s team was forced to make repairs, and he also did not have a provisional to lock him into the race. In the Budweiser Duels, Whitt’s transfer into the 500 varied, but gained eight spots in the final five laps to finish 11th and qualify. When asked about the Duel, Whitt stated, “It was a hard way to do it, being out and back in with just a lap or so to go. I didn’t know if I was in when I crossed the finish line. It was a nail biter, for sure.” In the Daytona 500, Whitt ran as high as fourth, but ran out of fuel, and was later down two laps. However, Whitt eventually returned onto the lead lap, but was involved in a crash with seven laps remaining. Whitt finished 28th in the race.

Due to Swan Racing’s restructuring, Whitt’s future with the team was left in doubt, and on April 21, a representative from FUEL Sports Management Group announced that Whitt did not have a ride for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond. However, Swan minority partner Anthony Marlowe stated his intent to run with Whitt for the remainder of the 2014 season. Days later the 26 team was acquired by the former Swan co-owner and he merged his ownership into BK Racing, with Whitt remaining behind the wheel. The team debuted at Richmond for the Toyota Owners 400 under the BK Racing flag and maintained all accumulated 2014 driver and owner points.

At Daytona in the Coke Zero 400, Whitt was caught up into a multi-car pileup and he t-boned Kyle Busch throwing Busch onto his roof. At Watkins Glen in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, Whitt crashed early in the race when his car drove straight into a tire barrier in turn 1 in an accident that loosely resembled Jimmie Johnson’s infamous crash at the same spot in 2000. Whitt climbed out mostly unscathed. Whitt led his first lap in Sprint Cup competition under caution in the GEICO 500 at Talladega. He would ultimately hang on for his then career-best finish of 15th.

At the end of the season, in which he finished 31st in points, BK Racing owners Ron Devine and Anthony Marlowe announced that Whitt would not return to BK Racing in 2015. It was then rumored that he had left the team so he could replace David Ragan in the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. Marlowe then sent a Tweet congratulating Whitt for getting the ride with the team. However, less than 24 hours later, Front Row Motorsports spokesperson Shari Spiewak squashed that announcement by stating that it was false and that they denied that Whitt was replacing Ragan at Front Row and that they are working to get Ragan and teammate David Gilliland contract extensions with them, leaving many including Ragan puzzled about what Marlowe was thinking. Marlowe later apologized to Ragan and the team about his inadvertent tweet in an interview with MotorSportsTalk, although he still insisted Whitt was headed to Front Row in some capacity. Whitt would eventually announce that he had left BK Racing.

Later, on January 16, 2015, Front Row announced that Whitt would join the team, in the No. 35 Ford, the third full-time team car. Speed Stick GEAR, who had sponsored him for four races at Swan and seven at BK, followed him to Front Row in a ten-race deal, along with Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters for an undisclosed number of races. Whitt finished the year 31st in points for the second straight year, while improving his career best finish to 13th in the GEICO 500 at Talladega. FRM shut down the No. 35 car leaving Whitt with no ride in 2016.

Whitt moved to Premium Motorsports in 2016, driving the No. 98 with sponsorship from RTIC coolers, Speed Stick, and Rinnai among others. While racing Michael McDowell in his Can-Am Duel race, Whitt spun and broke his transmission, which caused him to miss the Daytona 500 after qualifying the previous two years. Whitt finished a 26th place at Fontana on an unfunded team. At Talledega, Whitt avoided massive crashes contending a top 10 finish, but was involved in the last lap crash finishing a season best 18th. On the series’ return to Daytona, Whitt was able to avoid major crash involvement and crossed the line 11th, a new career best, and Jay Robinson’s best finish as a Sprint Cup owner. During the season, Whitt also ran sporadically for TriStar Motorsports in the Xfinity Series and RBR Enterprises in the Truck Series. During the Chase for the Championship, being replaced by drivers like D. J. Kennington.

Whitt had a hand in determining the 2016 Xfinity Series champion. Late in the Ford EcoBoost 300, a caution came out. Whitt was running eighteenth in TriStar Motorsports’ No. 14 entry and on the lead lap, but the team was out of tires. Whitt’s crew decided to keep him out, meaning that he would restart first, alongside Chase contender Daniel Suárez. The other three Chase contenders were near Whitt; Elliott Sadler was behind Suarez while Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier were behind Whitt. On the restart, Whitt was slow on the gas, and while Suarez and Sadler sped by, Jones and Allgaier were trapped behind Whitt, who eventually fell all the way back to eighteenth in the ten laps remaining. Suarez wound up winning the championship. Jones harshly criticized Whitt after the race, calling the move “disrespectful”, while Allgaier was more subdued. Whitt later apologized for the incident, saying, “It’s not like you mean to do it.” He also partially blamed Jones ramming him on the restart as to why he did not get up to speed.

On February 2, 2017, it was announced that Whitt would join TriStar Motorsports for the entire 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule as a chartered team, driving the No. 72 Ford Fusion. At the Daytona 500, Whitt qualified 17th, led three laps and finished 18th. Over the next four races, he recorded a best finish of 20th at Atlanta. Before Texas, TriStar struck an eight-race deal with RTIC Coolers starting at the track’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, where Whitt finished 30th. During the race at Talladega, Whitt dodged multiple wrecks and finished a then-season-high 16th. Whitt endured various issues with his cars over the following races: at Kansas, he had multiple struggles but still finished 26th; in Charlotte’s Coca-Cola 600, he had engine problems and finished 34th; two races later at Pocono, he was running 25th when the right front tire blew out, causing him to finish 30th. During the first road race of the season at Sonoma, he ran as high as 13th, but dropped to 21st after deciding not to pit. In the return to Daytona, he had a transmission issue on lap 9, causing the No. 72 to finish 39th, beginning a three-race string of DNFs: at Kentucky, he finished 34th; at Loudon, he blew an engine on lap 66, finishing 38th. At Indianapolis, the team was able to avoid the crashes that gobbled up several racers and keep the engine running to finish 12th. Before the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington, it was announced Whitt would run his grandfather’s “lime green machine” modified scheme sponsored by Ted Whitt Plumbing. He ran the car to a solid 23rd, three laps down.

Whitt’s first five races of the NASCAR playoffs resulted in finishes outside the top 30. At Chicagoland, he ran into various problems and finished 35th, 10 laps down, followed by runs of 30th and four laps down (Loudon), 32nd and eight laps down (Dover), 34th and 42 laps down (Charlotte), and 34th and 25 laps down following a wreck with Michael McDowell (Talladega). In the return to Kansas, he ran 24th. On the final lap of Martinsville, cars stacked up in front of him, and he was pushed into Erik Jones, causing the latter to spin. He avoided the crash and finished 25th. Whitt closed the season by finishing 29th, 36th, and 28th at Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead, respectively.

On February 6, 2018, Whitt announced he would step back to a part-time ride in 2018 with TriStar, sharing the ride with Corey LaJoie. Whitt stated that the part time change was due to him wanting to spend more time with family. Whitt started the season in Atlanta, where he qualified 32nd and finished 28th. On November 12, TriStar Motorsports announced the 2018 Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway was his final race in NASCAR.

Personal life

Whitt was born in San Diego but raised in Alpine, California. He is a cousin of former NASCAR driver Brandon Whitt.

Motorsports career results

NASCAR

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Monster Energy Cup Series

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series results
YearTeamNo.Make123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536 MENCCPtsRef
2011Team Red Bull84ToyotaDAYPHOLVSBRICALMARTEXTALRCHDARDOVCLTKANPOCMCHINFDAYKENNHAINDPOCGLNMCHBRIATLRCHCHINHADOVKANCLTTALMARTEXPHOHOM60th0
2012Turn One Racing74ChevyDAYPHOLVSBRICALMARTEXKANRCHTALDARCLTDOVPOCMCHSONKENDAYNHAINDPOCGLNMCHBRIATLRCH73rd0
Circle Sport33ChevyCHINHADOVTALCLTKANMARTEXPHOHOM
2013Swan Racing Company30ToyotaDAYPHOLVSBRICALMARTEXKANRCHTALDARCLTDOVPOCMCHSONKENDAYNHAINDPOCGLNMCHBRIATLRCHCHINHADOVKANCLTTALMARTEXPHOHOM65th0
2014Swan Racing26DAYPHOLVSBRICALMARTEXDAR31st532
BK RacingRCHTALKANCLTDOVPOCMCHSONKENDAYNHAINDPOCGLNMCHBRIATLRCHCHINHADOVKANCLTTALMARTEXPHOHOM
2015Front Row Motorsports35FordDAYATLLVSPHOCALMARTEXBRIRCHTALKANCLTDOVPOCMCHSONDAYKENNHAINDPOCGLNMCHBRIDARRCHCHINHADOVCLTKANTALMARTEXPHOHOM31st553
2016Premium Motorsports98ToyotaDAYTALSONDAYGLN37th276
ChevyATLLVSPHOCALMARTEXBRIRCHKANDOVCLTKENNHAINDPOCBRIMCHDARRCHCHINHADOVCLT
55POCMCHKANTALMARTEXPHOHOM
2017TriStar Motorsports72FordDAY33rd322
ChevyATLLVSPHOCALMARTEXBRIRCHTALKANCLTDOVPOCMCHSONDAYKENNHAINDPOCGLNMCHBRIDARRCHCHINHADOVCLTTALKANMARTEXPHOHOM
2018DAYATLLVSPHOCALMARTEXBRIRCHTALDOVKANCLTPOCMCHSONCHIDAYKENNHAPOCGLNMCHBRIDARINDLVSRCHCLTDOVTALKANMARTEXPHOHOM35th132
Daytona 500
YearTeamManufacturerStartFinish
2014Swan RacingToyota2328
2015Front Row MotorsportsFord1922
2016Premium MotorsportsToyotaDNQ
2017TriStar MotorsportsFord1718

Xfinity Series

NASCAR Xfinity Series results
YearTeamNo.Make1234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272829303132333435 NXSCPtsRef
2010Team Red Bull84ToyotaDAYCALLVSBRINSHPHOTEXTALRCHDARDOVCLTNSHKENROANHADAYCHIGTYIRPIOWGLNMCHBRICGVATLRCHDOVKANCALCLTGTYTEXPHOHOM107th118
2011Pastrana-Waltrip Racing99ToyotaDAYPHOLVSBRICALTEXTALNSHRCHDARDOVIOWCLTCHIMCHROADAYKENNHANSHIRPIOWGLNCGVBRIATLRCHCHIDOVKANCLTTEXPHOHOM118th0
2012JR Motorsports88ChevyDAYPHOLVSBRICALTEXRCHTALDARIOWCLTDOVMCHROAKENDAYNHACHIINDIOWGLNCGVBRIATLRCHCHIKENDOVCLTKANTEXPHOHOM7th994
2013TriStar Motorsports44ToyotaDAYPHOLVSBRICALTEXRCHTALDARCLTDOVIOWMCHROAKENDAYNHACHIINDIOWGLNMOHATLRCHCHIKENDOVKANCLTTEXPHOHOM21st426
10BRI
2016TriStar Motorsports14ToyotaDAYATLLVSPHOCALTEXBRIRCHTALDOVCLTPOCMCHIOWDAYKENNHAINDIOWGLNMOHBRIROADARRCHCHIKENDOVCLTKANTEXPHOHOM110th0

Camping World Truck Series

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series results
YearTeamNo.Make12345678910111213141516171819202122232425 NCWTCPtsRef
2010Turn One Racing60ChevyDAYATLMARNSHKANDOVCLTTEXMCHIOWGTYIRPPOCNSHDARBRICHIKENNHALVSMARTALTEXPHOHOM107th79
2011DAYPHO DARMARNSHDOVCLTKANTEXKENIOWNSHIRPPOCMCHBRIATLCHINHAKENLVSTALMARTEXHOM9th764
RSS Racing93ChevyDAY
2012Hillman Racing27ChevyDAYMARCARKANCLTDOVTEXKENIOWCHIPOCMCHBRIATLIOWKENLVSTALMARTEXPHOHOM91st0
2016RBR Enterprises92FordDAYATLMARKANDOVCLTTEXIOWGTWKENELDPOCBRIMCHMSPCHINHALVSTALMARTEXPHOHOM91st0

K&N Pro Series East

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East results
YearTeamNo.Make12345678910 NKNPSECPtsRef
2010Team Red Bull84Toyota GRESBO IOWMARNHALRPLEEGRENHADOV4th1420

Season still in progress
Ineligible for series points

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