PENSACOLA, FL (Dec. 7, 2016) – Cole Anderson came into the Snowball Derby with high hopes for success after qualifying tenth and racing well at Five Flags Speedway earlier in the year. On Tuesdaynight, however, the rain delayed race was anything but kind to him. The Minnesota driver was swept up in a pair of incidents which ultimately relegated him to a 24th place finish.
Anderson started the weekend as one of the fastest cars in practice. Session after session, the No. 97 Timberwolf Plastics Toyota was at or near the top of the board prior to Friday’s qualifying attempt. Following pole qualifying, Cole was locked into the field on time with the tenth-fastest speed and the Anthony Campi Racing team was able to focus on race setup and strategy for Sunday.
Mother Nature dealt the competitors a blow like they did not expect on Sunday as she washed out all on-track activity not only for Sunday, but Monday as well, forcing race officials to alter the pit stop procedures to accommodate crew members who had to return to work on hobbyist teams. Finally, on Tuesdayevening, the 49th Annual Snowball Derby took the green flag.
From the drop of the green flag, the No. 97 began to handle differently than it had during practice. With new track conditions and cooler temperatures, the team was expecting to make adjustments but the scale of adjustments Cole needed forced the team to adjust their strategy for the changing conditions. Early in the race, the team pitted to adjust the car but lost track position and were swept up into a wreck on a restart soon after the stop.
“There was a big wreck ahead of us and I got slowed down in time but someone came flying through the accident and clipped my left front,” explained Anderson after the race. “From there, I had no brakes, no clutch, and the toe was knocked out. We got the brakes fixed but still didn’t have much of a clutch for the rest of the race.”
Playing another strategy card, the No. 97 team stayed out on late cautions trying to save fresh tires for the end of the race where the additional grip would have the most use for a run to the checkered. A late race restart changed the circumstances once again for the No. 97 crew and ultimately put them out of the race in 24th.
“We came in with around 50 to go to get a fresh set of tires for the end,” said Anderson, who raced his second Snowball Derby. “On the restart, the leader must not have gone and it stacked up the field and they started wrecking. My left front got into Derek Kraus’ right rear and it shot me into the wall and destroyed our racecar.
“This weekend had its struggles for some reason, but I’m confident that Anthony and the team will get something figured out before Speedweeks at New Smyrna,” he continued. “I’m still really thankful and happy that we qualified in on time and made the race, plus we also won best appearing car, so there was a little something to celebrate there.”
For more information and the latest updates about Cole Anderson visit his newly-launched website at http://www.coleandersonracing.
Credit: Performance Marketing Group