Drivers from the Sunshine State and surrounding areas will flock to Five Flags Speedway (FL) this Friday night for the Allen Turner Pro Late Model season opener. Among the drivers in attendance will be perhaps the hottest driver in Pro Late Model competition so far this year.
Cole Anderson will be bringing the ATF & Gunslinger No. 97 Pro Late Model to the Allen Turner Hyundai 100 hoping to take home the checkered flag and yet another Pro Late Model victory in 2018.
Although the Pro Late Model season is just beginning at Five Flags, it has already started at other race tracks including New Smyrna Speedway (FL) where Anderson won five of the seven Pro Late Model races during the 2018 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. With a dominating performance that week, Anderson hopes to carry that momentum into the season opener in the panhandle of Florida.
“I’m pretty confident,” Anderson told Speed51.com. “We had a good run the last two times we’ve been there, just not the best of luck.”
Having a bit of bad luck during the last few visits to Five Flags won’t put a damper on Anderson’s abilities to compete against some of the best talent in the country. Although he has seen success in both Super Late Models and Pro Late Models in recent years, Anderson finds the most confidence behind the wheel of a Pro Late Model.
“Our Pro car has been pretty consistent wherever we have taken it,” he stated. “We can just keep doing what we’re doing and I think we’ll be alright.”
When asked his season thus far, the 20-year-old agreed that strategy and skill were an essential part of having a great start. Now, as he looks forward to the difficult task of winning at Five Flags Speedway, he has his sights set on the strategical aspect of the race.
With a strategy that will be much less aggressive on his equipment, Anderson has already laid the ground work to a successful race ahead. Five Flags is anything but easy on a set of tires and acknowledging this before you even pull onto the race track is crucial.
“I think if we could just get a good qualifying spot and try and start up near the front and just kind of ride around,” Anderson explained. “I think last time I raced there we started on the front row, I got too big of a lead and kind of burned up the tires too early. We will conserve our stuff and be there at the end.”
As dominant as his car was at the New Smyrna World Series, Anderson struggled at the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway less than two weeks ago.
“We were at the Rattler 250 a few weeks ago, the Pro race we qualified fifth and we had something in the left front go bad,” Anderson said. “It was either a shock or a ball joint and we ended up tenth that race.”
Anderson will be looking to reverse his luck and return to victory lane for the sixth time this year when the green flag waves on the Pro Late Model season Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
-By Kendra Adams, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com