Wade Cole, a fixture of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) scene passed away Sunday at 67 years of age. According to the website RaceDayCT, Cole was killed in an accident at his home.
Cole of Riverton, CT competed in all 16 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events during the 2019 season, and accumulated 371 starts in the series since the inception of the Modified Tour in 1985.
Cole was the embodiment of the underdog, grassroots racer, even while competing on one of the most prestigious short track racing series in North America. Often showing up to the track with a small crew – if any crew at all, Cole competed for the love of the sport.
“I’m old school,” he told Speed51 in 2018, following his 350th career Tour start. “That’s the way everyone did it in the old days and it’s just the way I’ve always done it.
“I suppose my high is racing. That’s what I enjoy doing. I enjoy the people here and my friends.”
Although he never scored a victory on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Cole beat many of the Tour regulars at local tracks in the Northeast prior to making the jump to Modifieds.
According to historical records, Cole won four Sportsman Modified races at Monadnock Speedway (NH) between the years of 1973 and 1977. During this time, Cole was competing against the likes of New England Auto Racers Hall of Famer Dwight Jarvis.
Cole also won a Tour-type Modified race at Monadnock in 1988 while competing against Modified greats such as Reggie Ruggiero and Mike Stefanik. Additionally, he won a Tour-type Modified race at Riverside Park Speedway (MA) in 1987 against a field that included Stefanik, Ruggiero, Rick Fuller, Bob Polverari and others.
Speed51 offers its thoughts and prayers to Wade Cole’s family and friends at this time.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor & Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo