CONCORD, N.C. –The biggest mover in the updated Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) Kulwicki Cup points announced this week is Sellersburg, Indiana’s Cole Williams. Despite only racing in 10 events this season, Williams moved from seventh to fifth in the latest standings, and is only a handful of points out of fourth place.
An engineering major at Indiana University-Southeast, Williams has scored four wins so far this season; two each at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and Lebanon I-44 Speedway in Missouri. For Williams, the 2015 season has been a trying one, but he has made the best of a challenging situation.
Williams’ original plan for the year was to include running a handful of races in a Late Model Stock Car at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia. However, he could not come to terms with the LMR Motorsports team and the deal came apart just before the first scheduled test session.
“We lost our Late Model ride pretty late in the game, but we were able pick up some more races at I-44 with our family team to go along with our Nashville schedule,” said the popular 19-year-old racer. “In some ways, it was a blessing in disguise. Even with a few rain outs, by the end of year we will have run more races than we originally planned. I have never run so many weeks in a row before and this has been such a great and memorable summer for out team.”
The turning point for Williams’ season came in the fourth Pro Late Model race of the season at Nashville on July 11. After blowing the engine in his primary car in Friday’s practice, his team had to borrow shop space and have his backup car brought down from the team’s Indiana shop. Williams and crew burned the midnight oil in getting their car ready for Saturday night’s race. The hard work paid off as he scored his first-ever Nashville victory in that 100-lap battle.
Since his mid-season switch to a brand new No. 46 Port City Racing Chevy SS, Williams has won four of seven races.
“The new car is 200 pounds lighter and the front end geometry is so progressive,” Williams said. “It turns just like a go-kart and the handling stays consistent over long runs.”
Consistency has always been a hallmark during Williams’ brief late model career. In 2014, he won the track title at Nashville without winning a race. Track insiders knew it was only a matter of time before the young hotshot made his breakthrough visit to Victory Lane.
“We have hit on a pretty good package this summer, and the results show it,” said Williams. “I’ve learned a lot about saving tires, and am getting much better at keeping a smooth, consistent line. We’re really making strides.”
Currently fifth in the latest KDDP point standings, Williams knows that catching season-long points leader Ty Majeski is a bit of a long shot, but he says his team will keep digging.
“We are just hoping to achieve as much as we can during the rest of the year,” said Williams. “If we keep winning, we’ll be right in the hunt. Being a part of the KDDP has been fantastic for our team. It has definitely added to the exposure for all our sponsors, including Rite-Way Industries, Bordeau Metals, and Cardinal Services. I am really looking forward to getting back on the track at I-44 Speedway this weekend and sharing more about the program and Alan’s career with the fans.”
Off the track, Williams is typically the first to wish his fellow KDDP competitors good luck and the first to congratulate them on a victory. Most impressive, Williams is the first to pump a driver up after a bad run. His camaraderie-boosting efforts have been noticed by the organization’s board members as he was awarded “discretionary bonus points” for it during the most recent points update.
“Although we are competing against each other, I see us as a big family,” offered Williams. “We’ve bonded through the competition, and it’s great to call Ty, Reagan, Steve, Dave, Bryce, and Justin my friends.”
The next three Saturday nights, Williams will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series (NWAAS) Weekly Series at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. The high-banked, three-eighths-mile oval is Missouri’s only paved oval, and over the years, has seen drivers such Mike Wallace, Jamie McMurray, and short track legend Larry Phillips grace victory lane. He will return to action at Nashville on Sept. 12. He is currently second in the point standings there, trailing veteran driver Willie Allen by 30 points.
This Saturday (August 22) is Emerson/Copeland Night at the Races at I-44. Gates open at 5:00 p.m., with racing to follow at 6:00 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for active duty military and seniors, $5 for juniors, and kids 10 and under are free. For more information, please visit the track’s website at www.i44speedway.net. The track is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lebanon-I-44-Speedway/124072480941296 and you can follow them on Twitter at @i44speedway.
For all the latest news in short track racing, we invite you to visit Speed51.com, the official media partner of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. Follow them on Twitter at @speed51dotcom and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/speed51.
-Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release