There’s a Pro Late Model driver who’s been racking up wins all season long below the Mason-Dixon line and this weekend, he’s looking to add Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) to the list.
No, we’re not talking about Casey Roderick. In fact, this driver isn’t even from the South.
Cole Anderson, a Northfield, Minnesota native, might not be the first name you think of when placing bets for the Alabama half-mile’s Show Me the Money Series “Saturday of Speed 125” event. But, based on the numbers of Pro Late Model victories he’s picked up this year (seven) with ATF & Gunslinger, it should be.
“I think our new Pro Late Model program really started off well,” Anderson told Speed51.com. “We had a pretty solid year last in 2017 and we kind of carried that momentum over into this year by winning the Speedweeks Pro Late championship.”
Five trips to New Smyrna Speedway victory lane in one week (the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing) earned Anderson the championship and a spot among Speed51.com’s Top 10: Short Track Drivers of Florida Speedweeks 2018.
The winning didn’t stop in February, however. Anderson added one more win at New Smyrna in his Pro Late Model a couple of months later before heading up to Mobile Int’l Speedway (AL). Despite only having raced there once before with the Southern Super Series, Anderson was able to leave Mobile with yet another trophy.
In three days, Anderson will face a similar set of circumstances at Montgomery Motor Speedway, a track he’s raced— even won at— in a Super Late Model, but never a Pro Late Model.
“I think, for sure, it’s going to be new to all of us,” Anderson said. “We went to Mobile and didn’t have any experience there. I had only run there once with the Southern Super Series. It’ll be kind of the same deal as Mobile, the same amount of practice. Hopefully we can just unload good and keep tuning on it from there.”
Unlike with the results at Mobile though, there’s a good chance that Roderick, who’s experienced a recent bout of bad luck in his Pro Late Model program, won’t chance getting another DNF next to his name at the end of Saturday night.
Roderick was unable to finish the race at Mobile following on-track drama involving Dustin Smith, a feud that boiled over post-race during Anderson’s celebration (read more here). Several weeks later, Roderick was stripped of his last Show Me the Money Series win with a disqualification in Montgomery’s impromptu “Room of Doom”.
“I wish Casey would’ve gotten the chance to finish at Mobile because I think we still could have contended with him for the win, even if he was up front,” Anderson said. “Casey, at every track we go to, he’s the one to beat and he’s been the most successful over the last couple of years. But I feel like we did a little bit better job at saving our equipment and I feel like we’ll be right there with him at Montgomery.”
Anderson heads into the weekend only one Pro Late Model win ahead of Roderick, but there’s another advantage that may come into play when the two finally face off on Saturday.
Taking a page right out of Bubba Pollard’s book, Anderson has been filling in this year’s schedule blanks with local dirt races at Deer Creek Speedway (MN), a pair of which he recently won.
What started out as a self-financed hobby has turned into another successful endeavor for Anderson, who now boasts the benefits of being a multifaceted driver.
“It’s something I can kind of pride myself in, because I spend all the money on it by myself and I work on it by myself,” Anderson said of his Dirt Modified program. “To go win races with that thing is pretty exciting and it kind of shows that I can win both dirt and asphalt, which is also pretty cool for my resume.”
"It’s helped with being more aggressive and more versatile,” Anderson added. “In dirt, you don’t have any spotters or mirrors, you’ve gotta kind of trust the other cars a little bit when you’re three to four-wide a few laps at a time.”
Leaving Montgomery, Anderson will continue to travel to different tracks around the south, competing at several marquee events like the Florida Governor’s Cup and of course, the Snowflake 100.
-Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com