One thing that Cole Williams has on everyone else is next month at the 30th Annual All American 400 is that he is guaranteed to take away a famed guitar as a trophy. While he and dozens of Pro Late Model drivers will be gunning for the guitar awarded to the winner of the All-American 400 on November 1, Williams will also take away at least one guitar when he is crowned the 2014 Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) track champion.
One guitar is good, but even Williams knows two would be better come All-American weekend.
“I feel confident with the All American 400 coming up,” said Williams. “There will be a lot of strong cars in attendance, but I think we will be right in the mix for the win like we have been all season. We won the championship by being there in at the end and that’s what we hope to do again.”
The championship picture didn’t open up for Williams until five laps to go in the season’s final Pro Late Model race Saturday night. While he was a consistent runner all season, the thought of leaping over both veteran Mark Day and upstart Josh Weston, who won the first three races this season, were unthinkable.
On lap 95 of the 100-lap race Williams heard the spotter key the radio to tell the 18-year-old driver that Day was out of the race after an incident. Weston was already out from an incident earlier in the race, leaving the title in Williams’ hands. From there Williams stopped his pressure of the race leader Willie Allen and rode to finish second to capture the campionship.
“It took me a minute to realize that we were leading the points after they told me about Day,” added Williams. “Once I figured out we were leading the race we just rode in second for the final few laps to win the championship. A championship was not in our plans this season. We put in a lot of hard work and we were going to run every week and things just worked out in the end.”
Williams won the Nashville title one year after taking the track title at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Missouri. There Williams won six of the 18 events and finished outside the top five only twice. His No. 46 team wanted another challenge in 2014 and found it in Nashville.
“Our expectations were to win the NASCAR championship last year at I-44,” said Williams. “There was a lot of pressure last year on us to win the title and we didn’t have that this season at Nashville.”
The pressure will now return as Williams’ stock has risen and eyes will be on him in the select group of the few who will be favorites at the All American 400 next month.
“Winning the title it’s phenomenal,” said Williams. “It’s a dream come true after I ran on the quarter-mile at Nashville in a Mini Cup car years ago. I watched Mark Day win the Pro Late Model portion of the All American 400 years ago. Now we want to do the same.
“We want to achieve something bigger,” said Williams. “Hopefully that’ll come next month. ”
– By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Operations Manager. Twitter: @ElginTraylor. Photo credit: Speed51.com