Returning to a track where you’ve historically been very successful at can often bring on a lot of pressure for a race car driver. Cole Williams returned to Missouri’s Lebanon I-44 Speedway on Saturday night, a track that he’s won a championship at in the past. At the end of the Spring Sizzler 50-lap event, Williams rose above the pressure to take the checkered flag for the first time in 2017.
“That was awesome,” Williams said. “It meant a lot to me to win there on Saturday night because of my past history here, and also because it’s one of their bigger races of the season.”
Williams set fast time in qualifying but started seventh due to an invert. The Sellersburg, Indiana native took his time working through the field and eventually found his way back to the top spot by lap 20.
“I knew we had a really good car, so my plan was to just get to the bottom and stay there. We took the lead at lap 20 and never looked back. What benefitted me the most was I got out front early enough that I was able to save my tires in case we had any late-race cautions. Doing that helped me close the deal at the end of the race.”
Williams now has some momentum heading into his next race, which is one of the biggest races of the year. Williams will run his Pro Late Model at the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway May 19-21.
He and his team tested at Bristol during an open test session a couple of weeks ago. Williams said he felt like he learned a lot about getting around the high-banked concrete oval. Adding his knowledge that he gained at the test session to the positive feelings from his win at I-44 now has Williams extremely confident heading into Thunder Valley.
“So far our thoughts are very positive heading into Bristol,” he said. “Our car was really good and we learned a lot about what we can do differently to the car to make it faster. It would be really cool to add a Bristol win to our resume.”
The inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway take place May 19-21. Fans can watch Williams race live via a pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com.
For more information on Cole Williams, please visit colewilliamsracing.com. Also be sure to follow Cole Williams on Twitter, @ColeWilliams46.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo Credit: Cole Williams Racing