|Cole Whitt before qualifying|
PHOTO: Brock Beard
HOW’S THE 72 BEEN THIS WEEKEND?
WHITT: “It’s alright. We’ll see. Just kind of working on the race car more than a qualifying car, so see what we can get today and then we’ll just go to work on Sunday.”
WHAT KIND OF RUN ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
WHITT: “Yeah, I mean obviously we want to be as far up as possible, but a Top 25 would be really good for us, we’d be happy with that, and come out of this race in general with a Top 20 would be our goal for sure.”
Whitt qualified 32nd.
After the session, we caught up with Trans-Am competitor Chris Cook, who drives Rick Ware Racing's #51 Shockwave Ford. Making his first Toyota / Save Mart 350 since 2012, Cook has also been training the K&N Pro Series West teammates at Bill McAnally Racing, hosting a test at the track on June 7. In qualifying, Cook was the first car on the track along with teammate Cody Ware, both of them finding the track treacherous due to sta-dri left on the track from Bill Kann's fiery engine failure in K&N Pro Series qualifying.
DID NASCAR SEND YOU AND CODY WARE OUT THERE TO CLEAR THE STA-DRI OFF THE TRACK?
COOK: “(Laughs) No, I mean you’re so set up for qualifying that you know we could never do that. It was kind of a Hail Mary – you roll out, you take your chances, you don’t know how slick the track’s gonna be after it’s been oiled down by the K&N cars, and my deal was ‘let’s just go for it.’ And I about crashed in Turn 9 and certainly Turn 10 was sideways and smoked the tires. That was my deal. And I’d already taken the good off the tires and so we had to go back out and we try to do a little bit better, and we did. But it’s just the struggle, everybody had the same situation.”
HOW HAS YOUR MONTH BEEN, HELPING OUT THE MCANALLY RACING TEAM AS WELL AS DRIVING THIS WEEKEND?
COOK: “Yeah, first of all, I hope all the drivers at McAnally Racing do really well. I mean, super super young kids – I say kids, they could be my kids, you know, so I’m dating myself. My overall goal here is certainly to finish the race, finish on the lead lap, and you know a Top 25 would be just tremendous for the Rick Ware team and Shockwave, my sponsor.”
YOUR CAR LOOKS A LOT LIKE KURT BUSCH’S, AND THE WARE TEAM HAS WORKED WITH STEWART-HAAS AND COLE CUSTER. IS YOUR CAR A SHR CHASSIS?
COOK: “No, it’s a Rick Ware car. It’s an older chassis, a road course chassis, and you know just a real honest good old road course car. We’ve got a Yates motor in it, I think last year’s generation. So, I think all the guys at Rick Ware Racing work their butts off and, you know, you come here with what you have and you make the most of it. And much – I’m always thrilled to be here, incredible to be here, seeing a lot of the guys I’ve coached. But it’s very humbling because it’s economics, it’s scale. You know, lots of money comes here, and usually a lot of money helps you run faster. So, it’s humbling.”