A year ago in the Can-Am Duels, Cole Whitt entered the race needing a strong performance to make the Daytona 500. Unfortunately for the California-native, his night came to an end after getting caught up in an accident trying to gain positions, effectively ending his hopes of making “The Great American Race.”
You could say Whitt got his redemption this year.
Unlike last season, he entered the race with a guaranteed spot virtue of a charter, but that wouldn’t stop him from having a good run. Battling hard all night, he came home with a 10th place finish to start the season on a high note.
After qualifying 34th this past Sunday, the 25-year-old rolled off 18th in the first Duel and stayed at the tail of the lead pack early on, trying to find a way through the pack. As the race neared its close, Whitt kept himself out of trouble and worked his way into the top-15. After restarting 12th with eight laps to go, he used the final laps to maneuver his way into top-10.
Thanks to his 10th place finish, Whitt will start 19th on Sunday. In addition to that, he also earns one point thanks to new rule changes to the Duel races.
The night also serves as a huge boost to his team, TriStar Motorsports, who are returning to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, after not fielding an entry in NASCAR’s top-tier series since 2013. It’s safe to say Thursday night will be used a step in the right direction, as the No. 72 team continues to grow and, it will be interesting to see if they can turn it into more success in the 500.
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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