The Ginger Lion

Racing, CrossFit, Outdoors

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Car: Sprint Cup #98
Team: Premium Motorsports
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Date of Birth: June 22, 1991
Hometown: Alpine, Calif.
Resides: Troutman, N.C.
Hobbies: CrossFit, hunting, fishing, golf

An avid fisherman, outdoorsman and CrossFitter, Cole Whitt is considered as one of the bright up and coming stars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 2016 will mark his third full time season in auto racing’s highest stock car division, but it will be his first driving for Premium Motorsports, owned by Jay Robinson.

Cole’s NASCAR career includes six years on the circuit and races in which Cole has competed in each vitally important building block series such as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. During this time Cole’s performance has earned his teams close to $10 million in race purse earnings.

Prior to joining Premium Motorsports in 2016, Cole ran for Front Row Motorsports in the #35 car, leading 5 laps throughout the season with a best finish of 13th at 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway. As a rookie in 2014, Cole had a strong campaign racing for Rookie of the Year honors with BK Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Cole competed in all 36 events while competing 94.6% of the laps run. He led one lap and had a season best race finish of 15th again at Talladega.

Before making the jump to the Cup series full time, Cole ran a limited schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2013 for TriStar Motorsports and in 2012 he competed for JR Motorsports (owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) capturing four Top-5 and 14 Top-10 finishes while finishing seventh in the championship standings.

Cole moved to JR Motorsports fresh off his first full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the end of 2011. He concluded that season with two top-fives, 11 top-10s and one pole en route to a ninth-place finish in the championship points. Toward the tail end of the year, Cole also made two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts and three starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. With those starts, he solidified himself as one of the few drivers to have raced in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series before the age of 21.

Cole’s competitive drive actually found its beginnings on two wheels. By the age of 5, he was participating in the BMX bike circuit around his hometown of Alpine, Calif. It wasn’t until his father purchased a kart that he felt the full effects of the racing bug. Cole scored countless victories that culminated into eight International Karting Federation championships and two World Karting Association Grand National championships.

Like many of the talented drivers who preceded him, including Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart, Cole blazed a path to NASCAR from the open-wheel ranks of the United States Auto Club (USAC). In 2006, he became the Hoosier Sprint Car rookie of the year. A year later he earned at top-10 finish in more than half of his 60 starts. The 2008 season brought historic success for Cole, as he became the youngest USAC National Champion.

After progressing through the USAC ranks, Cole moved to stock cars in 2010 and made a memorable debut. He won the pole and finished third in his first start in the K & N Pro Series East. Cole finished the season fourth in points with six top-fives and seven top-10s in 10 races.

Outside of racing, Cole’s hobbies and interests include improving his overall fitness with CrossFit, biking and wake boarding. He enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors with his dog. Cole is also a big animal lover, he supports a rescue facility called Lions Tigers & Bears.

Career Highlights

Fourth, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year (2014)
31st, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (2014, 2015)
21st, NASCAR Xfinity Series (2013, only competed in 15 of 33 events)
Seventh, NASCAR Xfinity Series (2012)
Ninth, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2011)
Fourth, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (2010)
USAC Super License Award (2009)
Second, USAC National Sprint Car (2009)
Sixth, USAC National Midgets (2009)
USAC National Midget champion (2008)
Fourth, USAC National Sprint Car (2008)
34 top-10 finishes in 60 starts (2007)
Hoosier Sprint Car rookie of the year (2006)
Red Bull Driver Search semifinalist (2004)
Eight-time International Karting Federation Grand National champion
Two-time World Karting Association Grand National champion