Cole Powell Charges Hard To Capture 3rd At Talladega – Career Best Finish For Himself And His Lira Motorsports Team
In his third ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start, Cole Powell raced to a third place finish on Friday in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 at Talladega Superspeedway. It was not only his best career finish, but the best finish to date for the upstart Lira Motorsports team competing in its first year of ARCA Racing competition.
Cole came into the race with previous superspeedway experience from two races at Daytona International Speedway, and was quick to get up to speed in the 110 minute practice session Friday morning before qualifying. He ended the session at 9th fastest out of 34 cars participating in the session.
After qualifying, Cole commented, “I think we’ve got ourselves a sporty little hot rod here at Talladega… P9 after practice. Group format qualifying can be unpredictable, but hopefully we’ll be able to put down a good lap.”
The eight-minute qualifying session ended up being the low point of the day for the Mt. Brydges, Ontario racer. His best lap was more than a second off his practice time, and only good enough for the 21st starting position.
By halfway through the 42 lap green flag run that started the race, Cole had worked his way inside the top ten. He raced clean, but hard, in the side-by-side style that Talladega is famous for, including a several-lap battle with the Ken Schrader racing 52 car that left tire marks on the left side of his Tricar / Gary Yeomans Ford Fusion.
The first caution of the race on lap 43 was perfect timing for Cole’s Lira Motorsports crew to pack his car with enough fuel to take him to the races eventual, overtime checkered flag at lap 79.
On the next-to-last restart following the third caution with only three laps to go, Cole found himself in the 8th position. When the field came around to take the white flag and the 4th yellow flag of the race at the same time, he had raced his way up to 6th. When he took the green flag / white flag for a one lap shootout to the finish, he was ready to go all out for the win.
Coming into the tri-oval to the checkered flag, race winner Blake Jones had taken a few car length lead, while Cole was in 4th behind two Venturini Motorsports cars running side-by-side. Cole shot to the outside and held second place momentarily, before the three cars came across Talladega’s end-of-trioval finish line three wide, with Cole taking third place. Unofficially, his strong finish earned him the CGS Imaging Hard Charger award for the race. (Photo: Cole came through the tri-oval ahead of the 55 and 25 cars on the way to the checkered flag.)
This will be the third CGS Imaging Hard Charger award won by a Lira Motorsports driver through the first five races of the year. Drivers Michael Lira and David Levine have won the award once each.
In the media center after the race, Cole spoke about the finish, and his prospects at running additional races in the ARCA Series this year. “It was huge. I felt like we really needed this. I’m not too sure what I’m doing next, whether it will be ARCA or Late Models… Hopefully the good finish, somebody recognizes this and I can have another crack at it.”
On Saturday, he continued to share his thoughts; “I seriously can’t thank all of my friends, family and fans enough for all the positive comments and feedback on social media. I can’t thank Carlos Lira enough for the great opportunity to run the 58 yesterday. Huge thanks also to Tricar Developments, Ford Performance and Gary Yeomans Ford for all the support. I didn’t have the best starting position, but I had a ton of confidence in what Kyle Moon, Seth Smith, Teddy Brown and the whole crew at Lira Motorsports gave me to work with. I caught a few lucky breaks and ran a pretty patient race and ended up P3!”
Learn more… To find out more about Cole, visit http://www.ColePowellRacing.com or http://www.LiraMotorsports.com. You can also catch up with Cole on twitter @ColePowell or on Instagram at /ColePowell73.