News & Media


Whitt focused on racing, not daredevil stunts

March 29, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

He's only 19 years old, but Cole Whitt has been a developmental driver with Red Bull Racing in some capacity since he was 13.

This year, he's driving the No. 60 truck for Red Bull and Turn One Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, where he sits second in the point standings heading into this Saturday's Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Whitt talked with NASCAR.COM recently about the strong start to his season and why he doesn't aspire to all things fellow Red Bull driver Kasey Kahne does.

"I don't see the point in jumping out of an airplane that's running just fine; that doesn't sound real fun to me."

--COLE WHITT

Question: Tell us a little about your start to this season?

Whitt: It's kind of been a little bit of a surprise, especially after Daytona and the way that went down. ... It's pretty cool being right there and contending for a championship, but it's obviously still very early in the year. We're just going out there, trying to compete and hopefully win some races and see where it takes us. Hopefully it'll all take care of itself.

Q: What exactly happened to you in Daytona?

Whitt: I was in the last big wreck, running fifth at the time. It wasn't even in our truck. It was in a truck we had to rent because we missed the show. But we were right there. It wasn't necessarily the ideal situation we wanted to be in with the [rented] truck, but we were taking it to the front. Then we got caught up in one of those deals, but what are you gonna do?

Q: How did you end up in a rented truck for that race?

Whitt: Our truck missed the show because we didn't have points from last year to fall back on, so we had to qualify and we fell one or two trucks short. That was all we had, but it wasn't enough so the Red Bull No. 60 truck had to go home. We talked to the Siegs [brothers Shane and Ryan of Sieg Motorsports] to work out a deal where I could drive their truck, so I could get driver points and Rookie of the Year points and all that. It worked out really well -- at least until I got wrecked. We got going again and finished 14th, didn't completely wreck out. But it was close.

Q: What's it been like to be with Red Bull Racing since you were just 13?

Whitt: Yeah, I've pretty much been there since go-karts. I've been with them six years now, and it's really made my career. I definitely wouldn't be here without 'em. We just wouldn't have been able to do it. Luckily we were able to forge a good partnership with them early in my career, and they made everything happen. We just hope to keep things going now and progress toward the future.

Q: Brian Vickers has talked about some cool stuff he's done and Kasey Kahne recently said he'd like to jump out of a Red Bull airplane. What have you been able to do with the Red Bull guys that's been exciting?

Whitt: I haven't really been able to do any of that stuff, and I really don't want to be going and jumping out of airplanes or anything like that. I don't see the point in jumping out of an airplane that's running just fine; that doesn't sound real fun to me.

Everybody's got their different ideas of what they like, and I have been able to go to a few different Red Bull events and even distribution centers and things that not everyone gets to see. It's pretty cool to be able to do that -- but at the same time, I'm pretty busy with the racing and everything. The way I do it, I work at the shop 24/7 with the guys. That's just the way I operate with racing. It's a commitment to my life, and when I do get a little bit of off time, I like to use it for myself.

Q: What do you like to do in your down time?

Whitt: I like to fish and camp, maybe play some video games.

Q: You don't take your video games with you camping, do you?

Whitt [laughing]: No, most of the time I like to go fishing. I love fishing and try to do that as much as possible.

I love working on cars alone, too. I have some cars I work on. I have a diesel truck that I work on. I just enjoy that and like to go pretty slow with it. The racing lifestyle is just so fast. You're here one minute and there the next minute. So it's nice when you get some time to do something slow and relaxed for a couple of days.

Q: Have you been able to interact with some of the veteran drivers from Red Bull and elsewhere?

Whitt: Not too much, really. We're all kind of off doing our own thing. I didn't even get to talk to Kasey at Darlington, and our trucks were lined up starting right next to each other. I've pretty much been doing it by myself, I guess.

Q: So Kasey has said he wants to jump out of an airplane, but that kind of stuff is not for you?

Whitt: No, I used to ride motorcycles and stuff and I liked that. But the whole jumping out of an airplane and things like that, those just aren't things that I feel I need to do. At least not right now. I just need to focus on my racing.

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