Cole Tanner Keeps Motivated to Make Laps On and Off the Track
Cole Tanner has extra motivation to keep his school marks up—to hit the track in his bandolero racing machine.
That’s the one condition that Tanner’s dad, Jack, gave his 12-year-old son, who is a Grade 7 student at South Colchester Academy in Brookfield. Tanner just wrapped up a successful rookie campaign at Scotia Speedworld and Speedway 660 in Geary, N.B., by being awarded the INEX Canadian Outlaw championship for his age group during an awards banquet in the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
INEX is the international sanctioning body of the Legends, Bandolero, and Thunder Roadster Cars in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. It was formed in 1995.
Tanner is a rising racing star that’s trying to continue on the proud Shubenacadie racing name that started with Frank Fraser Sr., continued to the late Scott Fraser, and now continues with Frank Fraser Jr., and Tanner.
He was awarded the trophy based on having the best 21 race finishes at INEX-sanctioned tracks in the bandolero class, with those two in the Maritimes being Scotia Speedworld and Speedway 660. Overall, he was 27th of more than 140 registered racers in his category.
“I thought it was pretty cool, to get to go down there and get the chance to race,” said Tanner, adding because of rain he never did get to race on the track.
As Tanner and his dad drove towards Concord, N.C., Cole spotted a structure that was big. His dad thought it was just a water tower. They soon found out their guesses were wrong.
“That building was Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said a still-in-awe Tanner. “It’s a big track.”
“When you drove up, you’re in awe. Cole was like ‘holy, look how big it is.’ When you get inside, its size is just overwhelming,” added Jack.
Because of a rain delay, a disappointed Tanner couldn’t race before catching a flight home to Nova Scotia.
“We could practice, but it was raining both days,” he said. “We got to watch Luke do his practice.”
But that’s okay with him, as he and his family are heading to Florida next month where he will be renting the car he was scheduled to race in Charlotte as well.
“Hopefully, we can make up for it then,” Jack said.
Cole has always had racing in his life, dad Jack is a former race driver, as well as crew member for several local drivers including Pictou’s Rollie MacDonald, Frank Fraser Sr., and the late Scott Fraser.
But his dad keeps on track with more than racing.
“My dad says if I don’t keep the school grades up, I don’t get to race, so that’s enough of a motivator for me,” said Cole, whose passion to be behind the wheel is evident as he glowingly talks about the sport he loves.
But the opposing drivers better be wary, Tanner—who tied for the points championship, but didn’t get it because Jarret Butcher scored more checkered flags—has extra motivation to be at his best this year. He wants a return trip to Charlotte.
“Seeing the trophies down there, I want to get back,” he said. “They had hats, helmets, and big trophies for those who got top five, so that makes me want to really try harder to get in those positions.”
Looking ahead to the 2012 race season, the bandolero class rookie of the year said he hopes to continue to be a clean, sportsmanlike driver.
“I don’t want to crash out any other driver, and I want to win most of the races that we’re in,” he said.
Jack looks at his son not winning the points title in the first year out as a positive.
“It’s kind of hard, but we’re glad we didn’t get the points championship, because what do you do after that?” he said. “You just go out and try to repeat. But we have a goal, to win the points at Scotia, win the 660 championship, and then things should fall into place for INEX.”
Tanner doesn’t have a favourite among the two tracks he races at.
“They each have their own uniqueness, but I like Fredericton because it’s a big track and you can go faster,” he said. “At Scotia, it’s more technical, and I have to work my way underneath them.”
“Scotia makes a driver out of them, Fredericton gets them up to speed quick,” said Jack.