MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

July 5, 2014

Fort Gibson driver has two choices of racing classes

When it comes to deciding which class to race in at Outlaw Motorsports Park, Fort Gibson’s Tate Cole has two options and is doing well in both this year.

The Muskogee High School graduate currently sits in second place in the points standings in Outlaw Modified, six points behind Andy Morris of Okay, and fourth in International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Mods, 75 points behind leader Danny Womack of Bixby.

“It’s been that way the whole season,” Cole said. “It’s getting tougher as the season goes on. I’ve missed a few races because of a motor issue.”

If you ask him which he class he prefers, he’ll tell you that the regulations for IMCA are stricter.

“The tires are different,” he said. “Plus we don’t have a spoiler in IMCA and that makes it a little tougher on setup than the Outlaw rules.”

That will come into play tonight when OMS hosts the Grudge Match, which actually began Friday at Salina Highbanks, between the IMCA Mods and the Salina 360 Mods. All the Salina drivers will be allowed to race under their rules while the Outlaw drivers must adhere to the IMCA rules.

“It’s totally different rules,” Cole said. “But it’s supposed to be similar. I think it gives Salina the advantage because they have the spoiler.”

Cole got his start in racing in junior high by helping Andrew Theodore, his neighbor, with his race car.

“I helped him for a couple of years when I was about 13 or 14 years old,” Cole said. “The in 1996, I started helping Timmy Wheeler and that’s when I really got going on it.”

Timmy Wheeler is the older brother of Chad Wheeler and one of Cole’s sponsors. In between, while attending MHS, he assisted Rick Richter with his cars.

“Rick had two cars back then,” Cole said. “And after school, I worked for him part time taking care of his cars. He raced at Thunderbird and that’s where I got my first A-feature win in 2000.”

Once he started his own career, Cole when to work for Wheeler Metals and has been associated with them ever since.

“I helped Timmy for four or five years,” Cole said. “Then Chad and I started racing four-wheelers together and it just led into the car deal.”

And it’s the time at the track that Cole enjoys most about the sport.

“That’s where my friends are,” he said. “I’ve just always enjoyed it. Even when I was young, my dad would take me to watch.”

And Cole is passing his love for racing down to his three children: Courtni, a 17-year old senior-to-be at Fort Gibson High School, Serin (4) and Rushton (2).

“Rushton’s the one that’s with me the most,” Tate said. “But they’re in the shop with me about every night. They go to the races when they can but if it’s going to be late, we don’t want them to stay out.”

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