Only the best of racers get to compete at the Daytona International Speedway. South Beloit 13 year old Cole Peschang is now part of that select group of racers.
Daytona International is racings’ sacred track. The home of the Daytona 500 where the Dale Earnhardt’s and Richard Petty’s and other legends have raced. It’s also where Peschang raced between the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. He competed in his Go Kart in the World Karting Association’s “Kart Week.”
“When I first took that first lap round the bank aw man I’ve been waiting for that for a long time,” said Peschang describing the feeling.
“He drove on the big track and part of the infield the same thing that the Rolex 24 will be. It’s the same track that he went on,” said Peschang’s father Jeff.
Peschang competed in the Animal Junior Lite and the Animal Junior Heavy Classes and he won both of them while hitting some impressive speeds.
“I averaged about 76 only because of the hard breaking around the corners,” says Cole Peschang. “Otherwise I was doing about 90 to 100 down the straight-a-ways.”
Cole has been racing Karts for four years. His first two years he was the track champion at nearby Sugar River. The next two years he was the Mid-American Regional champion competing at tracks around Illinois and Wisconsin. Then came the Daytona surprise.
“It just happens that my dad (Cole’s grandfather) said, ‘How would you like to take a family vacation at Daytona?’ I said, ‘Well there’s a kart race down there the same time.’ He goes ‘perfect,” said Jeff.
Cole’s regional championships were good enough to gain him entry into “Kart Week.” Cole also competed against several adult racers during the season and at Daytona, and he beat many of them, and the adults generally aren’t happy about that.
“You’ve got the people that will complain to the race officials like ‘he’s too young to be racing in our class.’ Usually race officials take our side because I’m young,” says Cole.
At Daytona Cole met Danica Patrick’s dad T.J. Patrick. He’s helping young Kart racers train and climb up the racing ladder.
“He had offered Cole if he’s in the area that he could go out and test one of his Karts. That’s one of those next step things. Who better than Danica’s dad to help you get to that next step,” says Jeff.
So what is that next step?
“My next goal is to be a world champion,” says Cole.