SELLERSBURG, IN (WAVE) - Cole Williams -- remember the name because one day we may all be talking about him. The Silver Creek High School student is making a name for himself on the racing circuit. Now, he's trying to become the MPD: Most Popular Driver in the country.
He's competing for that title in an online contest against many older and more experienced drivers. But thanks to his talent and fans he's picked up at racetracks around the country, right now Cole is in the Top 10.
A lot of 17-year-olds get on a lawn mower to make gas money, but that's not all Cole is driving.
"It's a Chevrolet SS and it pulls about 500 horse power," Cole explained of his race car.
Cole's need for speed was passed down from his dad Terry, a former driver. "Watching my dad in racing when I was growing up," Cole remembered, "It just kind of got to me, that was one thing I always wanted to do."
Cole's mom, Lynette, needed a little convincing after seeing Cole flip over in his first go cart race at age 10. "At that moment, I told him, there's no way you're getting any further in racing than what you did today," said.
Eventually, she realized Cole and racing just go together. Terry agreed, "For a 17-year-old, he races like a veteran."
Does he ever.
The Rookie of the Year won the Championship in NASCAR's Whelan All-American Series. It tracks points on hometown tracks, giving up and coming drivers who aren't professionals yet some recognition. Cole's region? Missouri. He raced most weekends from April to September. We asked Terry how many times the family went to Missouri in 2013. Terry replied, "I think we actually counted by trips past the (St. Louis) Arch."
"I think my wife said we had been past the Arch 46 times, so I'm thinking 23 (round) trips is what we did," he laughed.
As the races flew by, they realized the Championship was Cole's to lose. It came down to the last race and Cole's biggest competitor: The nephew of NASCAR's Rusty Wallace.
"Matt Wallace gave us a run for our money," Cole said. Terry admits he was nervous too, "I was holding my breath all the way to the last turn." Cole just needed to finish behind Wallace to win the point standings and he got it.
Cole's dashboard reads: God is my pilot on and off the track. In a photo, Cole stands on the top of his car pointing to Heaven.
"It was probably, the most happy time of my life," he said, "It was really awesome!"
Cole thanks his family-run race team for his success. Besides his mom and dad, his brother Chase, 14, works the pit crew and his friends and grandparents also come to the races for support.
For winning the championship, Cole gets to spend a week in Charlotte for the NASCAR banquet where he hopes to meet some of his racing idols and other big names in the sport.
Because of his winning ways, Cole is in contention for "Most Popular Driver of the Year" in the "Speed 51" contest. You can vote once a day until the end of 2013.
Just click here to cast your vote for Cole.
Cole says his success comes thanks to all his sponsors especially, The Jim Butner Auto Group, Cardinal Services in Louisville and Terry's employer Rite-Way Services in New Albany.
Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Public File Contact: