RPW Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – NESHANIC STATION, NJ – In November, when the checkered flag flew at the Georgetown Speedway for the Short Track Super Series South Region Crate 602 Sportsman series final race, it was Cole Stangle of Neshanic Station, NJ emerging as the series champion.
That is quite an accomplishment for a driver at the age of 12 and only in his 2nd full season of Sportsman racing. And he gave some insight on a key race in his championship run.
“We had a race at the Delaware International Speedway. We clobbered the wall in the heat and had to qualify through the consi,” he said. “We lined up 30th in the feature and finished 5th. Without that finish, we wouldn’t have won the championship.”
Although he doesn’t turn 13 until February, Cole already has 7+ years behind the wheel experience. At the age of 4 1/2, he started practicing with the 1/4 Midgets, not yet old enough to race. At the age of 5, he was able to start racing the 1/4 Midgets. He progressed through the Heavy 160 1/4 Midgets, Jr. Slingshots, All Star Slingshots and at the age of 10, a Stage 1 Modified.
At the age of 11, he received permission from Accord Speedway owner Gary Palmer to race in the Rookie Sportsman division. And Cole’s dad, Ed Stangle, was very grateful.
“We owe a lot of thanks to Gary and to Brett Deyo for believing in Cole and giving him a chance.” he said.
How did Cole develop the interest in racing at such a young age?
“We had some family friends, including Ryan Krachun, whose children were racing the 1/4 Midgets,” Ed said. “My older son, Chase, raced for a time, but he moved on to playing soccer. But Cole was so much into it and it just took off from there.”
In addition to racing, Cole is a very busy young man. He is an excellent athlete with wrestling and lacrosse as his sports. In the 5th grade, he won a state championship. Cole and his dad will soon be traveling to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a wrestling tournament.
And how was it, standing on stage this past Saturday night at the Short Track Super Series Banquet as a fellow title winner with Matt Sheppard and Tim Hartman Jr.?
“It was pretty awesome. Matt is one of those racers that I really admire. Stewart Friesen is another one. It’s amazing what those two drivers have accomplished in racing,” Cole said.
And how does his dad feel his son’s racing is going?
“I think he is doing a great job. I always tell him to keep his head straight, stay humble and to keep pressing ahead. And he’s been great at doing all of that,” Ed said.
The team has for it’s 2020 plan is to once again run the STSS South Region Crate 602 Sportsman series races. He will be a Friday night regular at the Big Diamond Speedway where he placed 5th in the final 2019 sportsman point standings. The team will also compete weekly at the Orange County Fair Speedway until sometime in July when Cole will be doing some lacrosse events. He plans to return to OCFS in August after the lacrosse events are concluded.
The team has two Teo Chassis cars to be ready for the 2020 season.
Sponsors for the team include Williams Harley-Davidson of Lebanon, NJ, Ace Electric of Branchburg, NJ, Conover Contracting of Flemington, Simplicity Designs (Ryan Sacco), Prime Designs Landscaping of Flemington, Race Choice, Land Hoe Maintenance and Who Let the Dogs Out.
Race night crew is mostly a family affair with Cole’s family standing by, father Ed, mother Alison and brother Chase.
Cole is already a championship winner at age 12. He’s a busy young man, but he is handing it all very well. He will be a driver to watch at the various tracks in 2020.