NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Wade Cole died on Sunday night according to multiple media reports.
While Cole, 67, was rarely a fixture near the front of the field, he was the closest thing to a guaranteed entrant the open-wheeled division has ever had over three different decades. Cole had raced in all but one season of the modern series era Modified Tour (1985-present) and accumulated 371 starts across 24 season. He started every race in 2019.
Cole was known for his blue collar spirit and an open-faced trailer hauled by a flatbed truck.
According to RacedayCT, reports state that Cole was killed while working on his race car late on Sunday night.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you that Wade Cole has passed away. One of the truly good guys in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour garage area,” Whelen Modified Tour director Jimmy Wilson shared on Facebook Monday morning. “As in this picture, you never saw Wade without a smile on his face. I was always happy to see him roll through the gate. Wade was a racer’s racer. Always there, worked hard and had fun. My thoughts and prayers go out to Wade’s family, race team, friends and fans. Wade, God Bless, you will truly be missed.”
“Heartbroken is an understatement Wade you’ve done so much for me,” Kyle Ellwood, who competed for Cole on the series in select events, said in his own Facebook post.
“Just the mere mention of Wade Cole brings a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart and then the thoughts quickly switch to what an old school, hard working man this truly was,” Bob Finan, longtime announcer at Riverhead Raceway in New York, said on Facebook. “Many say they have worked so hard to race, this driver lived it. All of us at Riverhead Raceway are heartbroken this morning our thoughts and prayers are with Wade’s family and friends.”
“Just heard the news about the passing of Wade Cole, a true racer. Wade always had a smile on his face and would help any time you asked. Wade showed up every week to the track with his iconic #33 on a wrecker with tires hanging above the roof while being surrounded by stacker haulers,” Kevin Stuart Motorsports posted on Facebook. “If there was a WMT race, there was the #33 pulling in to race it. Another racer gone too soon. Our condolences go out to the Cole family.”