Name: Cole Bosanoz
Marital Status: Single
Location: Chicago, IL
Education: Graduate of Lisle Sr. High ’06
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Year of first competitive race: 2002
Profession: Driving Instructor for Country Club Style Driving Facility
Racing Affiliation: NASA and SCCA
I first met Cole Bosanoz when he was a mere 16 years of age and working over the summer at the race club. He probably doesn’t recall we shared a meal one late afternoon after a long days work. He being volunteered to work in the Food & Beverage division on a Saturday as we were hosting a weekend event with Mercedes and it required all hands on deck.
I had tasked Cole to maintain the Red Bull coolers, which entailed keeping them filled with ice, water, and Red Bull at the four stations on the track, at all times. He spent 8 hours walking from one station to the next refilling the coolers on a sweltering day. Anyone who has ever walked across a black top parking lot on an above 90 degree day understands this was a no frills task. Cole diligently manned the coolers, leaving me to focus on other concerns for this all important client of the club.
Cole generally worked on the safety crew at the club, which is how he came to be “volunteered” to work Food & Beverage that Saturday. You see, Cole’s parents also worked at the track, with Mom being a vital member of the track’s safety and scoring team. His mom, Melissa, was a bit of a celebrity around the club with her co-workers, her having worked some of the biggest races in the region; it’s no wonder racing is in his blood. When Tim and Melissa weren’t working a race, they were attending a race and eventually they were sponsoring their only child as a driver.
For me Cole did not fit the “perception” of a race car driver at that time, although I was new to the sport/business. I had interacted with newcomers and sage veteran drivers and one trait that was ever evident was a confidence bordering on arrogance and Prima Donna status. As you you’ll learn from this interview, Cole is far from a Prima Donna. He’s strong work ethic and willingness to tackle tasks most drivers would pass on in order to carry out his goal of acquiring “seat time” eventually landed him precious corporate sponsorship.
Cole’s maturity and knowledge of racing goes beyond his 22 years making him a force to be reckoned with for years to come in the sport. That afternoon he schooled me on racing, talked about his goals to race professionally in the Indy Race League (IRL) and the love of the sport instilled in him by his parents. Over the years I have followed Cole’s career, as one can expect his motorsports minded parents are exceptionally proud of their sons accomplishments. I believe his drive and fortitude also make him someone you should know…
What is your racing philosophy?
To finish first, first you must finish.
Generally such a view takes years in the industry to realize, how did you come by it at such an earlier age?
It was actually from my Father at an early age. The most complex philosophies about racing are quite simple because of the competitive nature of the sport. My Father taught me many of these simple quotes and ingrained them in me forever. In racing, you’re often times unlucky and other times don’t finish, it’s pretty simple you don’t finish the race, you can’t win the race.
Of all your races to date, is there one that stands out in your mind?
The 2009 June Sprints. The race didn’t go perfect but so much went into getting to that race and to race on a track that I had grown up at. I was a really incredible experience having people who have known me for a long time that have never gotten to see me race, watch me drive. I had to deal with sponsors and media for the first time. And a fellow driver had passed away the morning of our race in a crash. It was a pretty emotional weekend overall .
How heavily did that play on your mind when you strap in to race that day? Does it create any anxiety for you or cause to review you career choice?
On that day it really weighed heavily, especially because we weren’t scheduled to take the track again before our race after it happened so we had to see where it happened again for the first time before our race and deal with it then. It obviously puts everyone in a more somber mood because that can happen on a given day. But, we’re all competitive on the racetrack anytime and forget about things quickly, and do stupid things again. I don’t really think about it, at all. If it happens then it happens. I love racing too much to let that keep me from doing it.
What is your biggest weakness in racing?
Too generous on racecars that aren’t mine. Weighing risk versus reward when it comes to driving on the edge.
What is your greatest strength in racing?
My visualization prior to a race or session and ability to think and react quickly to those thoughts.
What is the most bonehead thing you have ever done in racing?
One time I was testing a kart for a friend. It was brand new and had never really had much time on it. A component of the brakes failed and unfortunately sent me into a barrier at near full speed, ejecting me from the kart. To top it all of I was only wearing my crash helmet and a jacket. I was lucky to escape with a few cuts and bruises.
How do you deal with the frustrations of having another driver/car take you out of a race? Or for that matter a mechanical failure?
That’s part of racing. We’re all competitive, we all want victory, it’s bound to happen. Whatever happened, you have to put it quickly out of your mind because you can’t change it. Same goes for a mechanical failure. If the car is prepared to the best of your availiablity you shouldn’t have to worry.
What makes you unique to racing?
Having been involved in the Motorsports industry since I could walk. I have seen the trends and changes in the last 20 years and can still appreciate the history of the sport. I’ve spent time as a volunteer safety worker and mechanic for smaller race teams and have created a name for myself in the industry on my own.
What type of training did you undergo to qualify you as a mechanic working on race vehicles?
I’ve always worked on my race equipment, starting with my Dad in go-karts. You just had to pick it up because we were new. I just kind of did the same things with my car programs, I’d hang around the shops long enough to pick up things here and there. Finally all that standing around they asked me to do things. You just do it like anything else.
Have you ever or do you turn the wrenches on your own race cars?
A few times, I try to let other people do that if I can so I can focus on the task of driving the car, that’s enough to worry about in one weekend.
What advantage if any, does having the skill set of a mechanic give to you as a driver?
You can understand why the car does what it does physically and translate that directly back to fixing it when you feel something as a driver, it helps you to be more comfortable with the car. The best drivers were/all mechanics too.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a new driver?
Always ask questions. Never think something is too silly to be asked. Allow yourself time to talk to people who know what they are talking about to answer whatever question you may have. Never turn down an opportunity to talk to someone.
“Seat time”, it’s essential to the development process of a driver. However, what suggestions do you have for a young driver looking to acquire seat time.
The way I went about doing it was by trading my time and services as a data acquisitions, mechanic, shop lacky, anything to get in to trade someone for seat time. That way is very tough, but it can be done. I’ve driven a lot of really cool cars by doing it though. I would say never pass up any opportunities and always be searching out new ones. Start as early as you can and always drive like you race, perfect practice, makes perfect.
What steps do you take to mentally prepare before a race?
You can break down every scenario in your mind before the start of the race, however no amount of combinations in mental scenarios will be able to yield every single possible situation so it comes down to using a bit of both. You have to be able to program your mind and envision a plan of action in your head but sometimes a seat of your pants reactionary approach is needed in addition. I use mental conditioning to condition my mind so that I can do a certain task in a racecar. If your mind believes you can do something and you effectively do it in a real-time situation, you should be able to condition yourself to try to repeat that with ease.
In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake a new driver makes?
You have to have an almost cockiness about your abilities as a driver. New driver’s don’t trust their abilities enough. The only way someone can learn that is with seat time.
What do you feel is your contribution to racing?
A fresh mind. Someone who has grown up in the sport and can see where it is going. The old guard of racers, fans and participants are getting old and the new young racers are taking their place. I feel that I’m responsible even just for a bit of working on the progression of Motorsports for the betterment of the industry.
What attracted you to racing?
I like racing because simply put it’s you against yourself. Doing something that your mind thinks is impossible. Controlling something that wants to be out of control. And pushing yourself to go faster each turn every lap. It’s you versus yourself more than anything else.
How often do you compete?
Last year I ran 12 races in Karts, Open Wheeled Formula Cars and Spec Miatas. I raced in the National Florida Winter Tour in 125cc Shifter Karts and the Sports Car Club of America and National Auto Sport Association in cars.
Have you attended driving schools?
I haven’t attended driving schools. My techniques are self-taught. I have had several driver coaches that have helped me throughout my time as a driver.
Did you have a mentor? If so, what is the one most important piece of advice they gave you?
My current driver coach Tony Kester has helped me an immense amount. He keeps me focused on and off the racetrack and has taught me some important life lessons through racing cars.
Would you consider mentoring? or do you?
I do driver coaching on a one on one basis. With inexperienced driver’s on the racetrack in the passenger seat of their cars during lapping days and coaching kids racing at the local, regional and national level of karting.
What would you say is your life’s greatest achievement?
Becoming a fully sponsored paid driver.
What has racing contributed to your personal growth?
Discipline, Time Management, Focus, Personal Marketing Acumen, Responsibility, Confidence.
How do you reconcile the desire to race versus personal responsibilities to family?
If I can afford to race I will, My racing comes first. My parents taught me a long time ago to work hard for the money that you earn. I’ve paid for my racing for 4 years so I will continue to work for it.
Is there a driver you admire?
Aryton Senna, James Hunt, Francois Cevert
What is it about racing that you enjoy most?
At the end of the day when the green flag drops you control your destiny.
What is it about racing that you least enjoy?
Dealing with finding the money to go race. Finding and pursuing sponsors.
What were your childhood dreams and have you achieved them?
To drive race cars, so yes.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life and why?
My Mom and Dad. Without them I would not be where I am today as a person. They gave me great motivation when I was younger in racing and they showed me what mattered in life.
You recently launched your own company, what is the business plan and mission behind the company?
ProMotion Driver Development is a full service driver representation company which offers Public Relations services to build corporate minded drivers and more recently have included race car driver coaching to the options that we have to our customers.
What decisions lead to you adding business owner to your resumé?
Basically I’ve always had to build things from nothing, my parents had little funding in my racing career because they couldn’t afford to so I had to find the money somehow. I got pretty good at marketing myself and publicizing my efforts that a few close friends took note. They race as well and encouraged me to help them. I did and then they encouraged me that I could make a business out of it. I looked at the industry and have begun to see some real holes for once, I felt it necessary to create new things to help market younger talent.
What is the general reaction of people when you tell them that you race cars as a career?
Most people think it’s pretty cool. Some people don’t get it. Some people are amazed. Most people think I race Nascar. That’s kind of like saying, I’m a bull rider when all I do Equestrian horse events. Which I think is funny. A lot of people don’t get why it is so cool. But I also don’t expect them to. Everyone is really supportive of me though.
Do you have a hobby? Bicycles, Live Music, Cooking, Design, Writing, The Internet
What is your favorite book? The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
What is your fitness regime? Weightlifting, Sauna, Proper Nutrition, Bicycling, Go-Karting
Is there anything you wouldn’t try or do in life? Base Jumping
*Why is that?
Mainly because you aren’t really in control of the situation. You’re putting only a small parachute between deciding whether you live or not. At least in racing cars you can control the situations as they come at you. You can trust what you’re doing. When you’re jumping off/free falling from an object you need to have a bit more control of what it is that keeps you from dying.
What is your biggest fear? No fears
*Are you saying that your biggest fear is that you have none?
I mean in general we all have things we can’t control from what life throws at us. Most people’s fears are these unknowns. I just don’t worry about what I can’t control. You can’t fear the unknown it hasn’t happened yet.
List 5 Random Facts or Habits about yourself that would be classified as weird, strange, or different.
1. I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to organizing my personal things.
2. I attend live music once a week.
*What is it about live music that draws you to attend weekly performances?
Music is so important because it’s one of the most inner-personal likenesses to your personality. A personality that is always changing. Your music changes totally dependent on your mood and in the live setting is the purest form of enjoying it.
*What type of live music do you enjoy most?
I really like all music. It has to have a purpose and be well structured. I have grown quite attached to the Indie music scene over the last couple years. But I like all types, anything exciting.
3. When I was little I wanted to be a firefighter.
4. The only thing cooler than driving race cars is flying jets.
5. I have never broken a bone.
You can join the Cole Bosanoz racing page at: http://www.facebook.com/ColeRace?ref=mf
Cynthia Lynn thanks Cole Bosanoz for his time, along with Melissa Harrington for her unwavering support. Thanks to Rob Cooper for teaching me the difference between auto racing and NASCAR.