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Jan 18, 2014 - 08:13 AM
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Pro Cup Series Rookie Reid Wilson Reflects On Successful 2013 Rookie Campaign
Posted by: newsla on Jan 18, 2014 - 08:13 AM
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Pro Cup Series Rookie Reid Wilson Reflects On Successful 2013 Rookie Campaign


Dubbed last year as one of “NASCAR’s future prospects to watch” by Motorsports Analytics, 17-year old Reid Wilson (@reidwilson66) is clearly living up to that hype.

 

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Giving them a taste of what’s yet to come, Wilson made the transition from Late Models to the X-1R Pro Cup Series last season and performed more like a profound veteran, rather than an inexperienced rookie.

However, it was the mentality of his willingness to learn, while earning the respect of his fellow competitors that transitioned into three top-fives and eight top-10s finishes in 10 races. Furthermore, the former INEX Legends car driver also became the second-youngest pole sitter in Pro Cup Series history after claiming the top spot at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in April.

While a mechanical issue halted his effort to win from the pole in his No. 66 Bojangles Chicken ‘n Biscuits Chevrolet that day, a string of eight consecutive top-10 finishes, including career-bests of fifth (three times), most recently at Kingsport (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, has given the home schooled senior momentum to carry into the off season and more importantly, 2014.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity I was given this year,” said Reid, who plans to aim for an engineering degree next year in college, while continuing to race. “Before our first race at Dillon Motor Speedway last season, we tried to set realistic goals for the year. We achieved most of them. But now, we’re focused on capitalizing on what we learned into the 2014 season.

“Without the partnership of Bojangles’, Planet Central, my family, friends and team, none of this would have been possible. We built some memories this year, but there’s still plenty more to be made.”

Looking through the rear-view mirror, there’s plenty of highlights for the teenager, who’s also a proud member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Charlotte Muscle Team.

“Dillon was pretty special, because it was my first Pro Cup race,” Wilson recalled. “We were fast, faster than the veterans and former champions of the sport. It made us feel great to know that we could arrive and be as competitive as we were right off the bat. We didn’t get the finish we wanted, but we proved that we belonged (racing) there.”

“Hickory in April had a similar effect. It was my first pole in just my second race. There was only one other younger pole sitter in the series’ history and that was Joey Logano; I was five months older than he was when he won a Pro Cup pole. For me, that’s some pretty good company to be in.”

“I think I’m most proud of our team’s ability and perseverance to fight back through adversity. There would be times throughout the season, where it looked like we were really going to have a bad run, but because of our willingness to never give up and fight, we made the best of what could have been a less-than desirable finish. We really had a lot to be proud of, especially our streak of top-10 performances. In the off-season, that’s all sunk in and in the long run will make us a better team. We took ourselves from competitors to contenders. Now, we need to make that next leap from contenders to winners.”

What’s on the horizon for Wilson and his Reid Wilson Racing team?

“The plan is to run a full season in Pro Cup in 2014,” he said. “We’re trying to finalize our partnerships and if we can do that, we should be in good shape to race for wins and ultimately the championship starting in late March. I learned a lot last year, but there’s still plenty more to digest. We finished seventh in points in 2013. That says a lot for a rookie. If we can run all 12 races next year, we plan to take our top-10s and turn them into more top-fives and turn those top-fives into wins. If we can do that, we think we’ll be in the hunt for the championship trophy come Hickory next October.”


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