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Apr 04, 2014 - 05:48 AM
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After Thrilling Start Reid Wilson Looks Ahead To Hickory Motor Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Apr 04, 2014 - 05:46 AM
Tidbits
After Thrilling Start Reid Wilson Looks Ahead To Hickory Motor Speedway


An impressive third place outing for X-1R Pro Cup Series sophomore driver Reid Wilson (@reidwilson66) in the season-opening event at Southern National Motorsports Park (SNMP) two weeks ago leaves more to be desired, as the teenage rookie sensation heads to Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s running of the Catawba Valley 250.

 

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ReidWilsonbiopic1cropAboard his No. 66 Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits Chevrolet, the 17-year old and his Reid Wilson Racing (RWR) team adjusted their automobile throughout practice to net a sixth place qualifying run. From the drop of the green flag, Wilson cautiously worked his way through the field and found himself contending for the win, but as the second-year driver pointed out, he just didn’t quite have enough to power past eventual winner Caleb Holman and second-place finisher Gus Dean, but did deliver his fourth career top-five in 11 races.

The effort was also a career best and his first podium in competition. Previously, the RWR team guided their pilot to a personal-best finish of fifth on three different occasions.

“Our No. 66 Bojangles’ Chevrolet handled great all weekend in the practices and the race,” said Wilson, a native of Huntersville, North Carolina. “Honestly, I think it came down to who had the most experience. Caleb (Holman) has a lot more races compared to my 11 Pro Cup, so I definitely expected him to be up on the wheel for the second half race. We might have been a little too conservative and my inexperience to run consistently fast lap times were our hindrance, but I learned a ton that will help us immensely moving forward.

“A third place finish is a great way for us to come out of the box and gives us the momentum to carry to Hickory.”

Round two of the season this weekend takes the team back to the tight short track of Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where last year Wilson burst onto the X-1R Pro Cup Series scene in just his second race by claiming the pole. In doing so, the former INEX Legends car driver became the second-youngest pole sitter in Pro Cup Series history behind NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor Joey Logano.

While mechanical troubles kept Wilson from seeing the checkered flag and a dejecting 14th place finish, he returns to the track this weekend not only dubbed as a pre-race favorite, but also eyeing some self-induced redemption.

“I like to consider Hickory my home track,” offered Wilson, who turns 18 next month. “I grew up racing there. I know the track and I know how to race on it. No doubt the opportunity to race there twice last year with a Pro Cup car will be an added benefit this weekend.

“The team is really fired up for this weekend and all of us couldn’t be more excited about what we hope is to come,” he mentioned. “We all know the drill and what our jobs are, so I think we can focus on making our No. 66 Bojangles’ Chevrolet go fast. Hickory is also the perfect place where we can show that speed. We feel like this could be our weekend to notch a win, anything less would obviously be a disappointment.”

Even with the 2014 season just lifting off, Wilson and his team have already glared some early attention to points, knowing that each finish will be crucial towards their main goal of becoming series champion.

“We’ve made the early commitment that we’re going to try and race the whole year, so even if it’s not our day (to win), we’re going to do whatever we can to finish as high as possible, because we’re focused on the championship, which is ultimately the big picture,” explained Wilson. “It would be a big deal for our guys and of course our sponsors. Without them, we would be sitting on the sidelines. If we can’t find ourselves in the hunt on Saturday night for the win, we’ll be after a top-five (finish) to keep our momentum chugging.”

In addition to Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits, Cheerwine will serve as an associate marketing partner on the No. 66 entry. Veteran short track specialist Mike Herman Sr. will serve as the crew chief for the racer, who in 2012 was dubbed as one of “NASCAR’s future prospects to watch” by Motorsports Analytics.

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