Go Big Or Go Home For Reid Wilson At Southern National
KENLY, North Carolina (September 4, 2014) - - Make no mistake, X-1R Pro Cup Series competitor Reid Wilson is on the verge of winning a race.
In fact, victory should have been his in last month's Food County 200 at Motor Mile (Va.) Speedway, but a mechanical failure while leading inside the final laps of the race left the driver of the No. 66 Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits Chevrolet with a bittersweet taste in his mouth.
So, if Wilson approaches Saturday night's Gold Leaf 200 at Southern National (N.C.) Motorsports Park (SNMP) with a "go big or go home" attitude, it's easy to understand why.
"It still stings a little," said Wilson when thinking about the most recent race on the schedule. "We had an extremely fast No. 66 Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits Chevrolet and we were hooked up on the track. Just when I thought everything was going to go our way, we got bit, again. But there's that saying, 'when you get knocked down seven times, you stood up eight.'
"We've had a little bit of a break to get our car ready for this weekend's race. It's an important race and one that can ultimately decide how the rest of our season can play out, but we're focused. Focused on trying to win and (finally) sealing the deal."
Statistically speaking, Wilson's record at Southern National has been impressive. In the most recent race, the 2014 season-debut for the X-1R Pro Cup Series, the 18-year old reeled in his then career-best finish of third. In his other race, Wilson finished 10th after starting seventh.
This weekend though, Wilson can't afford a 10th, and probably not even a third, so part of his "go big or go home" mentality focuses on putting his Reid Wilson Racing team in contention for the win under the lights Saturday night.
"I've come to like Southern National," Wilson continued. "It's a good track with the opportunity to race. I struggled a little bit in my first race there last year, but this season we came out of the box strong and finished third. With Saturday night's being the first of the championship races, we can't afford to be a slouch. We have to be on our game and try and stay ahead of our competitors. If for some reason we can't compete for the trophy this weekend, we just need to leave there with the best finish possible. Tire conservation will be crucial."
This weekend's Gold Leaf 200 is the first of four championship races on the X-1R Pro Cup Series tour, which will ultimately decide the champion in October at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
With the points reset, the Huntersville, North Carolina native enters the ninth race of the season just five points from the lead.
"I love this championship series," offered Wilson. "Not only does it allow us a shot at the championship title, but it also allows us to close out the year at some of my favorite tracks on the schedule. These four races aren't going to be easy by any means. It's anyone's game. In order for us to contend though, we just have to keep doing what we've done all year and hope that dots will all connect so we can go to Hickory next month and still be in the fight."
Should all the stars align and Wilson cap off his first full-season of X-1R Pro Cup Series competition with the championship accolades, he would become the youngest champion in series' history. That in itself leaves the promising teenager a young man on a mission.
"I love competing in this series," Wilson sounded. "It's a great series that has taught me an awful lot. If we can win the championship – it would be neat to become the youngest champion ever, but there's still plenty of racing to do before we can even dream about that opportunity. We need to make sure we're doing everything we can to bring fast and competitive No. 66 Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits Chevrolet to the racetracks. Then, it's staying focused for the race and just hoping that the points will take care of themselves."
In addition to Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, Cheerwine serves 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 at age 15, was dubbed as one of "NASCAR's future prospects to watch" by Motorsports Analytics.
The Gold Leaf 200 is set for Saturday night, September 6 with a scheduled green flag shortly after 7:00 p.m.
Wilson tweets too. Follow him @reidwilson66.
NAME: Rita Wilson