NASHVILLE, TN- Former Fairgrounds Speedway winner Donnie Wilson stole the show in Saturday’s ‘Southern Super Series 100’. The Oklahoma City-based driver led nearly half of the 100-lap event, before suffering a flat tire shortly past the halfway mark, and recovering to race from 12th to 3rd in the final 9-laps of the event.
“I hope the fans went happy after that one,” smirked a visibly disappointed Wilson post-race. “We had the car to beat tonight. It’s nice to be on the podium, but we had enough to win this one”
Wilson spent the day hovering near the top of the practice charts, but struggled in time trials. By the time qualifying was through, Wilson had clocked in 10th fastest.
“I love this racetrack, but it can be tough to get a hold of at times,” offered Wilson. “We had an awesome piece during practice, but the track changed just a tick before time trials. We didn’t get the lap that we wanted, but knew that we had a good enough car that we would be able to bounce back in race trim”
From the drop of the green flag, Wilson wasted little time in maneuvering his way through traffic. By lap-21, the Wilson Ford Parts No. 2 had assumed control of the lead and was working to pull away from the rest of the pack.
“My team gave me a phenomenal piece tonight,” said Wilson. “As soon as we came up to speed on the first lap, it felt like the car came alive. We won here last Spring – but this car may have been the best one I’ve ever had at Nashville. That’s how good it felt”
After 40-laps spent at the front of the field, Wilson’s pace began to slow at lap-61 and the veteran was forced into conservation mode to keep his ride as close to the front as possible and hope to catch an opportune caution. At long last, a lap-91 caution presented Wilson with the opportunity to limp his ride to pit road.
“As soon as we got to the pad, we knew the right rear was just about all the way flat,” explained Wilson. “Once we changed that tire, it was a whole new ball game. When I picked up the throttle on that restart, I felt like I had been shot out of a cannon”
Through the final 9 circuits, Wilson brought the Nashville crowd to its feet, as he sliced his way through the pack with surgical precision. Advancing from 12th to 3rd by the time the checkered flag fell.
Still, post-race, the look of disappointment was painted on Wilson’s face.
“I hate it for my team more than anything. These guys work awfully hard to make sure that our cars can perform to the best of their ability. As good as this piece was – they deserved a win, tonight”
“But, all the planning and practicing in the world won’t save you from a cut tire,” continued the veteran. “We’ll just use this as motivation. We’re going to go home and started preparing for Pensacola in two weeks. If our car is half as good as it was tonight, I think we stand a pretty good chance.”
Fans can stay up to date with Wilson’s progress throughout the weekend by following along at his official Donnie Wilson Racing page on Facebook.
Donnie Wilson’s 2015 season is made possible thanks to Wilson’s Ford Parts and OKC Autoworks.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)