David Wilson, a Florida late-model champion, returned to the Pro Cup Series for the first time since 2006 and stole the show from the Pro Cup regulars. After taking the Strutmaster.com Pole in qualifying, Wilson pulled off a late race pass on points leader, Clay Rogers, to win the Hickory 250 presented by Calico Coatings on Saturday night.
“I couldn’t complain about today,” Wilson said with a grin. “When I set the pole I could have gone home happy, so with a win you can only imagine.”
Wilson, who is a well-known late-model driver from Sarasota, FL, has not run a Pro Cup race for nearly three years. After not racing in the Pro Cup Series for three years, Wilson jumped at the opportunity to run a one-race deal with DLP Motorsports and capitalized on the opportunity this weekend.
Although Wilson led the field to the green it was Raybestos Rookie, Lucas Ransone, who led the first lap. Wilson stayed in the top ten all night long, but did not take the lead until just three laps to go when he found an opening to pass Rogers and go on to Victory Lane.
“It was unbelievable running with the veterans. When I was running third I thought I could be content there. I really didn’t think I had the car to beat Clay, and I was sure he was saving his stuff,” commented Wilson. “It was hard to chase him down, you had to hit every lap, and you couldn’t make one mistake. The moment I caught him I used the lapped car to my advantage, and split us three wide. I was in the middle and Clay gave me plenty of room. I have to thank him, that’s why he is a champion, because he runs very smart.”
After taking a race off A.J. Frank came back in the Mac Hill Motorsports No. 11s. Frank continued his top-five hot streak and led 14 laps at the mid-point of the race finishing the race in fourth.
“It was a great race,” said Frank. “I’m just going to keep knocking on the top-fives and hopefully a win will come.
Leading Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, Lucas Ransone, established his dominance on lap one taking the lead from Wilson and continuing to lead the next 30 before Rogers made a pass taking the lead. Ransone continued to run strong until an unexpected green flag pit stop on Lap 83 put the Rookie two laps down and causing him to officially fall out of the race on lap 228
“I was leading and the car was cutting pretty well and I felt it start dragging and I figured it was low air pressure, but as the race went on it was still cutting,” explained Ransone. “Then we had that restart and I went to the bottom, things just didn’t feel right. I guess a bolt came out of the shock mount and it just started rubbing, and we had chaos from then on. We had a great car, and a fast car, but I guess the fastest car doesn’t always win. We will take it and be back at South Boston.”
Drew Herring has had quite a rollercoaster season so far this year. After a top-five finish last weekend at Motor Mile, this weekend would be yet another disappointment for the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year. While running in the top ten Herring got caught up in a restart pile-up on lap 106 and his night continued to go downhill.
“I just had a streak of bad luck. We got caught up in a wreck and messed some stuff up on the right front, then we got spun. But the guys kept digging, making adjustments and doing the best they could with what we had. Then we dropped a cylinder and you could just hear the metal inside it tearing up. By the time we pulled the car in the engine died and that was the end of our night.”
The race lasted 1:51:50 with 11 cautions and an average speed of 79.668 mph and a margin of 0.794 second for the win.
Michael Ritch was the halfway leader going on to led 12 laps and finish twelfth. Bobby Gill earned the Aaron’s Do the Math Hard Charger award when he picked up 20 spots to finish fourth going on to lead 65 laps during the night.
Kyle Fowler was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race with his first top-ten finish in the Pro Cup Series.
Catch all the action from the Hickory 250 presented by Calico Motorsports on your local FSN station on August 23 at 11:00am.
The USARacing Pro Cup Series will be at South Boston Speedway for the ninth race of the season on August eighth. Check www.usarprocup.com for the latest news and updates.