On the heels of their second consecutive top-10 finish at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway two weeks ago, Reid Wilson and his Young’s Motorsports team look to make it three-for-three in Saturday afternoon’s Zombie Auto 125.
Wilson’s fourth career top-10 finish didn’t’ come easy and even some controversy, but the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East rookie is ready to leave Greenville in the past and focus on his inaugural run at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to make my NASCAR debut at Bristol,” said Wilson. “The guys at Young’s Motorsports have really been working hard on our No. 66 TrüNorth® Warranty Programs Chevrolet since then making sure we’ve got everything we need to capitalize on Greenville.
After qualifying eighth in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville, Wilson’s early-race progress was interrupted when another car made contact with Wilson’s Chevrolet sending him into a spin and losing a lap as a result. Quickly, Wilson was able to earn his way back onto the lead lap, but had a challenge to maneuver back inside the top-10.
Impressively being able to navigate his way back into the top-10, a late race caution stacked up the field giving Wilson an opportunity to earn his first career top-five performance. On the green-white-checkered finish, Wilson was battling another car for fifth when the two made contact sending the other car around and Wilson escaping with then a career-best fifth place run.
Shortly after the finish, Wilson was penalized for aggressive driving sliding him from fifth to 10th in the final rundown. Wilson maintains the contact was unintentional.
“I got to his inside going into Turn 3, but he held his line down low and we made contact and he spun out,” recalled Wilson. “(It) wasn’t intentional. I hate it for both of us because we both raced a great race. The finish was tough to swallow after I had to come from the rear of the field after being spun out by another car earlier in the race.”
Planning to leave the outcome of Greenville in the rear-view mirror, Wilson says it’s important for his team to stay focused with an opportunity to impress in ‘Thunder Valley.’
“We want to have a good run not only for us, but for everyone at TrüNorth® Warranty Programs who have allowed us to keep going,” Wilson said. “We’ve had such a great start to the year that we want nothing more to keep it going and maybe we can add some more races to our schedule.”
As for the tight 0.533-mile short track, Wilson is eager for some track time and hopes to lean on friend and Young’s Motorsports team principal Tyler Young who has four prior starts at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I’m not sure what to really expect, I just know that Bristol is a beast,” added Wilson. “I know the team feels very confident in their setup and I’m usually a quick learner, so I’m hoping we can get comfortable in practice and use group qualifying to get a good starting spot. From there, it’s staying near the front and most importantly out of trouble to get to the checkered flag.”
Off the track, Wilson has been making headlines too.
Wilson was recently named No. 58 in MotorsportsAnalytics.com’s ranking of the top 75 NASCAR Cup Series prospects prior to the 2017 racing season. Such NASCAR stars like Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez, William Byron and Daniel Hemric top the list.
“Reid hasn’t competed regularly in a NASCAR ladder division, but when he does appear, he’s proven formidable,” stated David Smith, founder of Motorsports Analytics.
In addition to Bristol Motor Speedway, Young’s Motorsports will field an K&N East entry for Wilson at Memphis International Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the season-finale at Dover International Speedway respectively.
Young’s Motorsports and Wilson are also working to expand their horizon and compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this season. Young’s Motorsports is already a mainstay in the NCWTS fielding the No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet full-time.
“Ultimately, that’s our goal,” said Wilson. “If everything comes together like we hope, we’ll put a race on the schedule with Tyler later in the year that makes sense for me and TrüNorth™ to have the best finish possible.”
Entering Bristol, Wilson is fifth in series points, 17 points behind leader Ronnie Bassett Jr.
The Zombie Auto 125 (125 laps / 66.6 miles) is the third of 14 races on the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice begins for the two-day show on Fri., Apr. 21 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 6:00 p.m. The race will take the green flag just after 4:00 p.m. on Sat., Apr. 22 following the NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network with an air date on Thurs., Apr. 27 at 11:00 p.m. ET.
For more on Reid Wilson, please visit ReidWilsonRacing.com or click on his Facebook page.
Wilson tweets too. Follow him @reidwilson66.
Young Motorsports PR