Chris Wilson setting his sights higher in 2014

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson has proven himself to be one of east Tennessee’s top Crate Late Model competitors. But in 2014, the Crossville native is hoping to prove even more as he embarks on a season in which he will move into the Super Late Model class on a regular basis. And the young driver is already well on his way to showing that he belongs in Dirt Late Model racing’s highest division.

“We set our goals pretty high,” Wilson declared. “We wanted to win a super race and we did that in our second time out this year. It was a $3,000-to-win but there were a lot of good cars there. So now our goal is to try to win us a $5,000 race. We going to kind of shy away from the $10,000 races and just try to learn by watching those.”

After only six races in the high powered machines so far this year, Wilson has already notched his first victory and has shown the ability to race his way to the front of tough fields. In his second start of the new season, the 24-year-old pilot scored a victory at Winchester(TN) Speedway in the $3,000-to-win Super Late Model WinterFest.

Wilson also scored a very competitive 2nd place in a Crate Late Model race at Smoky Mountain Speedway during that track’s big NDRL weekend in early March.

“We started out the year in the Cabin Fever(Boyd’s Speedway) but we had some trouble and had to pull off. I think we were going to get us a top-5,” Wilson explained. “After Boyd’s, we went to Winchester and won that. Then we ran 2nd at Smoky Mountain.”

Wilson’s success continued after those early efforts.

“We pulled the crate motor out and put the steelhead motor in and went to Boyd’s for their first local show,” the GRT Chassis driver added. “I had a spark plug wire come off in the heat race so we had to start in the back of the feature. We were at the back with Ronnie Johnson. He came up to 2nd and we came to 3rd.”

Chris Wilson's Eagle powered GRT.

Chris Wilson’s Eagle powered GRT.

To gain experience while remaining near his racing roots, Wilson and his family owned team have decided to follow a regional series this season.

“We’re going to run the full Southern All Stars schedule and go for the Rookie of the Year,” he said. “We’ve got a new Eagle motor and we’re going to try to run as many super races as we can. And when we’re not running Southern All Stars, we’ll probably be at Boyd’s a lot. If Smoky Mountain is having a special show we’ll try to go there and possibly 411 a few times.

“We ran something like five super races last year to kind of get our feet wet. We had some good finishes, but our main goal was to make the races and stay on the lead lap. We just wanted to stay out of trouble and get up to the top-10. This year we’d like to start in the top-10 as much as we can and work up to some top-5 finishes.”

In the Southern All Stars season opener at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, GA on March 22nd, Wilson came home in 13th. The following week he posted a solid 5th place run in an SAS event at the East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City.

The Wilson team is a family-based operation. “My dad(Dale Wilson) owns our race cars and my crew chief(Junior Brown) owns our motors so it would be hard for us to step out and do anything bigger than those $3,000 and $5,000 deals. We don’t have any full time guys. It’s just me, dad, Junior and my cousin Mason Gaddis who work on these things. We have regular jobs and then work on the race cars after we get off. We just want to race as much as we can and have fun doing it.”

Wilson believes that some off season reorganization will boost his team’s efforts this year. “This winter we’ve really tried to get all of motor stuff worked out because we had some older pieces last year. That’s why we got with Eagle, so we could get our super program where it needs to be.”

Although this young driver is hopeful and optimistic, he also tries to remain realistic.

“We’ll try to run the special races at Smoky Mountain,” he explained. “But if it’s a Lucas or a World of Outlaws race, we feel like we can learn more by just watching them instead of trying to run against them. It’s actually better for us to take the crate car and support the race track and try to win us a crate race, then just watch the super guys and see if we can learn something by watching instead of trying to make the race.”

Look for Wilson’s #10 car in the Spring Nationals event at Smoky Mountain Speedway this weekend.

Comments are closed.