ROCKINGHAM, NC.- Pro Stock driver Gene Wilson launched hard during the quarter-finals at the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals and the car made a beeline for the center-line. Thus ended one of the seasons that Kingsport, Tenn.-based team owner Charlie Hunt would just as soon to forget. Team Hunt driver Floyd Cheek lost in the first round.
What was expected to be a tremendous season based on the team's astounding 1999 performances never materialized to be more than a handful of quarter-final showings and a sprinkling of semi-final success. For the first time in two years, the team never reached a final round.
Wilson, the son of noted professional fisherman Orlando Wilson, joined the team at the start of the season as a replacement for driver Tom Lee. He has provided plenty of promise for the team with three semi-final finishes. He finished the season in the top ten of the Pro Stock points.
Cheek has not enjoyed as spectacular of a season. One season after finishing runner-up in the points chase, the former World Champion from Soddy Daisy, Tenn., struggled for much of the season and endured several first round losses. He confides that he went into testing mode in September when he debuted a new Jerry Haas-prepared Cougar.
Hunt has the team's Ford Probes up for sale and looks to open a new chapter in 2001. Cheek will do battle in his Cougar, while Wilson will be behind the wheel of a new Mustang.
"Sometimes you have seasons where everything goes right," explained Cheek, who won the 1997 Pro Stock title. "Then there are seasons like 2000 where nothing seems to work the way it was intended to. We've endured seasons like this before, so we'll start all over in 2001 and try to have a good season."
Wilson added, "I am glad that I had the opportunity to drive for Charlie Hunt. Obviously, we would have preferred to have performed better than we did this season. We'll chalk it up as a learning experience and come back next year."