Cordova: Gene Wilson preview

Mr. Wilson Is The Real Menace To Pro Stock Society CORDOVA, Ill. - If you happen to head out to this weekend for the Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, Ill., and see a Mercury Cougar blaze by with a group of 15 or so Pro Stockers chasing...

Mr. Wilson Is The Real Menace To Pro Stock Society

CORDOVA, Ill. - If you happen to head out to this weekend for the Amalie Oil Summer Nationals in Cordova, Ill., and see a Mercury Cougar blaze by with a group of 15 or so Pro Stockers chasing it, don't be too alarmed. It's just Canton, Ga.-based Sunoco Pro Stock driver Gene Wilson with the rest of the field in pursuit. Headed into the fourth stop on the IHRA tour, the 27-year old machine shop owner is looking to extend his 12-round winning streak to 16 behind the wheel of the Don Smith-sponsored, Charlie Hunt-owned machine.

If you asked Wilson at the start of the season if he expected what has transpired thus far in 2001, he'd have laughed at you.

"I figured that we would be tough because of the team that we have," explained Wilson, who has already recorded wins at Rockingham, Dinwiddie and most recently in Grand Bend. "I just never expected success of this magnitude. I think one of the positives factors is that I have worked on trying to sharpen my driving skills and in a couple of instances, that had made the difference in leaving as a winner as opposed to runner-up. I just take this deal one race at a time and that's working for me."

Wilson credits his wealth of horsepower from engine builder Jon Kaase, a good-working chassis from Jerry Haas and the tuning skills of his crewchief Gary Henry, who is the son of the late Walter Henry, a Pro Modified pioneer.

"It's not a single thing that has put us in the position we are in currently," explained Wilson. "It is a combination of everything working together as one unit. To have a good recipe, you have to have all the ingredients to work together and compliment one another. That is the case here. We try to compliment one another."

Because he is now focused solely on the driving chores, a mountain of pressure has been lifted from his shoulders allowing him to perform at a higher level. At one time he was considered as not being a performance threat, but deadly on the tree. He now holds what some consider to a complete package.

"I think everyone has heard me say that this is incredible and all of that at one time or another this season," confided Wilson. "That's kind of the reasoning behind why I say all of that because people have viewed me as the one who can win and not be the fastest. I think when you can get off the line first and have the potential to be the quicker car; it gives you the complete package. I would say that I have always been decent on the tree and have the ability to pull off a pretty good reaction time. Used to, I would have to make my own calls on the car. It takes a lot of focus and concentration away from you when you have to do that. Now the tables have turned where I don't have to worry about all of that. I have a specific job to do and when I go up there to the line, I try to do it. That's the difference."

That's scary for the Pro Stock contingent because this Mr. Wilson is the true menace.

-Smith/Hunt/Wilson-

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Series Drag
Drivers Gene Wilson , Jerry Haas