Gene Wilson Spring Open notes 2002-03-07

Gene Wilson blasts out a 6.518, 213.94 and a 6.539, 213.60; Pro Stocks rule supreme on first day of CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open presented by LIZZARD Racing Engine DINWIDDIE, Va. - If the rumors of Gene Wilson's departure from IHRA Pro ...

Gene Wilson blasts out a 6.518, 213.94 and a 6.539, 213.60; Pro Stocks rule supreme on first day of CompetitionPlus.com Spring Open presented by LIZZARD Racing Engine

DINWIDDIE, Va. - If the rumors of Gene Wilson's departure from IHRA Pro Stock are true, then the Canton, GA-based driver may have left his comrades with a shot that they'll remember for a long time.

In just his second run behind the wheel of Charlie Hunt's Mercury Cougar in 2002, Wilson fired off a 6.539, 213.60. His speed was better than the IHRA World Record and was just .007 off of the elapsed time record that he set at Budds Creek, last September. If you thought that was a bold showing, he came back and rubbed it in the competition's face a little more. His 6.518, 213.94 bettered both ends of the quickest and fastest lap in the history of Pro Stock.

He was indeed trying to make a statement. When a fellow competitor asked the team if they were going to run legal this year, it did nothing more than fuel the fire.

"There was a lot of hype in the off-season about engine builders and our engine program," explained Wilson. "There have been a lot of naysayers and I just wanted to make a good run. I have a good group of guys around me. It's the same story, a driver is only as good as the team around him."

During the off-season, Wilson switched engine builders to Sonny Leonard.

"A lot of people had negative things to say about our last season and they felt that because we changed engine builders we'd lose whatever momentum we had from last year. I guess our run today kind of puts an end to that talk. But, you know what? People are going to talk regardless. While they talk, we'll just keep racing. This run was for those people on the Internet message boards that gave me support while others chose to bash us. Regardless of what the other drivers say, I do read them."

The fast runs weren't limited to the defending World Champion. The VMP track record took a beating on this day. In three consecutive runs, Dwayne Rice (6.55), Chris Holbrook (6.54) and Wilson's 6.539 all bettered the previous mark. Not to be outdone, the previous record holder John Montecalvo laid down a 6.562, 211.13, in his first outing with a new Cavalier.

The impressive part of it all- this is just the first day.

-hc-

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Series Drag
Drivers Gene Wilson , Dwayne Rice , John Montecalvo