Gene Wilson Keeps On Rolling; Scores Fifth Pro Stock Victory At Norwalk NORWALK, Ohio - For a man that hadn't won a national event before this season, Gene Wilson appears to be on a mission to make up for lost time. Wilson, driver of Charlie ...
Gene Wilson Keeps On Rolling; Scores Fifth Pro Stock Victory At Norwalk
NORWALK, Ohio - For a man that hadn't won a national event before this season, Gene Wilson appears to be on a mission to make up for lost time. Wilson, driver of Charlie Hunt's Kingsport, Tenn.-based Mercury Cougar, was "The Man" as he rolled through the field at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park. Not only did he win the race, but also scored bragging rights in a huge catfight in the final round opposite Carl Baker's Mercury Cougar.
This marked the first time that two Mercury Cougars had ever met in the final of any professional drag racing division. It might have been something new for the racing community, but it was the same old song and dance for the media when Wilson gave credit for the victory. His crew, headed by Gary Henry, once again gained the spotlight.
"I feel extremely lucky to be here again today," explained Wilson. "I can't say enough about my team. They give me the best racecar out there. These guys work all during the week to give me the best car on the racetrack every week. I know it sounds like a broken record, but I can sit here honestly and tell you that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them."
He continued. "It doesn't stop there we have companies like Holley, Autometer, Lenco and a whole long list of companies that have made this a storybook year. I've never had success like this before and I really don't know how to take it. I am trying not to get too cocky and let things go to my head. I just want to come out here and do well."
If anyone had a notion that the Canton, Ga.-based points leader was ready to step away from the top spot, they'd be well advised to not pay attention to it. Wilson blasted his way to a new track record and the pole position with a 6.649, 209.01 in the first session. In the evening session, he improved further with a 6.642, 208.84.
Headed into the final day of qualifying Wilson showed no apparent signs of weakness. Already a quantum leap ahead of the rest of the class with a 6.642, 208.84, the Canton, Ga.-based racer was geared to bag the big prize, the Sunoco Pro Stock Showdown. In the first round, he failed to improve his position with a 6.664, but the run was enough to defeat Brain Gahm. In his final effort, matched against Tom Lee, the current points leader fell short with a 6.650.
After the first round fiasco at Stanton, Wilson put a lot of emphasis on double checking everything before headed up to the starting line. In the first round, Wilson drilled former IHRA Pro Stock World Champion Chris Holbrook on the starting line with a .421 light. He backed up the excellent reaction time with a 6.654, 208.75, which was the low elapsed time of the first round.
He had an easy trip during the quarter-finals as Elijah Morton rolled the beams and tripped the lights with a .381 foul. Wilson went through the motions with a winning 6.657, 208.33.
In the semis, recent Stanton champion Brian Gahm rolled the dice and took a gamble against Wilson. The Ohioan did the deed with a .449 light, but his 6.745, was no match for Wilson's 6.674, 208.20.
The final round was no cakewalk as he met up with Baker, the victor in Saturday night's Sunoco Pro Stock Shootout. The battle was won on the starting line as Wilson nabbed the quicker reaction time by .015, and never looked back en route to a 6.685, 208.20. Baker played a valiant game of catch up, but lost out despite a quicker 6.681, 208.04.
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