Rockingham: Gene Wilson race report

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Gene Wilson always had a fantasy that one day he'd get to go head-to-head to with legendary Pro Stock racer Bob Glidden. However, when Glidden retired during the last decade, Wilson's hopes were dashed. With his seventh win at...

ROCKINGHAM, NC. - Gene Wilson always had a fantasy that one day he'd get to go head-to-head to with legendary Pro Stock racer Bob Glidden. However, when Glidden retired during the last decade, Wilson's hopes were dashed. With his seventh win at the CARQUEST Autumn Nationals in Rockingham, he has a chance to beat the record established back in 1976 for most wins in a single season.

Wilson's fantasy is starting to materialize.

"Bob Glidden has always been a hero of mine," explained Wilson. "To even be mentioned in the same sentence with him is an honor. We are looking forward to challenging his record if our luck holds out. I still must always give credit to my crew, they make it happen."

Wilson's intentions were crystal clear from the start as he blasted out a 6.624, 208.49. If the Pro Stock contingent thought he was in conservative form, they were greatly mistaken. Wilson returned for the evening session with a 6.580, 209.14. He held down the top spot headed into Saturday.

Wilson, who entered the event only a few rounds away from claiming his first career World Championship, found it hard to duplicate his 6.580 from Friday's evening session. He launched hard and the Charlie Hunt-owned Mercury Cougar made a sharp left toward the centerline and coasted to a 9.537. In the final session, Wilson was looking to extend his performance advantage, but fell short with a 6.601, 209.30. Ironically, that run was still quicker than the second quickest entry. He concluded qualifying as the top seeded machine.

In the first round, Wilson scored an easy win as John Bartunek rolled the beams early and fouled with a .391 red. The Georgian went through the motions with a winning 6.618, 209.36.

The quarter-finals created an interesting scenario. All Wilson needed to do was to win his second round match with Steve Williford. While the points leader has proven to be unshakable in his driving mentality, one couldn't help but lose focus when a Carl Baker crashed in the pair before him. Wilson was on his game as he rebounded with a convincing victory over the Engelhard, North Carolina-based driver. His winning lap was a 6.609, 209.30.

With one round left to reach his eighth final round of the season, Wilson knew his battle with Tim Nabors was going to be a tough one. He won the battle on the starting line and never relinquished the lead as he went through for a 6.611, 209.31.

In the final round, Wilson topped John Montecalvo on the tree with a .426 light and combined it with a 6.582 elapsed time for his victory.

He'll have until this upcoming Friday to ponder his next move as the tour rolls into Budd's Creek, Maryland for the President's Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway.

-HC/IHRA-

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About this article
Series Drag
Drivers Bob Glidden , Gene Wilson , John Montecalvo