SES: Wilkinson, Mason return for 2004

After Successful Rookie Season, Wilkinson and Mason Return For 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series Campaign. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 9, 2004) -- NASCAR racing has always been a family affair. Since the sport's earliest ...

After Successful Rookie Season, Wilkinson and Mason Return For 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series Campaign.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 9, 2004) -- NASCAR racing has always been a family affair. Since the sport's earliest days, fathers and sons, brothers, cousins, mothers and daughters have teamed up in countless ways to participate in NASCAR events. In 2003, John "Boy" Wilkinson III and Terry Mason Jr. gave the old family adage a new twist, while competing for the rookie of the year award in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series.

Wilkinson, 27 and Mason, 32, are brothers-in-law. The two Birmingham-area drivers finished 1-2 in the 2003 Southeast Series rookie standings, with Wilkinson (who is married to Terry's sister, Terrah) claiming the award.

While the rookie award provided motivation for their 2003 efforts, both drivers return to the Southeast Series with another trophy in mind -- the championship trophy.

Wilkinson, who recorded three top-five finishes during his rookie of the year run, says having a full season of Southeast Series experience under his belt will provide a boost to his racing program.

"We're going to run on some tracks that, now, I'm more familiar with." Wilkinson said. "Last year, there was only one race track that I had ever been to, so looking at the schedule this year, it looks a little better for me. I'm real familiar with everything and I hope that's going to be a better year for us."

Wilkinson welcomed another addition to the Wilkinson / Mason racing family with the birth of daughter Jo Lynn during the off-season. Both on and off the track, Wilkinson and Mason -- who operate completely independent race teams -- share a close relationship.

"Terry and I hang out a lot and do a lot of things together," Wilkinson said. "At the races, we use a lot of wisdom from both teams. If he finds out something on the race track that's helped his car, or if I've found something, we try to work together. It's kind of like a team, even though it's not really a team."

The Southeast Series begins its 2004 season April 17, with a 150-lap race at Music City Motorplex in Nashville. Wilkinson, Mason and the rest of the Southeast Series teams continue on a 12-race schedule that includes events at Nashville Superspeedway (June 11), Kentucky Speedway (June 18 and Sept. 18) along with a challenging assortment of short tracks. The 2004 season marks the first year of title sponsorship by AutoZone, the nation's leading auto parts retailer.

-nascar-

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