On April 26th, JoJo Wilkinson was involved in a violent crash during the first Allen Turner Pro Late Model race of the season, when she was hit on the driver’s side door by an incoming car, breaking her ankle and foot among other injuries.
Wilkinson made her first start back from the injury on June 15th at Sayre Speedway, finishing fourth. On Saturday night, she completed her comeback by winning the Pro Late Model race at Huntsville Speedway in just her second race back, leading all 50 laps in the process.
Wilkinson joined Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring presented by Hyperco to talk about Saturday night’s win. To come back after an injury in such a short period of time to win in just her second race back, it meant everything to her and her race team.
“Going back to victory lane after that wreck and after everything that’s happened not only to me, but to my whole entire family and race team at the time, just going back to victory lane and seeing how hard everyone worked through everything and how hard I worked through the wreck and my emotions, it just meant a lot to me and my dad, just everybody,” said Wilkinson.
While in Huntsville Speedway victory lane, the emotions of everything that happened in the last two months hit Wilkinson. She was thankful of the support she received from the short track racing community during the difficult time, and it made Saturday night’s win all that much sweeter.
“The emotions that were going through my head were none like before because I was thinking about my wreck and what I remembered of it sitting in the hospital getting all the texts and everybody supporting me through it all,” Wilkinson said. “It made me realize everything that was going on. I just rethought about everything knowing I had a really good support group around me and it just meant a lot.
“We would go into the Mexican restaurant and see people we knew and they would offer anything like money, support, just everything and we were so thankful for it,” she continued. “Going from a wreck like that to knowing you have so many supporters behind you and having so many people that want to see you run good, it actually means the world to me because whenever I thought that wreck happened, I thought it was over.”
Wilkinson admitted she was unsure if she ever wanted to strap back in to a race car while on her way to the hospital after the crash. The support she received in the following days helped her get the drive to get back behind the wheel.
“When we were in the ambulance leaving the racetrack, I remember telling my dad and him holding my head and neck that I didn’t want to do it anymore and that I was scared,” she confessed. “But him saying it was not over yet and just telling me that he loves me and my sister being there for me. We actually live about five-and-a-half hours from Pensacola and as soon as she found out that I was in a wreck, she drove down with her daughter and was there. Tracy Hoskins, she lives in Canada and I don’t get to see her much, she’s definitely like a mother figure to me and she was there the whole time. It definitely meant a lot.”
With the help of Alabama legend Augie Grill, Wilkinson’s plans for the time being are to remain at Sayre and Huntsville Speedways as she continues to recover. The team has the later races of the Show Me The Money Series on the calendar and eventually, back to the site of her wreck two months ago.
“We’re just going to keep running some local stuff as of right now for the next month or two,” she said. “I might be ready to go run Montgomery against the best like Casey Roderick and Bubba Pollard, and of course Augie Grill. If it wasn’t for Augie, none of this would be possible. He’s been so much help through everything, he built our car. After Montgomery, we’re just going to keep pushing on and try to get some good finishes there. We will be back at Pensacola.”
Fans who missed The Morning Bullring and would like to listen to Wilkinson’s interview in its entirety can click here to watch an on-demand replay of Monday’s episode.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Daniel Harbin/Huntsville Speedway