JoJo Wilkinson was involved in a vicious crash during the opening race of the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series at Five Flags Speedway in April. Wilkinson was hit on the driver’s side door by an incoming car, breaking her ankle and foot among other injuries. Nearly four months after her wreck, the 15-year-old Alabama driver will return to the Florida half-mile for the first time on Friday night.
During her road to recovery, Wilkinson stepped back behind the wheel and was successful right away, winning in just her second start back from injury.
Despite the success close to home, she admitted that she’s a little bit nervous going into Friday night’s Allen Turner Pro Late Model race. However, she is confident off the heels of strong runs since her return.
“I’m feeling a little bit nervous, but just trying to get over that and get back in my rhythm like I was before my wreck,” Wilkinson told Speed51.com. “We’ll just go out there and give it a 110 percent.”
Wilkinson made her return behind the wheel at Sayre Speedway on June 15 and she won just one week later at Huntsville Speedway. In six races, she has yet to finish outside the top five. This has all been with a new GARC car built by two-time Snowball Derby champion Augie Grill. She is pleased with how her return with the new car has gone to this point.
“It’s going really good, actually. We’ve been running every single weekend trying to get more seat time and get back used to the car and get my new car ready for Pensacola and Montgomery,” she said. “I actually like it more than our other car. I’m more comfortable and I feel like I could drive it better. I’m just very blessed.”
Since her return, she has competed on quarter-mile race tracks at Huntsville and Sayre Speedway in Northern Alabama. With the half-mile that is Five Flags Speedway, she admits there may be a bit of a re-learning curve as she goes back to a bigger track for the first time.
“There’s certainly a lot of rust to knock off,” she said. “Running Huntsville and Sayre, there’s a lot more going out there and digging and turning twenty-four seven, but at like Pensacola you actually have to think about your line and when to get on and off the gas. I’m just going to try to how I was before my wreck.”
Wilkinson has minimal expectations going into Friday night’s Allen Turner Pro Late Model race as she makes her return to Five Flags Speedway. She says giving it all she’s got and bringing the car home in one piece will make Friday night’s race a successful one.
“A good night would be just going out there and giving it 110 percent and the car being good,” she said. “Coming home with it in one piece, maybe a top ten or so.”
Race fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida on Friday night will be able to watch the 100-lap Pro Late Model race live on Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes. Sign up for your monthly or yearly subscription today to watch.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com