Donnie Wilson has dominated races in the past, but said it will be hard to duplicate his strong run in the Alabama 200 Sunday afternoon at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
Wilson led 183 of the event’s 200 laps en route to not only a win in the prestigious Alabama 200, but also the 2016 Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco Championship. With the win, Wilson mathematically locked up the 2016 title and a guaranteed spot in December’s 49th Annual Snowball Derby.
“I don’t know if I have ever had a car this good and been able to win with it,” Wilson said. “Today, the car was flawless .I just ran my pace the first 100 laps, and we didn’t really make any changes for the second half. I was expecting the track to change some, but it didn’t; so I just drove the heck out of it and we were able to get the win.”
Wilson, who has been bitten with bad luck numerous times during his attempts at some of the marquee events in short track racing, almost had another dose of it late in the going at Montgomery.
On a lap 165 restart, Wilson made a mental mistake that handed the race lead to Casey Roderick and kicked the No. 2 to fourth.
“That mix up was my bad,” Wilson said. “I thought I had the car in third gear, and just didn’t. I hate it for Cole (Anderson) because he got messed up some. It was just a little restart issue. Luckily, we were able to make it up.”
Following the restart issue, a slew of cautions rained down over the final 45 laps, including a four car pile up on lap 176 that knocked out three of the then-top five cars. Logan Boyett and Augie Grill made contact off turn four, sending Grill’s machine in to the outside on the front stretch. Anderson and Derek Scott, Jr, spun to avoid the wreck, with Scott making very hard contact with the inside wall.
Wilson finally wrestled the lead away from Roderick on lap 182, following a furious battle for the lead. Roderick pinned his car to the bottom of the track, while Wilson rolled the high lane, eventually finding enough momentum to take the spot.
“Donnie was really strong,” Roderick said. “That car was one of the best I have ever seen go around a race track. He carried so much speed through the corner that he was just gone a few laps in to a run.”
The Oklahoma City native set sail over the final 18 laps for his first Alabama 200 win. Roderick finished second. Kyle Plott, Chase Purdy and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five.
Wilson, who has been a consistent competitor on the Southern Super Series since the series came in to existence, said the 2016 title means quite a bit to him personally.
“I finished second in the championship last year,” Wilson said. “I’ve run this series since it started, and I truly love this Late Model tour. It means so much to finally be a champion of the Southern Super Series.”
The Southern Super Series finale will be held September 24 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. The event will be broadcast for free on Speed51.com courtesy of the fine folks at PFC Brakes.
Click here for Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage from Sunday’s Alabama 200.
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit www.southernsuperseries.com.
-51 Sports/Southern Super Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com