Donnie Wilson is using the 2014 season to prove that the past year’s bad luck is far in his rear-view mirror.
After being shut out of victory lane for a variety of bad-luck reasons in 2013, Wilson, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, earned his second-straight and third overall Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco victory Saturday night at Alabama’s Montgomery Motor Speedway.
When Augie Grill crashed out of the lead after showing the way for the first 99 circuits, Wilson inherited the lead that he would not relinquish over the final 26 laps. The 43-year-old Wilson then sped away from a torrid battle between Hunter Robbins, Bubba Pollard and Daniel Hemric for second that he was happy to watch from well out in front.
“After Augie’s unfortunate incident, it was smooth sailing,” said Wilson in Montgomery’s victory lane. “He had a great car and I don’t know if I had enough stuff to get by him. I tried to get by him in the first 75, but I couldn’t get off the corners. We made some good adjustments at the break and it was kind of on a rail after that.”
Wilson’s best Southern Super Series finish in 2013 was third in the season-opening event in Nashville, Tennessee. That also was his only top-five finish of the 2013 Southern Super Series schedule. When the 2014 Southern Super Series season-opening event at South Alabama Speedway was rained out and moved to a week later in March, Wilson was forced to sit the race out due to a prior commitment. Since then, Wilson has finished no worse than fourth in seven races with three victories to his credit.
“It’s a combination that’s working right now,” added Wilson. “We put a lot of work into these cars and it’s paying off. I won two races in back in 2001 and that’s the most I’ve had in a year. I could end the year now and not have a bad word to say about it.”
Augie Grill earned the $500 Southern Super Series Fast Time Award, presented by Hamner Racing Engines, McGunegill Engine Performance, RW Engines, Ford Racing and Progressive Racing Engines, in qualifying. Grill, a three-time Southern Super Series winner in 2013, dominated the first 99 laps of the event before making an admittedly uncharacteristic mistake.
“It was a rookie mistake,” admitted Grill. “I had all rear brake in it trying to make it turn. The only place I could run was up top. I just ran in there and lost concentration for an instant and it got out from under me.”
Montgomery native Hunter Robbins came out on top of a hotly-contested battle for the runner-up spot. He, Bubba Pollard and Daniel Hemric put on a thrilling show for the second spot down the stretch, but it was Robbins who prevailed. It was the best finish of 2014 for the 22-year-old, who competed in his family-owned No. 18 after parting ways with longtime car owner Ronnie Sanders before the Montgomery event.
“It feels good to run good at Montgomery,” said Robbins, whose second-place finish was his first top-five finish of 2014. “This car has been great since we took it to the All-American (400) last year. We were able to just fine-tune on it and we had a good piece. The way the race played out and the way the track changed, I couldn’t be happier. I wouldn’t be here without Dubz Thermal Products and the support of my parents. They really stuck behind me and scraped up enough funds just to show up here. I don’t know when our next race is going to be, but we had a lot of fun this weekend.”
Pollard, the Southern Super Series point leader, held onto his point lead with a third-place finish. The four-time Southern Super Series winner in 2014 held off Hemric and Anderson Bowen, who rounded out the top five.
Grill, by leading at the halfway point of the Yellowhammer 125, earned a $500 cash bonus from Dubz Thermal Products.
The Southern Super Series will return to action on Saturday July 12 at Jefferson, Georgia’s Gresham Motorsports Park. Entry forms and fan information for this event can be found on the track’s website, www.racegmp.com.
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit SouthernSuperSeries.com. The Facebook page for the Southern Super Series is located at www.facebook.com/southernsuperseries. The series is also on Twitter at @SoSuperSeries. For advertising or sponsorship questions, please contact the track representatives. For media inquiries, please contact Matt Kentfield at 51 Sports via [email protected]
SOUTHERN SUPER SERIES
Montgomery Motor Speedway
|14||30||Bobby Knox, Jr.||86|
|16||13||Bill Bethea, III||72|
– 51 Sports/Southern Super Series PR – Photo Credit: Speed51.com