CONCORD, N.C. — Audio and story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — CSP/Chris Seelman photo —
Greg Wilson was “still in shock, really” upon exiting his No. 20 Hercules Tire sprint car a winner of Friday night’s Circle K/NOS Energy Drink Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
And who could blame him? Wilson charged past a fading Shane Stewart in turn two of the final lap, using the inside lane to his advantage en route to the first win of his rookie season with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series and second of his career, following a shock win in the Four Crown Nationals last September at Eldora Speedway.
The Ohio veteran was actually third with two laps remaining, but shot around a struggling Cole Duncan in turns three and four coming to the white flag and made the winning pass two turns later in front of a crowd of roughly 10,000 people in the heart of North Carolina.
“I never dreamt in my wildest dreams that I would get this opportunity to run with the Outlaws this year, and (to win) at Charlotte in front of a huge crowd? This is bad-ass,” Wilson said with a huge grin in victory lane. “It is a little surreal at the moment, to be completely honest. I’m racing with the best sprint car drivers in the world night after night … and we actually missed the show (Tuesday) in New Egypt. We looked like we shouldn’t have even been out there and then we turned it around and did this tonight. It’s just incredible.”
Stewart kicked off the night’s racing program by setting quick time around the four-tenths-mile oval with a lap of 13.913 seconds, while Wilson clocked in fourth fastest. He wouldn’t be down long, however, winning the first of three heat races alongside Joey Saldana and Duncan to put himself on the provisional pole for the six-lap dash to set the front three rows of the starting grid.
A six inversion pill for the dash, however, would set Wilson and his team back — and they struggled to fifth as Daryn Pittman cruised out front to earn the pole for the 30-lap main event.
But while Pittman started the point, it was outside polesitter Duncan who charged to the lead by the time the field had exited turn two of the opening lap. Duncan led the first four laps on the bottom amid heavy pressure from Stewart before the Larson Marks Racing driver finally railed around the high lane to assume command out in front.
The first caution of the night came on the 11th round, when Paul McMahan slowed to a stop in turns one and two with a flat right rear tire. He was able to resume in his Destiny Motorsports No. 7, but after he had been running in the top five to start the night, his shot at a top finish was over.