CONCORD, N.C. — official series release — Chris Seelman photo —
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series added a familiar name in the off-season to its roster of full-time competitors in the form of Greg Wilson.
Wilson, a two-time All Star Circuit of Champions champion, leaves Volusia Speedway Park and DIRTcar Nationals with his eyes open and excitement over the challenge ahead.
The opportunity to compete full-time with the series began last July as Wilson talked with longtime sponsor Hercules Tire. Through months of discussions toward renewal and several high points last summer, including his first World of Outlaws win which came at Eldora Speedway’s 4 Crown Nationals, Wilson and Hercules agreed it was time to make the move.
Together, they made the announcement in December at the Performance Racing Industry trade show.
“From the time I could remember I’ve always wanted to drive a sprint car,” Wilson said. “To get the opportunity to do that in and of itself is pretty cool. Every sprint car driver has dreams and hopes of running with the World of Outlaws and to be able to do that at 40 years old, I wish it would have happened a little quicker, but to do that with my own team and with my wife and kids at the age I am, I’m excited.”
Wilson kicked off the season with 15th, 11th and 21st place finishes at DIRTcar Nationals. He said he was happy with the team’s efforts at the event.
As he and his team head west to Texas and on to the first stretch of the season, Wilson said he feels like, given his experience, he and his team have a little better understanding of what is to come through the 91-race schedule but said he is realistic about the first year.
“For the biggest part it’s logistics,” Wilson said of the top challenge. “For my team to travel back and forth to our shop in Ohio, we’re going to stay out on the road a lot. We’ve got to be prepared a little differently than if you get back to your own shop. We weren’t really ready and we stayed at home longer trying to prepare so we were more ready.”
What is he most excited about?
Wilson said the answer is two-fold — getting the chance to go back home to Ohio and the familiar tracks of the Midwest after some experience with the Outlaws and trying his hand at new tracks around the country.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back up into our area after we get some races under our belt,” Wilson said. “Racing with these guys, going wheel-to-wheel with them, dicing through traffic, and being aggressive — racing with the best makes you better. I’m excited because maybe when we get back to some of those places that we race at, or are more familiar with, maybe it will make us that much better.
“I’m looking forward to getting up into Washington for a number of reasons. (My longtime crew member Zach Holloway) is from there. I’ve read a lot about Skagit. I’ve been to the west coast once so I know a little bit about what I’m getting into there. To go to some places I’ve never been to before, I always enjoy going to new places.”
Wilson said that in addition to Holloway, he is being helped through the opening months of the season by friends and family. The plan is to bring on a new crew member in May to support them and make sure that the grueling schedule is manageable.
“To get this opportunity, Hercules, Ohio Logistics, Gear Alloy, DNC Hydraulics and All Star Plumbing, those people were key to getting me to this point and growing our team,” Wilson said. “We’re hoping we do a good job for them.”
Wilson and the rest of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series continue the 2016 season at Cotton Bowl Speedway for the ATX Outlaw Shootout on Friday and O’Reilly Auto Parts presents the World of Outlaws hosted by Kasey Kahne at Royal Purple Raceway Park on Saturday.
CREDIT: World of Outlaws