Donnie Wilson scored a double-victory on Sunday at Montgomery Motor Speedway by winning the Alabama 200 and securing the 2016 Southern Super Series championship.
The Oklahoma City native owned the weekend by posting the second fastest qualifying time behind Cole Anderson, drawing the pole position in a top-8 redraw and leading the most laps in the 200-lap feature. But Wilson nearly gave it all away on Lap 165 when he stalled on a restart and fell all the way to fourth.
But he methodically picked off the leaders, overtaking Casey Roderick on a Lap 182 restart, and never looked back to claim the Black Bear Trophy and the $10,000 championship check.
“I just screwed up on that last restart,” Wilson told STS on Sunday night. “I spun my tires and got hit from behind by Cole when I shifted into third. That wasn’t his fault or anything. I just screwed up. It happens. But luckily we didn’t mess the car up and we were just as fast.”
Roderick is the current Show Me The Money Pro Late Model division championship leader at Montgomery and inherited the lead when Wilson had his problems on Lap 165. Roderick was one of only a handful of drivers whom were capable of staying on the lead lap when Wilson enjoyed a long green flag run but just couldn’t hold off the fellow veteran during a series of late race restarts.
“Donnie just had a crazy fast car,” Roderick said in Victory Lane on the 51TV broadcast. “He had unreal bite and just rolled off the center well. Whatever he did this week, he needs to do it the rest of the season. We actually had a cracked left front hub that we discovered before the race and Donnie lent us one.
“He didn’t have to do that so I’m happy for him today. This was our best run of the season in a Super so I don’t know what to say but I’m happy. We just didn’t have the grip off the corner that we needed. I might have held on if the race had stayed green but all those cautions just caught up to us in the end.”
One of those cautions was a four-car crash that started with Augie Grill and Logan Boyett but also included Anderson and Derek Scott Jr.
Grill and Boyett were racing for fifth in Turns 3 and 4 when there was contact between the two veterans. They stayed side-by-side on the frontstretch and came together sending Grill into the outside retaining wall. Anderson and Scott had nowhere to go but into the melee.
Boyett insists he wasn’t trying to retaliate against the two-time Snowball Derby champion.
“I wasn’t trying to get him back,” Boyett said. “I Never turned left. If I was going to get him back, I wouldn’t do it there. I never turned the wheel left.”
The first half of the race was much more uneventful with Wilson leading the first 100 laps without caution. This allowed him to put all but the top-5 a lap down. Teams were able to take four tire and make adjustments during the 10-minute break but it did little to change to speed Wilson had over the rest of the field.
Wilson entered the race with a 66-point advantage over Chris Davidson, whom finished 15th. That combination sealed the deal for the 46-year-old.
Kenzie Ruston spent much of the race inside the top-5 for Carswell Motorsports before a cut tire in Turn 2 ended her chance at a solid finish. The complete results can be found below.
- Donnie Wilson
- Casey Roderick
- Kyle Plott
- Chase Purdy
- Chandler Smith
- Fredrick Moore
- Augie Grill
- Cole Anderson
- Logan Boyett
- Derek Scott Jr.
- Kenzie Ruston
- Jeff Dawkins
- Justin Oertel
- Allen Karnes
- Chris Davidson
- Garrett Jones
- Andy Jones
- Bobby Knox Jr.
- Quinn Houff
- Kyle McCallum