Donnie Wilson doesn’t expect to slow down anytime soon.
While it would be easy to look at the three-car behemoth Wilson Motorsports is bringing to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville for the All-American 400 as a post-retirement strategy for the 48-year-old, Wilson says it doesn’t portend anything more than a short-term opportunity.
The defending All-American 400 plans to drive his No. 2 for a long time moving forward — even after a summer in which Casey Roderick completed the Southern Super Series season in his No. 22 and Raphael Lessard completed a one-off at Lucas Oil Raceway in the No. 1. Trevor Noles has been with the team sporadically in the No. 22 over the past several years as well.
“We’ve just had a good opportunity to get some good racers in these Rowdy Manufacturing cars,” Wilson said. “They’ve done a better job than I have and they’re younger for sure. Raphael is a really good driver and so is Casey. They have a hell of a lot more wins than I do.
“But no, we just are looking to learn as much as possible with these cars and we’ve had the opportunity to get some good drivers in them to figure it out.”
Has Wilson even considered trading his steering wheel for an owner’s stopwatch as of November 2019?
“Nah, I don’t know about that,” Wilson said. “I have a lot of years left. We’re going to be at Nashville and the Derby. I just had the opportunity to cut a deal to get Casey his championship. We have some big things coming in the pipeline and this is just the start.”
Roderick successfully clinched the Southern Super Series championship last month at New Smyrna Speedway. Cole Butcher will rejoin the team this weekend for the All-American in the No. 53.
All three have expectations of winning in the Rowdy cars that have proved so competitive since NASCAR star Kyle Busch purchased Hamke Race Cars and placed crew chief Cody Glick in charge of the program during the off-season.
“They’ve put out some really good race cars,” Wilson said. “We’re all working together to get them to go as fast as possible, as quickly as possible. Racing is racing and luck will always play a large role in it, but if we all run top-5, then we’re each going to have a chance.
“We might even be able to go out there and finish 1-2-3.”