by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher
After an up-and-down Ohio Speedweek, a solid result, and perhaps even a win, is what a team needs to launch them into a strong second half of the season, and that’s what Greg Wilson and the Seeling 97 team did on Saturday night against a tough AFCS 410 field for their second win of the season at Fremont Speedway.
As the green flag flew on the 30 lap, $4,000-to-win feature, it was Friday night’s winner TJ Michael getting the jump on fourth starting Cole Macedo, who had just won the GLSS 360 feature a little less than an hour before. Michael put a half-second between himself and Macedo on lap two, as Greg Wilson got by DJ Foos for third.
Macedo made his move for the lead on lap four. Macedo got under Michael in turns three and four and they were side-by-side as they crossed the line and Macedo took control going into turns one and two. By lap seven, Macedo had put 1.426 seconds between himself and Michael, who had his hands full with Wilson and Foos.
Macedo’s lead dwindled a little as he got into lapped traffic on lap 10, but by lap 12, Wilson was knocking at Macedo’s door. Macedo and Wilson were nose-to-tail on lap 13 with Foos ready to pounce in third. Wilson got a run on Macedo down the backstretch on lap 14 and staked claim to the lead. Wilson managed to gap Macedo by 1.3 seconds on lap 17, and by lap 18, Macedo had Foos all over him, but Macedo held his ground.
“I knew that kind of race track really plays into my style of driving,” said Wilson. “It got to where I could move around a little bit and float the middle and catch it off the top of three and four. I could see that [Macedo] was starting to fade and was wheel-spinning.”
Wilson continued: “It requires a lot of patience, and I feel like that’s something that I have in a race car. I bided my time and he kind of messed up with a lapped car and I showed him my nose once down the backstretch and I actually rolled back out of it thinking that I didn’t want to show him it too quick.”
Lapped traffic didn’t seem to bother the veteran Wilson, as his lead went from 1.094 seconds to 2.137 seconds from lap 21 to lap 22. Wilson bobbled slightly as he was running the bottom on lap 25, but he still had a comfortable lead.
A wrench would be thrown in Wilson’s plans, though, as Macedo’s left rear tire totally delaminated, warranting a caution for debris. Wilson stuck to the bottom lane on the restart as everyone else took evasive action around Macedo, which gave Wilson the gap he needed to get the win over DJ Foos and Craig Mintz.
“I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if someone could hold the middle and float around me,” Wilson said about the late restart. “I knew if I could get to the exit of the corner, and Jack Hewitt told me a long time ago here at Fremont to drive around and look at all the wet spots and try to hit every one of them, because that’s traction. That’s really what I tried to do. I knew if I could get to the exit of the corner, that they would have their hands full because we were pretty good.”
“We gambled a little bit, Andy [Potter] made a pretty gutsy call as a mechanic and we tried some stuff. I felt like we were headed back in the right direction at the tail end of Speedweek. Last night, we really didn’t get the opportunity to show it. We changed a couple things around today and the track came to us,” Wilson said.
“I’m just so grateful, this being Hall of Fame night, and winning when Hamp [Bob Hampshire] got inducted, he’s a huge part of my career and my life. So to win on nights like that is something special.”
“I’m so blessed to be doing this at my age, and with a good team and with my wife and kids. I can’t thank the big guy upstairs enough,” concluded Wilson.