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Eric Wilson Muscles to First ISCARS Victory at Hickory

Stock Car Racing
Topics:  Spring Kick Off 150, Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson Muscles to First ISCARS Victory at Hickory

April 8, 2006

Eric Wilson celebrates his first career victory - Photo Courtesy of Barb Saunders
HICKORY, NC - International Sport Compact Auto Racing Series (ISCARS) opened the 2006 season at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 1st.

The Hickory weather smiled on ISCARS with an absolutely gorgeous Spring Day. Danny Bagwell from Cordova, AL grabbed the pole with a lap time of 15.713, in his Five Brothers Produce Mercury Cougar. Mickey York’s entry, driven by Two-time series Champion Johnny Chapman sat on the outside pole with a lap time of 15.810.

Bagwell’s car seemed loose at the start. As he scrambled to gain traction, Chapman moved into the lead with Justin Hobgood in tow. By lap 2 Jake Hobgood also moved past Bagwell. Bagwell finally seemed to gain the handle his car and maintained the fourth position as the field settled into single file.

The first caution came on lap 19 when first year driver, Phillip McGilton spun his car in the middle of turns one and two. As the spin was happening, the leaders were racing hard into turn one. Bagwell had just started to make an outside move when McGilton’s car bounced off the wall and into the path of the charging Bagwell. The two cars hit hard sending both machines to the garage. Bagwell would later return to the event, but McGilton’s first series start was cut short by the accident.

The race restarted with Chapman continuing to lead. While he and the Hobgood brothers pulled away, Shelby, North Carolina’s Scott Weaver and local driver, Eric Wilson started making the move toward the lead pack. With the lead well in hand, on lap 40 Chapman’s car suddenly slowed and pulled straight into the garage having succumbed to rear end failure.

Justin Hobgood then took over the lead with Scott Weaver close behind. On lap 51 Weaver passed Hobgood for the top spot with Wilson moving into second. All the while, the winner of the October Hickory event, Mike Watts, was making his way to challenge for the top five. With the fast cars of Chapman and Bagwell out of the mix, the lead was now up for grabs between those in the top six positions.

On lap 69 Wilson found his way passed Weaver for the lead. ISCARS Officials call the halfway break at lap 78 giving the teams 10 minutes to make adjustments to their cars. As the halfway caution was displayed, Weaver spun on his way to receive the flag relegating him to a much lower position heading into the break. When the race resumed the top five were Wilson, Watts, Jake Hobgood, Justin Hobgood, and Mark Howard. The top cars dueled hard for position, lap after lap. While coming off turn two on lap 104, Watts car broke loose and he looped his maching heading down the backstretch, but was able to continue without any damage.

“Our car was really good,” said Watts. “I really felt we had something for them until the mid stage of the race. The car became very loose. I just could not get the handle on it again. The track was a lot hotter here in April than when we won last October.”

By this stage in the race, Weaver had well overcome his spin from near the halfway point and had moved back into the 2nd position. For several laps he doggedly attempted to pass Wilson. But somehow Wilson was able to reject his advances.

With a few laps remaining, it became apparent that Wilson’s car was well in command. The racing was left to the others in the top five.

When the checkered flag waved, it was Wilson for the win, rookie Buster Bennett in second, Scott Weaver in third, then Justin Hobgood, Jake Hobgood, Scott Krehling, Ned Combs, Danny Bagwell, and Joey Jones rounding out the top ten.

Eric Wilson scored his first series win in 30 starts. The jubilant driver emerged from the car to the cheers of the local fans. “I am so excited to get this first win. Finally, we made it to victory lane after like 30 attempts. We have been so close. We were really close here in the fall, but Mike Watts came out of nowhere and drove right passed us. I was all about that not happening tonight. During the break I told the guys we had to take some chances in trying to make the car even better. Those guys were racing me hard and at the end I was really hoping we could hold all of them off,” said Wilson.

Eric Wilson, Scott Weaver, and Scott Krehling collected the GoFastBeSafe.com Velocity Management contingency award.

See the race highlights and behind the scenes interviews on the premier of ISCARS Full Throttle slated for Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 11 am on Comcast Sports South’s Fox Sports.

The next race is set for the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, TN on Friday, June 23, 2006.

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