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Wilson Named Driver of the Year

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Citrus County Speedway

Citrus County Speedway
Sport Wilson celebrates after being named the 2019 Chronicle Driver of the Year. Wilson finished out Citrus County Speedway’s 2019 season with three feature wins for the season, 12 top threes, 16 top five and 17 top ten finishes before being crowned the Pure Stock division champion. It was the second time took the both a championship and the Chronicle honors in the same year. The first came 22 years ago. PHOTO BY TYLER SONTAG/SPEED RACER

Wilson Named Driver of the Year

Citrus County Speedway

By: Kimberly Kelly / Oval Track News

When Sport Wilson first got behind the wheel of a race car he was in his early 20’s. Fast forward 27 years and the now 48-year-old is still competing on the asphalt oval, winning races and championships.

Wilson finished out the 2019 season with three feature wins for the season, 12 top threes, 16 top five and 17 top ten finishes before being crowned the Pure Stock division champion.

His efforts also earned rights at the 2019 Chronicle Drive of the Year.
“Getting the Driver of the Year meant more to me than the points did,” Sport Wilson said.

It was the second time Wilson had earned the title.
The first was just five years after he stepped up to help his father Harley Wilson who was competing in the Bomber division. The year was 1992.
His brother Wes joined him the following year and racing became a family deal.

“I did pretty good first year in points,” Sport Wilson said of his third place overall finish for the year. He had six wins for the season.
Throughout the next couple of years his mom, Virginia, joined them on track and brought along sister-in-law Erica and then-wife Becky, each in their respective divisions.

“It really was a whole family deal,” he said.

In 1997, Wilson went out on top of the Hobby Stock division with both the championship and Chronicle Drive of the Year award before stepping out of the racing arena for a few years to help the Wilson family focus on health issues.

After a while though, the racing bug returned and soon brother Wes was back on the track in the Street Stock division winning the 2000 championship.

“That’s when dad helped me build another one and it all started over again,” Sport Wilson said.

In the Pure stock division he finished eighth overall in 2015, third in 2016, fifth in 2017, third in 2018, and won the championship in 2019.
“Winning the points (in 2019), that was for dad,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been racing for the last five years. It was for him. And then to win the championship, and getting the Driver of the year, that just topped off everything again.”

Throughout the years Sport has developed a racing of his own, had his share of good races and bad, had bounties put out to stop his win streaks, and has been in his share of racing controversies and contests.
He is proof that good old-fashioned side-by-side, door-handle-to-door-handle, edge-of-your-seat, leading races flag-to-flag and keeping the competition behind you all the way, and starting from the rear of the field and working the way to the front before the checkered flag is thrown is all part of what makes racing exciting and one that keeps the fans coming back each week.

“Our class, we put on probably the best show out of all the classes that run out there,” he said. “If we can put on a real good show for the people it gets them to come back. I enjoy hearing the people cheer. Some people boo for me. Everybody’s got their favorite. We give our feature win trophies to the kids in the stands. I love to interact with the kids. It gets them involved. It’s always been for the fans.”

“I have to give a lot of thanks to my mom and dad, wife Bonnie, daughters Suzanne and Shanea, and sponsors Power Logging, Waller Brothers Cattle Company, The Hay Barn, Swap-a-Rama, Ladies Touch Paint, Miss Lucy (Eberly).

“Miss Lucy, I love her to death,” he said. “We were joking around and I told her I needed a tire sponsor. She asked how much they were, said she’d be right back. She bought my first set of tires of the year.”
It rained that first night out and those tires helped dry the racing surface before Sport was able to compete. He won that race and gave Miss Lucy the trophy.

“In the end, it was a real good year,” he said of 2019.
Going forward into 2020 Sport said, “I’m not over the hill yet. I still enjoy it I still have the ability to go out and run up in the front with some guys who is younger than me.”

Winning races, a second championship, and the Chronicle Driver of the Year award is proof of that.

“It makes me feel good that I am still able to do what I love to do.”

Kimberly Kelly covers race action at Citrus County Speedway for the Citrus County Chronicle. This article appeared Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

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