Tyler County Speedway driver to race at Daytona
Veteran ARCA Truck Series owner and driver Frank Wilson has teamed up with longtime ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards team owner Wayne Hixson for the upcoming Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb.6.
Wilson, 43, who lives in St Marys, West Virginia, will pilot the #23 Hixson Motorsports Chevrolet as he fulfills a lifelong dream to race at the “World Center of Racing.”
“I’ve been racing since I was 14 years old,” Wilson said at the recent ARCA Daytona Open Test. “Its always been my dream to race at Daytona. Last fall at Salem Speedway, I was there with my truck team on the backstretch, and the ARCA Cars were qualifying. I found myself talking to Wayne Hixson as he was waiting for the 23 car to qualify. I asked him what it would take to run Daytona and one thing just led to another, so here I am. I’d like to thank Sandy Dingus of Drug Testing Centers of America as well as Clay and Darrell Perkins of Perkins Supply for partnering with me in this venture.”
Wilson just completed the ARCA Open Test at Daytona. It was his first chance to work with the Hixson Motorsports team and was able to receive clearance from ARCA to race on February 6, 2010.
“We had an engine problem down there during the test but still tested well, especially in the draft. But, we will be coming back with a PBM engine in February for the race,” said Wilson.
In a racing career that spans 29 years, Wilson already considers running the upcoming Daytona race as one of the high points, which is less than a month away. Starting in dirt go-karts at the age of 14. At 18, he moved to Semi Late Models. In 1989 at the age of 23, Wilson made the move to dirt Late Models, and over the next 15 years racked up 34 race wins and 2 Track Championships. He was also the West Virginia State Champion, racing primarily at Interstate and Tyler County Speedways.
In 2005, Wilson made a big step, and purchased two NASCAR Camping World (formerly Craftsman) Trucks. “I was able to learn the business model of big-time racing. I tried to run the team the way I had learned, but I found there is a different way of doing things in NASCAR. I found that there is huge difference in preparation from the weekend racing I was used to versus NASCAR and ARCA. As an owner, you had to prepare multiple vehicles per event plus account for more personnel. There’s a lot of things that fans don’t see behind the scenes. Over the last five years, my team has adjusted to this style of racing and we operate pretty comfortably with it now.”
Wilson returned to his roots for 2006, running Dirt Late Models. Then, in 2007 Wilson entered the ARCA Truck Series as a team owner and driver. In his first year, Wilson won from the pole at the Springfield mile dirt-track, and still holds the track record for qualifying. Wilson won his second race at Winchester in 2009, and also broke the track qualifying record at Salem in 2009. His team has multiple wins with different drivers. His team has won a race at Eldora Speedway during the “Prelude to the Dream” with Norm Weaver as the driver. Justin Marks, a former Camping World Truck Series driver and current ROLEX driver, who won at Toledo Speedway. Nationwide driver, John Wes Townley, also drove one of Wilson’s trucks.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the ARCA Trucks,” Wilson added. “I am planning to field a two truck team from Wilson Motorsports for the full 2010 season, in addition to running a handful of races with the ARCA Racing Series. Right now I am working with several potential sponsors to secure funding for at least three more events: Michigan, Pocono and Springfield.”
During the recent Daytona Test, Wilson found himself on track with Josh Richards, who was testing a car for Ken Schrader, and Wilson shared this interesting tidbit.”I was the promoter at Interstate 79 Speedway about 12 years ago. Josh was about 9 or 10 years old at the time, and he drove the packer car to run the track in. Now here we are, both at Daytona. Its been 12 years since we were on a track together at Interstate 79, and now to be at Daytona. Sometimes, I still don’t believe it,” said Wilson.
Even when he is not driving a race car or race truck, Wilson never gets far from racing. For 2010, he is a member of Phoenix Management Group LLC which will oversee the ARCA Truck Series. Wilson will serve as the Chairman of the ARCA Truck Series in addition to his role as a team owner and driver. He is also the Co-promoter at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, West Virginia. On top of all of his racing duties, Wilson is the President of Lifeguard Medical, the largest supplier of medical supplies in West Virginia.
Wilson is married to his wife of two years, Lori, and has three children: Seleana (1), Kali (14), Corey (16).