ASHEBORO, North Carolina (March 15, 2011) – – Ryan Wilson, driver of the No. 12 Randolph Bank Toyota Camry showed why his Ryan Wilson Motorsports (RWM) team will be in contention for the 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) championship at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway Sunday. Unfortunately, a mechanical malfunction cost the family-owned team a shot at victory.
Wilson, the winner of last Fall’s Richard Petty Driver Search II qualified 10th for the season-opening Late Model event Saturday at the treacherous .455-semi-banked oval.
Displeased with his qualifying run, Wilson, who will also run in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards this season vowed to make his way to the front. From the drop of the green flag, the rising star wasted no talent making quick work of his competition as by the completion of lap four; Wilson had guided his Toyota Camry into the ninth position.
Steadily moving forward, Wilson showed by lap 40 that his No. 12 Randolph Bank Toyota Camry was one of the fastest machines on the race track. By lap 50, Wilson had cleverly maneuvered his automobile into sixth and just two laps later bolted into the top-five.
Still under green, Wilson was stalking his prey and moved into fourth on lap 63 and moved into podium position less than a minute later when he negotiated for the third spot on lap 65.
Nestled in third, Wilson set his sights on the lead pack. Wilson was able to move into the runner-up position on lap 71. With clean race track ahead of him, Wilson set his sights on leader Davin Scites and a caution on lap 83 bunched the field back-up and provided the break that the RWM team needed.
On the restart, Wilson took his jab at Scites but as quickly as the day looked to be a promising one, Wilson near the half-way mark began experience mechanical gremlins from the rear of his Toyota Camry.
Unable to officially diagnose the problem during the second-half of the event, Wilson would have to nurse his Toyota Camry around the race-track through the course of the second-half of the season-opener.
Attempts to correct the problem on pit road beginning on lap 144 proved to be fruitless. Still in championship mode, the RWM team sent their pilot back into competition to salvage the best finish possible. Out of contention for the win, Wilson would hang on to an extremely ill-handling machine to finish 14th.
“The finish is frustrating,” said Wilson, a native of Randleman, North Carolina. “I wasn’t really sure what we had after qualifying on Sunday but we made a few adjustments during the final practice session on Sunday morning and they worked. I really think we could have had something for Davin if we would not have had the hiccup in the rear end. We’re still not real sure what it is, but we’ll get it fixed and be back next week. I appreciate the support of Randolph Bank, Southern Pharmacy Services, my team, my friends and all of our marketing partners for their belief in this race team. We’ll be back.”
Upon inspection on Monday at the team’s shop, it was determined a ratchet spring failure resulted in the sudden and drastic change in the handling of Wilson’s No. 12 Randolph Bank Toyota Camry.
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