#77 Late Model – George Wilson
by Tom Stephenson
George Wilson captured the Late Model Championship last year at Laird International Raceway. It was the second time he has done it in LIR’s 10 year history. He was champ in the Late Model division in the 2005 season, and in 2002 he found the top of the Super Stock division by just one point over Robert Sartini. George arguably might be considered the most winning driver that LIR has seen in its decade of existence. George said, “I think if you add it up, between Laird and Kinross, I’ve won seventy plus features.”
Although he’ll be back out at LIR this upcoming season, George might not be able to be there for all races to defend his title due to other commitments he has made. George said, “I’m going to try and run some OSCAAR Super Late Model Series races in Southern Ontario this year.” OSCAAR stands for Ontario Stock Car Association of Asphalt Racers, and they run a series of races at 8 different tracks in Southern Ontario. You can visit www.oscaar.ca
for more information on the series. It will be interesting to see how George fares against other top drivers in Ontario. I’m betting he’ll do well.
Besides running some races in S. Ontario, George will also be helping his 5 year old son Chase run some races. George said, Chase will be racing full time this summer. He’ll be racing a Quarter Midget racecar in Lansing Michigan. He’s in a group up to eight years old.”
Chase is twin brother to Berlyn, who isn’t into racing, rather she’s taken a liking to gymnastics. Besides the twins, George and his wife LeeAnn also have Dawson, now three. George said, “Dawson eagerly wants to drive Chase’s car already.” All three kids have been out playing on some kiddie sized snowmobiles this winter.
Normally, George occupies some of his time in the winter with snowmobile racing, and playing hockey in one of the local men’s leagues. This year though he’s had to drop both and spend more time at home. He said, “I’ve had a rough go of it the last little while. I broke my foot playing soccer on the beach in Mexico. I went to kick the ball at the same time as another guy, and my foot deflected off the ball. I cut his shin and broke my foot. I was on crutches for a while. I was going to race snowmachines again this year, but with a broken foot that was out. The kids are playing hockey now, and all three of them are in gymnastics so that activity takes a lot of time. Hockey was out this year too.”
George’s nickname is “The Steel City Outlaw”. Those that have followed George at our local track know that he has had some ‘differences of opinion’ with track owner Donnie Varcoe in past seasons. During the 2008 season though, the two seemed to be more subdued and the conflict was not evident. George said, “I stayed away from the political side of things last year. I just shut my mouth and rolled with it and raced.” Varcoe did have both George and Michael Gold on probation for races late in the season last year, mainly to avoid a flare up and to steer clear of costly conflicts on the track. The result was that fans got to see some really good racing between top drivers in the division.
George has started getting ready for the 2009 season. He said, “The motor has gone to be checked out at Marollo Racing Engines in New York. Since I’ve been racing there have been four or five locals that have used his services for engine rebuilds and a few others that get carburetors done.” George runs a 351 cubic inch Ford engine in his car.
George is also out canvassing for sponsors for the upcoming race season. So far he has Union Cab (his father, Butch Wilson’s business), Marollo Racing Engines, and Atlas Auto Parts onside for sponsorships. “I have some hopefuls that haven’t been confirmed yet. I’m working on it.”
George currently works as manager at Union Cab. He said, “I take care of most of the day to day things.”
In the pits, George is helped by Brett, Debbie, Tyler, and Dustin Jackson; also Shane Kelly, his dad Butch, Kevin Jackson, Matt Radjula, Keith King, and Jake Marcinkowski.
While in the shop at Lakeway Truck a couple of months ago, Donnie Varcoe mentioned with a smile that perhaps he’ll have Wilson and Gold duke it out with a couple of the school buses he’s picked up for the track this season. When asked about the prospect of it, George said with a chuckle, “You never know. When I’m not on probation maybe I can take one out.”
Photo Captions (bottom three photos courtesy of the Wilson Family):
1) George Wilson being presented with his trophies and hardware from announcer George Pinder at the 2008 LIR Banquet.
2) George's son Chase in his race suit.
3) Chase's brother Dawson in Chase's Quarter Midget racecar
4) A Quarter Midget Race Track.