Crew chief, engine builder Waddell Wilson honored
October 12, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com
Established in 1997 by legendary car owner and mechanic Henry "Smokey" Yunick four years before his death, the annual award recognizes an individual who has risen from humble beginnings to make a major impact on the motorsports industry.
Wilson's engines propelled drivers to more than 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories, but the win he remembers most fondly was Buddy Baker's triumph in the 1980 Daytona 500.
"The engine Baker won the Daytona 500 with, I remember building that engine five times -- and working week after week on that body and the rolling resistance," Wilson said. "That was probably the most perfect race car I was ever involved with.
"Back then, we didn't have all the templates they have today. There were areas you could work in. I studied everything I could about that race car… Everybody always said it was the engine. Yeah, it had a lot of horsepower, but that wasn't the only thing about that race car."