CONCORD, N.C. – Waddell Wilson’s resume speaks for itself.
The NASCAR Hall of Famer won three NASCAR Cup Series championships as an engine builder and earned 19 wins as a crew chief in his multi-faceted career.
But he still couldn’t quite believe it when he got the news that his name was called as a member of the Hall of Fame class of 2020.
“It is an unbelievable honor,” he said. “It was humbling because you always figured that the drivers and owners, not the mechanics, would get an honor like that. It’s more than an honor.”
Wilson spent four seasons as a crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports, originally working with Darrell Waltrip in 1987.
In 1988, he moved to team with Geoff Bodine and then joined forces with Ricky Rudd from 1990-91.
“We ended up with Geoff Bodine and Ricky Rudd, two great drivers,” Wilson recalled. “It was an honor to get to work with both of them. I was able to win races with both of them.”
He earned three wins in total for the organization – at Pocono with Bodine and at Watkins Glen and Darlington with Rudd.
The Watkins Glen win stood out to Rudd, who recalled Wilson and team “working around the clock” to repair major damage to their Chevrolet after an incident in practice.
The effort was rewarded with a trip to Victory Lane.
Wilson said he “definitely” remembers that race as well, noting just how fast their car was before the collision in practice.
The crew chief recalled taking one of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick’s cars out of the trailer, cutting the back end off of it and putting it onto the car that Rudd wrecked.
“There was a lot of work going on to make all of this happen,” Wilson said. “With Ricky Rudd and his talent at a road course, we ended up winning the race. That was great.”
It was Rudd’s first win for the organization, and Wilson was proud to be a part of it.
In his career, Wilson also collaborated with other NASCAR Hall of Famers like Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough. The success he found with such a wide variety of people helped make Wilson’s career legendary, and he hopes the people at home were able to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
“I hope that we made Sunday afternoons fun for people watching racing, gave them some delight,” he said. “I hope it was interesting for them. I can say what I’ve done, I’ve done it honest. I just love racing and want to be remembered as doing it honest and people enjoyed watching us on Sunday afternoons.”