Race Weekend Central

DL Wilson Excited to Race ARCA East, Chase Top-5 Finish

New team, new number, same DL Wilson. The 59-year-old Texan is ready to compete in the 2024 ARCA Menards Series East season with a goal of a top-five points finish.

“I think maintaining through the season,” Wilson told Frontstretch. “I look to get top five in points in the East series. That’s my goal. And have some good finishes. The East series is tough; there’s a lot of good young guns in there, some good quality teams, so it is going to be hard to get in the top five. But that’s my goal.”

See also
Costner-Weaver Plans Full-Time ARCA East Run for No. 93

Wilson intended on running the full East slate in 2023 with Fast Track Racing, but an early season injury sustained in the race at Phoenix Raceway curtailed those plans. He endured quite the rehab to fully recover from his injuries.

“It was tough,” he said. “I pride myself on being in pretty good shape, but I broke five ribs on the same side there, injured my sternum, bruised my heart and got a pretty serious concussion. So, it was a pretty massive crash. 43 g’s on that NASCAR data that they pulled out of the car.”

His racecar was destroyed, including badly bending the roll cage.

Five months later, Wilson climbed back into the racecar at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and also participated in the ARCA event at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“There was a little bit of nerves, but it’s like anything else,” he continued. “You got to get back on the horse, and once I got out there, I made laps and I made some mistakes. But that car we had, it was our backup to our backup car, and it was not a great car, so we struggled with it at IRP. We did not do too badly at Bristol with it. Bristol is still such a physically demanding track, so that got to me a little bit.”

Enter 2024. Wilson has two racecars. His new team, Costner Weaver Motorsports, is currently building him a Gen 5 racecar with some of the parts from his Phoenix car. The other racecar is a Ryan Hopkins one which ran well at Bristol and inside the top five at Five Flags Speedway before. Team owner Caleb Costner has his fleet of racecars, too, and the team keeps building.

“We’re excited to be with Caleb,” Wilson said. “We have a friendship that we’ve had a little bit, and we have law enforcement backgrounds. We’ll run all the East races and maybe some main series races, but we’ll see how that all works out. We got a new chassis, it is a Ryan Hopkins in a purpose-built ARCA short track car, so we are excited about it. We’re building a new Gen 5 that we purchased. We’re excited about that too. We have two Ilmor and two Yates motors.”

“He’s such a great guy,” Costner said about Wilson. “We have so much in common. He’s so energetic and excited. He just brings a supportive mentality. He’s just that guy; he surprised me by coming down to Daytona. I had no idea he was coming down there. He flew down there just to support me. And that was huge cause he is a part of the team. He’s one of our guys; we’re a small group and pretty much all of our guys are family. And so for him to show up and surprise me, that meant a lot, it really did. It may seem small to others, but he really did; he flew in from Texas just to watch me race and support the team. That was cool and I appreciated him being there. It meant a lot.

“Because he believes in what we’re building as much as I do. And that says a lot because he was in a very established team that he had run with before. So, for him to branch out, think that we can take him to the track and have a better run than in the past, that says a lot.”

Wilson has 33 ARCA starts with one top 10 — a 10th at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in 2021 — and a sixth-place points finish in that 2021 season. Comparatively, Costner has 12 total starts across the ARCA platform. Wilson’s experience will come in handy for CWM.

“A lot of times that I went with Andy Hillenburg, I would do some start n’ parks, which everybody frowns upon those, but it gives guys like me, who don’t have the experience on the bigger tracks or unusual tracks, that experience,” Wilson stated. “You get 20-30 laps of the race in, you get practice and qualifying so that’s helpful. I’ve won a championship down here at Houston Motorsports Park. It’s a 3/8-mile track and I’ve had success here. I’ve had success on my dirt track days.

“But until you get those demanding asphalt tracks – you can hide a dirt car that pushes, you can fix it with the driver – but an asphalt car that’s loose, it’s loose and if it’s tight, then it’s tight. There’s no hiding it, so you really must have a good setup and a good crew who’ll help you and learn when you can push it and when you cannot. And I love Andy Hillenburg [for fielding Wilson in ARCA]. He’s done 10,000 things for me. I’m at 33 starts now.”

Wilson will drive the No. 39 for CWM, a team that will also field the No. 93 full time in the East. Heart O’ Texas Speedway will be the primary sponsor. Tradinghouse Bar and Grill will also be on board his No. 39.

See also
ARCA Power Rankings: Greg Van Alst Is the New Points Leader

Running the East is a natural fit for Wilson, and it’s not solely because he was unable to compete in that series last year.

“I own two Yates motors right now and Caleb owns two Ilmors, so you cannot run a lot of the main races with a Yates motor, so I am sticking to the mile and under racetracks right now,” Wilson explained. “I think I will be a little more competitive, hopefully. And Dover Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile are exciting for me. ‘Course we have Bristol and I love that old Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway track. I’ve never been to Flat Rock Speedway but I’m excited about that. I’ve run Five Flags a couple of times, so it is going to be a good fit for me right now economically and for the team.”

Wilson is excited to go racing at those three racetracks for the first time in his career too.

“I’ve done iRacing on them,” he added. ‘Course Dover to me looks like it takes your breath away. Milwaukee doesn’t look like it’s going to be that difficult. I’m more concerned about Dover as far as speed. To me, it’s a bigger Bristol, that’s what I get out of it. I’ll talk to folks. I have a good relationship with Justin Allgaier, so I’ll get some pointers from him, a guy who’s been there before. You know, I grew up watching Dover and Milwaukee races, and now I’m going to take it off my bucket list. Not many stock car drivers in this world can say they’ve hit all the tracks that we’ve hit, so that’s a great adventure for us and our little team.

“Flat Rock is a little bullring. I just don’t want to rub my car up, but we might run a different chassis at Flat Rock, because I don’t want to bend up my new one. Those little bullrings wear you out. I’ve got a trainer here with me now. I’m working on my neck muscles, arm muscles and things like that.”

About the author

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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