Aug 8, 2017

Brian Wilson – North Carolina State

Pursuit of Greatness
Brian Wilson – North Carolina State

Now in his 14th year at Team Penske, Brian Wilson began his first season as crew chief of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in 2016. Before his crew chief role, Wilson spent the five seasons as the race engineer for the No. 2 Team Penske Ford driven by Brad Keselowski in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. During his second stint as the No. 2 team engineer, Wilson played an invaluable role in vaulting the team to the highest levels of the sport. Wilson engineered Keselowski and the No. 2 team to the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Championship and helped the No. 22 Discount Tire team win 2010 NASCAR XFINITY Series title. In 2014, Wilson’s expertise contributed to Keselowski earning a series-leading six NSCS victories, five poles, 17 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. During the 2015 season, Wilson helped the team once again earn a spot in the Chase behind 25 top-10 finishes and he earned the opportunity to lead the championship-winning XFINITY Series team during the 2016 season.

A second generation race engineer, Wilson is a native of Detroit, Mich. He grew up around racing and began competing in go-karts at age eight. His father, Steve, was also a racer and in 1995 served a race engineer for the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Cup car.

Wilson started working part-time at Frank Kimmel’s championship ARCA team while attending North Carolina State University. After receiving his degree in mechanical engineering, Wilson joined Kimmel’s operation full time as the team’s shock specialist. Wilson’s father, who retired from engine research and development for Richard Childress Racing, put his son in contact with Team Penske in 2004. Wilson worked on the No. 77 car before joining the No. 2 Miller Lite team as a shock specialist in 2006. He was named race engineer prior to the start of the 2007 season. In his three years with the No. 2 team, Wilson was part of four wins, 18 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes.

In 2009, the NC State graduate transitioned to the No. 12 car with David Stremme behind the wheel and helped the team accumulate 11 top-20 finishes along with eight top-15 starting spots.

Wilson teamed with crew chief Paul Wolfe in 2010 to give the newly-formed No. 22 Discount Tire team some veteran leadership during its first season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The duo built fast racecars that driver Brad Keselowski used to capture the 2010 XFINITY Series championship, the first NASCAR title for Team Penske. Wolfe then kept Wilson by his side after he was named crew chief of the No. 2 Miller Lite entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2011.

The Wolfe-Wilson pairing once again proved successful, this time on NASCAR’s biggest stage. Initially, the team had a slow start to the season and then things began to click when the weather turned warmer. Three wins and five top-five finishes during the summer months propelled the “Blue Deuce” into the 2011 Chase for the Championship, and the team finished fifth in the final series standings.

An even brighter horizon dawned in 2012 as the Miller Lite team took the Sprint Cup Series by storm by winning five races – two during the Chase for the Championship – as it captured the Sprint Cup championship for Roger Penske.

During the 2015 season, the No. 2 car led a total of 1,185 laps, the third most after Kevin Harvick and Penske teammate, Joey Logano. Wilson also helped the team accumulate one win, nine top-fives, 25 top-10 finishes and three poles, as the team made the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the second straight year.

Wilson resides in Mooresville, N.C.

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