Pro Late Models
10 Things to Know: Alabama 200 at Montgomery
Mar 3, 2022
This weekend marks the start of a new journey for Hueytown, Alabama's JoJo Wilkinson. The 18-year-old racer will make her first start for Jett Motorsports after years of competing with her family team.
Wilkinson, the daughter of former ARCA Menards Series competitor John Wilkinson, will be making her sixth start in Montgomery Motor Speedway's Alabama 200 this Saturday. However, this will be the first time she's competed in the event in her home state while driving for another team.
"I've been running the Alabama 200 since I started racing Late Models," Wilkinson told Racing America. "It's close to home, and I know Montgomery pretty well. I feel pretty confident at that track, so being with a new team and knowing my ability, I think it will be good and a whole lot of fun."
For Wilkinson, the move to Jett Motorsports is an opportunity to broaden her racing horizons in what she hopes will be the next step in her racing career.
"I've been racing with my dad since I was nine years old. I just turned 18. I feel like I need to get out there and learn how to do it myself and figure out the racing world a little bit more on the other side, of doing it by yourself as an adult.
"I just needed to get out and further my racing career, and I feel like Jett Motorsports can help me do that. I'm very excited to be able to race with the new team and see what we can do."
Wilkinson gained some experience in 2021 racing for other teams, thanks to a part-time schedule in ARCA Menards Series West with Bill McAnally Racing as well as the BMR Drivers Academy.
"Well, last year, I went through that with the ARCA deal with Bill McAnally Racing and the BMR Drivers Academy. I went through that on my own. I feel like, if I can do an ARCA deal by myself with my family supporting me, the Late Model deal should be a lot easier. It's a different aspect of the racing world, and I feel like a more fun side of racing.
"My family supports me through everything. I know they'll still be there for me and support me through everything. They know I can get it done, and I just have to prove to Jett Motorsports and everyone that I can get it done."
READ MORE: Alabama 200 Entry List Hits 40 Cars
Interestingly enough, the first face-to-face interaction between Wilkinson and her new team came after she made the trip to Jacksonville, Florida to have her seat mounted in her new car at the Jett Motorsports shop.
She is increasingly optimistic that Jett Motorsports' support will be able to provide more competitive opportunities than the hard work and effort of her family team in years past. However, that could also come with the pressure of increased expectation.
"We instantly clicked and had a good time. They found out a lot about me, I found out a lot about them. I don't think there's a whole lot of pressure, with a newer car and a whole team. When it was just me and my dad at the track, you couldn't really win or run up front doing that. You have to have more than one person to get it done.
"I put more pressure on myself than anything, because I know I can get it done. I love Montgomery and I know we're fast there. I'm just hoping I reach my expectations this weekend in the 200."
Race fans unable to attend the 58th running of the Alabama 200 can watch live on Racing America.