Ricky the Wildman Wilson. Just the name alone should catch your attention. Ricky is a no-name guy just trying to make it up the ranks. The sport of drag racing is a fiercely competitive one. Many people don’t know what all goes into making a name for yourself. Ricky has been one of the O.G.’s of street racing, long before the TV show was around.
Ricky grew up in Midland Texas and was just a good ole boy like the rest of them. Racing runs deep in his veins he later found out. Ricky was a street racer ever since he was old enough to drive. His first car was a 1964 Chevy Impala, but he quickly progressed to a 1968 Camaro. Not just one Camaro, but many of them. He went through a handful of the Camaros over the years. A few went into poles and a few into fences, all for the love of the sport. That comes with the wear and tear of learning the hard way and just plain old accidents. He also had nitrous at the age of 16 before many drivers even knew what it was. As I mentioned before that racing runs in his blood, how deep it runs is a whole other level. Growing up Ricky was the only one in his family that he knew about who was really into fixing and driving cars. He knew that as a child he was adopted by his mother’s husband once they got married, but he never knew his biological father. It wasn’t until many years later that he found out that he was related to the great Jim Hall. Jim is his great-uncle. Ricky was blessed to work for the car museum for Jim Hall and was asked to fix some of the cars they have on display there. It had all turned out that the parts store he had frequented his entire life, for all of his cars was owned by his father’s side of the family as well. His grandfather worked the counter and his father was the mechanic in the back.
The local drag strip Penwell drag strip is where he and his friends called home on Friday nights. Jim Oddy is the man who gave him the nickname The Wildman at age 24. Jim had invited Ricky to a national event in NY to come test out his car and make a few passes. Ricky accepts and makes the trip out there, he makes a pass, and at the finish line, he blows his two front tires, had the chutes pulled and was still picking up speed. He was able to save it like a pro and started changing his tires on the return area when the crews came down to talk with him. The powers that be were so impressed at his gusto and save, but they needed to see his license. Ricky handed them his normal driver’s license, because he did not have his competition one, nor even knew he needed one. He was clearly done racing for the day, but he was forever dubbed Wildman for such a save of the car and the aftermath.
If it has a motor, it is almost a guarantee that he has raced it or worked on it. He has raced cars, boats, razors, and motocross bikes. Ricky also owns a boat and chassis shop that he spends most of, if not all of his downtime at the shop or on a boat in the lake. Although his shop does struggle from time to time because of all the days he spends away to go to the events, especially during the summer holiday seasons. He also works and tunes the Shake n Bake car of Cody Baker. Ricky, Cody, Cody’s dad, and Ricky’s friend Anthony make up the pit crew for their cars. Ricky’s car is a 2010 Camaro named the “Junkyard Dog”. It is a perfect name for it. Its bits and pieces from so many other vehicles that were potentially scrapped. The Junkyard Dog has a 426 inch motor in it. Ricky is hoping that one day with all of his hard work and determination he can get a few sponsors to help him out along the way. Racing isn’t cheap, especially if you are doing it all out of your own pocket. He tried to quit racing once. He realized he had a shop full of expensive parts, 3 weeks went by and back to the track he went. You can’t keep him away for too long.
At the age of 30, Ricky moved to North Carolina to work for Winston Cup Motors and dove into racing there as well. A few years later he made his way back to Texas and now calls Fort Worth his home. He’s been around for a while and doing street racing since he could drive. It doesn’t matter where he has lived, Ricky will make it home and find someplace to drive fast. According to him, the best time and place to show off your car is the Orlando World Finals. They shut the entire town down and you’re able to drive the streets with your race car. The Orlando World Finals has a field of about 70 cars from around the globe. Ricky has always placed in the top 15. Not too shabby for a self-made man there.
Home life isn’t always what we actually have, but the people who are in it. Ricky has 4 children, a 15-year-old son who lives in North Carolina, and his two daughters who are 24 and 26 both in Texas. Because his son lives in North Carolina he will always find a way to get him to any race he possibly can. “I’m just trying to pave the road for my boy Ricky Wilson the second. If he chooses this life too, if not that’s ok also”. At one point after a few hardships came his way, Ricky and his daughter were living in their shop. He used to try so hard to make it fun for her and take her to the YMCA to play and shower. Ricky apologized for the entire experience, only to find out from her, that those moments with him and the fun space he created for her, was the best time of her life. According to Ricky “It’s all a matter of perspective I guess”. He also took in a young boy that he considers his son while he was living in North Carolina and showed him the ropes growing up. That young boy just happens to be none other than Jeremy Nance the front man for one the fastest growing brands known as Radical Gossip Media. While Ricky has been a father figure to Jeremy since the age of 10, Ricky had introduced a whole new world to him and Jeremy has been part of the drag racing community ever since. You can always find Jeremy representing at the track, on his facebook live feeds followed by thousands, or at an event he lined up for a sponsor. Radical Gossip Media is your source for race news, interviews, and sponsorship programs.
Ricky now resides in a 47 American Eagle bus that he keeps at the shop and uses to tow his car to all the events. One day he would like to retire to Florida where it’s warm and sunny. You don’t have to ask him about his dream job or dream car because he already has both. Working on cars and boats, and getting to play with them as well is a dream come true to him. The only thing that could make it better is an invite to the races to help it move along easier. If you’re looking for a real Street Outlaw, you need to look no further. Ricky is the only guy that I have ever heard of that has had a standoff with a sheriff and won. The short version of this story is: he was at gunpoint and refused to give them his car. He had his friend Anthony lock his car up and then proceeded to talk the officer into lowering his weapon. But if there is anything to learn from Ricky, is that sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most. As for the other drivers out there, “I’m coming after them! Just kidding, I’m just a guy who wants to go racing and wants to have a good time and be on T.V. it’s pretty cool”. His final thoughts for me were this, “Be happy and live life the way you want to live it no matter what. Don’t let nothing deter you from the way you wanna be, and you’ll wish you did it when you didn’t get to”. So the next time you go to a No Prep event make sure you find his pit. You’ll be guaranteed a two for one deal of the Junkyard Dog and Shake n Bake, they will always take the time to stop and say hello to a fan.
Photo Credit: FREAKSHOW PHOTOGRAPHY – Phillip Kinney
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