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William & Willie could be winning combo

Larry Woody • Mar 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Young Wilson County racer William Hale is preparing for a new season, and expects to benefit from the coaching of NASCAR veteran Willie Allen.

Allen, of Bon Aqua, is a two-time defending track champion at Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway where William will race this year, in addition to running a full schedule at Highland Rim Speedway. Allen has also competed in the ARCA Series and won NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year in 2007.

In recent years he has worked with various developmental programs, assisting young racers such as William.

"Willie brings a great deal of experience to the table," says William, 16, who is also assisted by his grandfather Alan, a veteran mechanic and crew chief whose race team is located in Mt. Juliet.

William adds about Willie: "He has been involved in racing a long time and he knows what he's doing. He has already taught me a lot during the off-season about how to deal with the media and how to handle the little everything things in life."

Even though William lives in Wilson County, he was granted permission to attend McGavock High to take advantage of that school's engineering program.

"He's a smart kid," his grandfather says. "I've taught him about all I can teach him from the driving angle, since I was never behind the wheel. All of my experience comes from the mechanical end. That's why I was glad to get Willie Allen to help us out. He knows the sport from the driver's perspective."

"I enjoy working with enthusiastic young drivers like William," Allen says. "I'm delighted to have him and his grandfather on board this season."

Allen says he emphasizes the basics of racing in his instructions:

"Learn to get a feel for your car so that you can communicate information to your crew," he says. "Communication is the key. We'll also work on driving techniques and strategy, what to do and what not to do during a race."

Allen adds with a chuckle: "We learn from our mistakes, and I've made so many over the years that I know what to tell a young driver NOT to do. Hopefully William can benefit from what I learned the hard way."

William will race Pro Late Models at both the Fairgrounds and Highland Rim.

"This year we're getting far superior equipment than we had last season," William says. "Willie is giving us first-class equipment and it will really help."

Last season was cut short for the Hales when they parked their car due to dispute with track officials over a post-race disqualification.

"We've mended fences and we'll be back at the Rim this season," Alan says.

Despite running a limited schedule, William still finished 10th in last year's championship standings.

"We had some good finishes," he says. "I felt like we made progress, and I expect to make more this year.

"Last year was frustrating because of the DQ," he adds. "Also, even though we had some good runs, we didn't have the car-power to really compete. This year we've got it."

William is looking forward to pulling double-duty at the Fairgrounds and Highland Rim, and also plans to run some out-of-state races.

"I'm eager to learn, and the fastest way to learn is to be out on the track," he says. "The more races I can run, the better. With good equipment and Willie Allen helping us, we expect to compete not just for wins, but for championships. I can't wait to get started."

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