For 42 years, Cecil “Big C” Wilson worked for the Wood Brothers Racing Team, worked a full-time job at Fieldcrest Mills and raised his family, daughter Joan Shelton and his son Darrell Wilson with his wife, Sharon Wilson.
“He loved racing and he lived racing,” said Shelton. “He loved being part of the racing crew and on the track. That was his life for many years.
Wilson grew up in the Critz, Va. area. His family moved to Spencer where he married Sharon and the family then moved to Lawsonville, N.C. He worked at the Wood Brothers shop from 8 a.m. to noon and then at Fieldcrest Mills until they closed their doors. Shelton said he worked there for about 40 years.
Sadly, Wilson passed away on June 4, 2013 from metastatic lung cancer at 77 years old. Shelton said her family wanted to start the Big C Motorsports Scholarship so “my daddy’s name will live on. I hope every recipient of the scholarship has a passion for racing like my Daddy.”
When he was younger, Wilson went to the races and helped out with the gas man on the track. When he got older, Wilson worked in the shop with Eddie (Wood) and Len (Wood) in the motor room.
“Daddy would want these students to know that sometimes you have to do the dirty work to get to where you want to be,” she said. “You don’t ever start out on top right away. And this business isn’t easy; they better have a passion for it. You can love your job, but don’t forget about your family. Daddy had a good balance between work and his family.”
Shelton said everyone he worked with at Wood Brothers was like family to Wilson. Even after Wilson became ill, Shelton said he still followed all the races.
“When he couldn’t go because he got sick, he would always watch the race and get calls from the track,” Shelton said. “Daddy was a part of that crew until he took his last breath.”
The Big C Motorsports Scholarship is a $500 annual award given to a PHCC student who is enrolled in the motorsports curriculum. Applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) to be eligible.
“Lord willing, Daddy’s legacy will live on through this scholarship,” Shelton said.