A week after he had one of the toughest races of his career during the Topeka Nationals Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Ford Mustang Funny Car team showed why they are a team that will be contending for the 2021 Funny Car championship. In the final qualifying session Wilkerson made one of the quickest passes of his career and set a new personal speed record running 334.40 mph to jump from eleventh to third in Funny Car qualifying. It was a monster run that set the team up for a first round match up with Jim Campbell the No. 14 qualifier.
The cool Minnesota conditions gave Wilkerson and car chief Richard Hartman the opportunity to put a lot of power to the racetrack on race day. The team picked up in the first round right where they left off from Saturday’s final qualifying session’s 3.883 second pass. Wilkerson was first off the starting line and never trailed in the race. It was an impressive run for a team that had to rebuild their race car last weekend and spent the week on the road to get ready for this event. His winning time of 3.934 seconds at 314.75 mph setup for a great quarterfinal race against J.R. Todd.
“That was a good run for the first round,” said Wilkerson. “We made a killer run last night and I knew conditions would be good this morning. You can’t take Jim Campbell lightly so we wanted to be sure we got down the track.”
Wilkerson and Todd were the last pair of the second round and they were separated by approximately 1/1000th of a second on performance. In one of the closest races of the quarterfinals Todd narrowly edged out Wilkerson for the win. Once again Wilkerson posted a great 3.929 second run showing what a good handle he has on his Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Mustang Funny Car.
“We have a race car that can compete with anyone out here,” said Wilkerson. “I have to thank all the guys on the team that worked so hard after Topeka to get us ready for this race. We made some great runs and I feel good heading to Indy and going into the Countdown. The fans this weekend were amazing.”
For his efforts he effectively earned his twelfth consecutive berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Wilkerson will most likely officially clinch his playoff spot at the conclusion of qualifying in two weeks. This will mark the fourteenth consecutive year he has finished in the top ten.
Q1: 4.031 sec, 318.24 mph; Qual. 9
Q2: 4.008 sec, 321.12 mph; Qual. 11
Q3: 3.883 sec, 334.40 mph; Qual. 3
Bonus Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q3)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Tim Wilkerson 3 .112 3.934 314.75 (W)
Jim Campbell 14 .131 6.537 104.31
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Tim Wilkerson 3 .079 3.929 320.97
J.R. Todd 11 .067 3.931 326.87 (W)
Camping World Funny Car Top Ten
1. Matt Hagan, 865
2. Bob Tasca III, 850
2. J.R. Todd, 850
4. John Force, 849
5. Ron Capps, 840
6. Robert Hight, 782
7. Alexis DeJoria, 725
8. Cruz Pedregon, 712
9. Tim Wilkerson, 631
10. Blake Alexander, 470
Tony Fay PR