After four races in four weeks Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Ford Mustang Funny Car established themselves as NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship contenders. Today at the NHRA Midwest Nationals Wilkerson drew a tough first round opponent racing 2018 NHRA Funny Car champion J.R. Todd. As the No. 8 qualifier he had lane choice but both lanes at World Wide Technology Raceway proved to be equally strong for the competitors.
Over two days of qualifying Wilkerson was consistently quick, posting three runs in the 3.93 seconds or quicker range. That kind of consistency has been a hallmark for the man who is the team owner, crew chief and driver of the Mustang Funny Car. His opening run of 3.905 seconds put him in the No. 5 spot heading into Saturday. Through two more sessions he made almost identical 3.93 second runs of 3.934 and 3.936 seconds and at the end of the day the reigning U.S. Nationals winner was the No. 8 qualifier.
Over the past three races Wilkerson had two wins and was looking to continue to move up the points. The first step to a third win in four races would take a win over J.R. Todd. Both drivers took off side-by-side and as they passed half-track they were welded together. Unfortunately, Wilkerson hazed the tires as Todd made a smooth run to advance to the quarterfinal. The loss kept Wilkerson in the No. 7 spot in the point standings with four races remaining.
“We made three really good runs in qualifying, and I thought we could step on it a little more in the first round,” said Wilkerson. “We got two wins this month and we will get ready for the last four races of the Countdown. This Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Funny Car was loaded up for that first round and we just couldn’t keep it hooked up.”
Wilkerson will head to the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals with his Mustang Funny Car and the Summit Racing Top Fuel dragster driven by Keith Murt. The Summit Racing Top Fueler made its debut this weekend and will be looking to qualify at the national event at the Texas Motorplex in two weeks.
Q1: 3.905 sec, 322.11 mph; Qual. 5
Q2: 3.934 sec., 324.44 mph; Qual. 5
Q3: 3.936 sec., 326.71 mph; Qual. 8
Bonus Points: 0
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Tim Wilkerson 8 .088 4.220 222.22
J. R. Todd 9 .082 3.895 330.39 (W)
Camping World Funny Car Countdown Top Ten
1. Matt Hagan, 2354
2. Ron Capps, 2295
3. John Force, 2282
4. Cruz Pedregon, 2255
5. J.R. Todd, 2239
6. Bob Tasca III, 2234
7. Robert Hight, 2194
7. Tim Wilkerson, 2194
9. Alexis DeJoria, 2163
10. Blake Alexander, 2120
Tony Fay PR