Tim Wilkerson Races to Father-Son Funny Car Final Round at NHRA Finals

photo by Auto Imagery, Inc. In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals

Tim Wilkerson wrapped up the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season just one win light short of a victory at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals, and it was a car tuned by his own son, Daniel Wilkerson, who stopped him in the final round Sunday afternoon. Wilkerson’s SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang made a quicker pass than Chad Green’s Mustang, but Green got to the finish line first thanks to a holeshot advantage. It was the fourth final round of the season for Wilkerson and the Maynard Wilkerson Racing team.
Wilkerson missed the tune-up in the first qualifying session at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip before improving to a 4.148-second pass in the second session, but it still wasn’t where Wilkerson wanted to end Friday qualifying. The driver-tuner found what he was looking for in the third session, posting a 3.955 E.T. to move up to the middle of the pack. He stepped up again to a 3.928 E.T. in the final session to end up No. 10 in a nearly all-three-second field.
In the opening round of eliminations against outgoing world champion Ron Capps, Wilkerson posted a 3.978-second pass to beat his tire-smoking competitor. He lined the SCAG machine up against Funny Car icon John Force in the second round, where Force got the starting-line advantage, but Wilkerson made up the difference down-track and won with a 3.956 E.T. over Force’s 4.003 E.T. Wilkerson was first off the starting line in the semifinals against Cruz Pedregon and held the lead through the 1,000-foot finish line to win with a 3.92-second pass to Pedregon’s 3.953 E.T.
A Wilkerson-tuned Funny Car was guaranteed to win in the final round, with Tim’s son Daniel calling the shots on Green’s Mustang. Wilkerson and Green have paired up several times in eliminations, though this was their first final-round meeting. Green left the starting line first, and while Wilkerson made his quickest run of the weekend, a 3.900-second pass at 327.59 MPH, Green’s holeshot advantage and 3.916 E.T. gave him the win.
“I wanted to end up fifth in the standings. All I had to do was beat Chad in the finals but it didn’t work out,” said the SCAG/LRS pilot, who finished sixth in points. “Both teams did a great job all day long. Daniel made Matt Hagan the champion so that was pretty cool, but obviously, we were happy to be in the finals. My car should’ve run a little better than that, but I didn’t have nothing for a .033 light. Chad just did a better job up there.
“Very excited for my guys to finish the year by going to the finals. We couldn’t have drawn that up any better to have both Wilkersons in the final round. We’ve been trying to do that all year long and we finally got it done. I don’t like being on the losing end of it but hey, that’s racing. You don’t win ‘em all. We made four really nice runs today, and I’m very proud of that. So, we’ll take our team and go into next year and hopefully, we can keep this up.”
Wilkerson’s 2023 season featured two wins in four final-round appearances, including his milestone 50th career final-round appearance. He finished the season in the top 10 for the 16th consecutive season and 18th overall.
Wilkerson will be among the Funny Car drivers up on stage at the NHRA Awards Banquet on Monday, Nov. 12 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Pechanga, Calif.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.928 E.T. at 328.22 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.978 E.T. at 314.39 MPH defeated Ron Capps 4.595 E.T. at 186.00 MPH
E2: 3.956 E.T. at 320.81 MPH defeated John Force 4.003 E.T. at 324.20 MPH
E3: 3.920 E.T. at 328.14 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 3.953 E.T. at 326.56 MPH
E4: 3.900 E.T. at 327.59 MPH defeated by Chad Green 3.916 E.T. at 328.54 MPH

ABM Communications PR

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