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POMONA, Calif. (February 10, 2018) – Tim Wilkerson – team owner, crew chief, and driver of the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang – is off to a fine start at the first NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event of 2018. The Springfield, Illinois-native wisely capitalized on the best qualifying session at the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals and came away with a start from the No. 6 spot and a first-round meeting with Del Worsham.
Wilkerson laid down a killer pass in the third qualifying session and first of the day on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Under considerably cooler conditions than Friday, the driver of the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang saw an opportunity, and he took it.
"I knew it was doable, it was just that time of day and with that weather. I thought, well, you can't go up there pussyfooting," said Wilkerson, and he didn't. His bold blue LRS Mustang flew down the racetrack, and the clocks stopped at 3.886-second at 327.43 mph, boosting the veteran driver up to the No. 5 position from 13th. His final position changed to sixth after the last session of qualifying – still a very strong start for Sunday.
"On the last run, I tried to hop it up just a little bit, and that didn't do anything for it. The track just ate up everything," said Wilkerson. "I was talking to Richard [Hartman, co-crew chief] and said, 'man, we gotta figure out a way to not look that dumb when the track is that good.' But, we've got ways. I like to be a top-half qualifying car because a few times last year we took a beating on lane choice. That hurt us, and we didn't go where we wanted to. So, first goal accomplished, now we need to win some rounds of racing tomorrow."
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang
Final qualifying position: No. 6
First round: Tim Wilkerson vs. Del Worsham
Wilkerson’s qualifying results:
Q1: 4.046-second at 310.27 mph (No. 11)
Q2: 4.090, 270.54 (No. 13)
Q3: 3.886, 327.43 (No. 5)
Q4: 7.366, 102.20 (No. 6)
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
February 8-11, 2018
Run Schedule (all times PT)
Sunday – Eliminations 11am
Television Schedule (all times ET)
Sunday – NHRA Race Day 1-2pm on FS1
Sunday – Eliminations 5-8pm on FS1
- Tim Wilkerson, 20x NHRA Nitro Funny Car Winner -