WILKERSON TAKES LEVI, RAY & SHOUP CAR TO THIRD FINAL ROUND IN 2016
Baytown, Texas (May 2, 2016) – Fresh from his win in Charlotte last week, Tim Wilkerson powered his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang to a second straight final round appearance at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
Wilkerson started race day in the No. 1 qualifying position for the first time since 2012. His stellar pass of 3.899 E.T. at 327.59 mph on Friday night also set a new track elapsed time record.
“We ran a 3.96 first run and we were solidly in, so I told my boys, well this is our chance to throw it all at the wall and see if it sticks. I really thought it would run fast, but I didn’t know if it would run that fast,” said Wilkerson. “I knew it was pretty fast because it went out there in the middle of the race track and really took off. I had the front end up in the air and usually when it does that it’s marching pretty hard. It’s done that to me a couple times this year.”
In the first round of eliminations, Tim drove past No.16 qualifier Jim Campbell running 4.037/307.02. In round two, Wilkerson inched past Matt Hagan in a very close race running a 3.926/323.50 over Hagan’s 3.954/324.59. The semifinals were another close match up with Wilkerson running a 3.906/325.14 over Jack Beckman’s 3.941/322.04. In the final round he faced Courtney Force, who prevailed with a 3.913/327.90 to Wilkerson’s 3.943/323.81.
“The track was 12 degrees colder from the semifinals to finals, and we had so little turnaround time trying to beat the rain, and the track got better; it ate up everything we gave it,” said Wilkerson. “Those guys over there at JFR knew what they were up against and just had the better run.”
“It has been a very exciting time for my guys. I’ve got a good group of kids and Richard Hartman helping me,” said Wilkerson. “You know this is the land of Royal Purple down here in Houston and we have Royal Purple Motor oil and we’re the only car in the pits running that stuff, so maybe the other guys ought to pay attention.”
The final round appearance has shot Wilkerson to the top of the 2016 Mello Yello Points Standings in Nitro Funny Car. He is tied with Courtney Force for first place.
“Even though we were unhappy getting beat in finals, because we don’t go the track to lose, we’re still extremely proud of our performance this weekend. All this can change in a minute, but hopefully we can keep this roll going,” said Wilkerson. “We’re going to win our share of rounds this year with the way we have this car running.”
The next race in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the Sum