Wilkerson and Team LRS leaving Houston with fast Ford Mustang

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photo credit: Auto Imagery

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 14, 2019) – Raceday at the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil did not go as planned for Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang nitro Funny Car. Wilk and his hard-hitting team, however, leave Houston Raceway Park with bolstered spirits and confidence in the knowledge that they have a very capable, very fast Ford.

In qualifying, the Springfield, Illinois-based team raked in a handful of bonus points as one of the top cars in the field. Wilkerson took the LRS Mustang to darn near the top, dealing his competitors a slick 3.895-second pass at 321.12 mph in the second session that would go down as low elapsed time of the round.

Starting from the No. 3 position, Wilkerson drew Blake Alexander, whose Pronto Auto Parts Ford Mustang is tuned by Daniel Wilkerson. The matching surnames are no coincidence; Daniel is Wilk’s son.

“It doesn’t make a difference who’s in the other lane, though,” said Wilkerson before their match. “I’m just going to race the track.”

Their first-round meeting marked the first time this year they’d raced in any round on Sunday. For Wilkerson, there was trouble from the get-go. His burnout was oddly off-pace, and he launched from the starting line with a reaction time far from normal (.221 to his opponent’s .088). Soon after, his car shook the tires and the parachutes came out. He could only watch Alexander truck ahead for the win on a 3.959-second pass at 298.34 mph.

“I don’t know what happened the whole run there, but there is something wrong because nothing worked right,” said Wilkerson. “I lost focus up there, then it shook and the parachute fell out of it. It didn’t make a difference what I did after that, we weren’t going to win.

“But there is no doubt about it, this Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang is a good car, and it’s really fast. I’m happy with how it runs, I just have to concentrate on keeping it fast.”

The next race on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, April 26-28.

TIM WILKERSON
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: No. 3
Position in Funny Car standings: 7
Race results:
R1: Blake Alexander (3.959-second at 298.34 mph) defeated Tim Wilkerson (6.727, 83.56)

Race Info
Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil
Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas
April 12-14, 2019

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
#NHRAin60 / Sunday – 6-7 PM ET / FS1

*Find detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after the NHRA SpringNationals, race 5 of 24)

1. Robert Hight (3), 476
2. Matt Hagan (1), 366
3. J.R. Todd (1), 341
4. John Force, 339
5. Jack Beckman, 332
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 315
7t. Tim Wilkerson, 286
7t. Ron Capps, 286
9. Bob Tasca III, 250
10. Shawn Langdon, 223

Wilkerson continues heated pace with bold qualifying at NHRA Houston

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 13, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang have been on a tear as-of-late, and in qualifying at Houston Raceway Park’s 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil, he remained true to form. The Springfield, Illinois-based nitro Funny Car campaigner powered to a best time of 3.895-second at 321.12 mph to claim the No. 3 position and a total of four bonus points. He will race Blake Alexander in round one on Sunday.

Wilkerson’s lofty qualifying berth certainly comes as no surprise. He entered the Houston event on the heels of back-to-back final rounds in both Gainesville and Las Vegas, and he and his dedicated team have been sharpening the saw at each race in qualifying. In Phoenix he was No. 3, in Gainesville No. 2, and in Las Vegas he nabbed the pole. It all comes down to raceday, though, and that is where Wilkerson is aching to see the team’s collective effort come to fruition.

“The problem you’re going to have tomorrow is that it’s going to be 180 degrees different out there than it’s been all weekend,” said Wilkerson, eyeing the fluctuating Houston-area weather. “We have crazy power now, but the weather system that’s going to come through is going to make it anybody’s race.”

Sunday’s forecast is calling for temperatures in the high 50s to mid-60s. Weather in Houston qualifying, though, was hot and sticky.

Wilkerson took the heat in stride. The driver who also wears the hats of team owner and tuner was out of the gate with a good hand for the conditions and laid his cards on the table in the first qualifying round with a solid 3.941, 320.81. It was good for the No. 3 spot and a bonus point as third-quickest of the session.

Round two of qualifying was where Wilk put his best foot forward, picking up the pace and clocking a 3.895-second pass at 321.12 mph that was low of the round and brought in another three bonus marks.

Saturday’s mixed bag of results included a 4.858 as the team tested in preparation for Sunday, and in the final session his ‘chutes popped early and was slowed to a 5.264. Wilk remains confident heading into eliminations, despite predicted conditions which don’t leave much room to rely on previously accumulated data.

“Tomorrow will be a different day, and we’ll see how it all works,” said Wilkerson. “I’m just going to concentrate on going down the track. We should be alright, but it’s going to come down to making the right decisions, plain and simple. We’re on a pretty good roll, and we’d sure like to keep that going.”

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Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: No. 3
Wilkerson’s results:
Q1: 3.941-second at 320.81 mph (No. 3, +1 bonus point)
Q2: 3.895, 321.12 (No. 2, +3 bonus points)
Q3: 4.858, 160.75 (No. 3)
Q4: 5.264, 111.50 (No. 3)

First round opponent: Blake Alexander

Race Info
Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil
Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas
April 12-14, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, April 14
10:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
11:00 a.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin,
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Sunday – 2-3 PM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 3-5 PM ET / FOX
#NHRAin60 / Sunday – 6-7 PM ET / FS1

*Find detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com*

Tim Wilkerson NHRA Houston Pre-Race Package

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photo credit: Auto Imagery

Tim Wilkerson
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang

Car No.: FC5
Current points position: No. 7

Notes:
• Tim Wilkerson won the 2004 NHRA SpringNationals with a final-round defeat of Jerry Toliver
• Wilkerson has been on an upswing recently and reached the final round at the most recent two races. He was the No. 1 qualifier last weekend in Las Vegas.
• Team Summit driver Wilkerson, the driver, tuner, and team owner of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang Funny Car, is an independent driver and the only single-car team in the category to finish in the top 10 in 2018
• The NHRA SpringNationals will be the 498th race of Wilkerson’s career as a nitro Funny Car driver. Race 500 will be the event in Atlanta next month.
• The early portion of Wilkerson’s career included a successful run as a Top Alcohol Funny Car driver. He earned eight division trophies, one national event win, and was the Division 3 Top Alcohol Funny Car champ in both 1994 and 1995 in the Lucas Oil Series before stepping up to the Pro ranks in Gainesville in 1996.

Quotes:
“I think it’s good we get to go again so quick. We learned what we wanted to with our blowers last weekend in Vegas, and Richard [Hartman, Team LRS] and I have a plan to get them more similar that we’re real excited about. We have a good car with our Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, and I think you’ll see us climbing the ladder in points. I believe we can keep this up, and that’s good because there are a lot of good cars. It’s going to be a dogfight out there. You better have your stuff together, or you’re going to be on the outside looking in when it comes down to the Countdown to the Championship.”

Wilkerson in Houston
1 win in 3 Houston final rounds
Runner-up 2016 (Courtney Force)
Runner-up 2013 (Cruz Pedregon)
Won 2004 (defeated Jerry Toliver)
No. 1 in Houston in 2016
At Houston in 2018: Qualified No. 6, semifinals

Wilkerson’s Career Stats
(through 2019 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas)
No. 7 in nitro Funny Car standings
497 races
20 wins
23 runner-up finishes
43 nitro Funny Car final rounds
19 No. 1 qualifier awards
Career best e.t.: 3.844 (2017 Phoenix)
Career best speed: 333.74 (2016 Topeka)

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after the NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals, race 4 of 24)

1. Robert Hight (2), 363
2. Jack Beckman, 297
3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 283
4. J.R. Todd (1), 280
5. Matt Hagan (1), 271
6. John Force, 258
7. Tim Wilkerson, 246
8. Ron Capps, 205
9. Bob Tasca III, 198
10. Cruz Pedregon, 179

Race Info
Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil
Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas
April 12-14, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Friday, April 12
8:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman qualifying
3:30 p.m. – Pro Mod Series qualifying session 1
4:30 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 1
6:15 p.m. – Pro Mod Series qualifying session 2
7:15 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 2

Saturday, April 13
8:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
1:30 p.m. – Pro Mod Series qualifying session 3
2:30 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 3
4:00 p.m. – Pro Mod Series qualifying session 4
5:00 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 4

Sunday, April 14
10:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
11:00 a.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin,
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Friday – 9:30 PM-11 PM ET / FS1
Qualifying / Sunday – 2-3 PM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 3-5 PM ET / FOX
#NHRAin60 / Sunday – 6-7 PM ET / FS1

*Find detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com*

Wilkerson makes it two consecutive finals with NHRA Vegas Four-Wide performance

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photo credit: Auto Imagery

LAS VEGAS (April 7, 2019) – In Gainesville two weeks ago, Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang nitro Funny Car team were hot. They qualified well there on the east coast, and they scored a final-round finish. In Las Vegas this weekend, they showed no signs of cooling as they blasted down the racetrack to score their first No. 1 qualifier award of the season and a trip to the final round on Sunday.

The DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway set the stage for Wilk and his fiercely determined team to show their stuff, and they were flaunting what they’ve got as soon as the tree dropped in round one.

The only guy to react quicker than Wilkerson was Shawn Langdon, known to be one of the best leavers in the sport. At the top end, the LRS Mustang laid down the law with a 3.891-second pass at a brutal 325.69 mph that would hold as low elapsed time of raceday.

Wilkerson advanced to round two along with Jeff Deihl as both Langdon and points leader Robert Hight were up in smoke on the hot racing surface.

In round two, Wilk was again efficient at the hit and made the second-best pass of the round, a 3.996 at 312.21, to move ahead with J.R. Todd to the final. Matt Hagan and Diehl both had trouble in their respective lanes.

Fired up for the final, Wilk was set to hoist a trophy but got a bit out of the groove and encountered tire smoke, which slowed his pace considerably. J.R. Todd moved ahead for the win, and Tommy Johnson Jr. logged a runner-up. Jack Beckman and Wilkerson finished third and fourth, respectively, to officially record semifinals finishes.

“I do feel good, even though I’m a little disappointed,” said Wilkerson, who moved to No. 7 in the Funny Car points with his Las Vegas performance. “We haven’t raced in those kind of conditions this year until today, and I wish I would have been in that lane that we liked because maybe we would have won the race. But ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ is just part of racing.

“We’re happy with the way our Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang is running, and we have a lot of neat things coming in the near future – including a new Ford Mustang body and a special 40th anniversary LRS design. We’re real excited about that new [Funny Car] body, because if it’s as good as the one we have now, we’re going to be really happy. We’re hearing it’s better, so that’s pretty cool.”

The next event on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is the NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, April 12-14.

TIM WILKERSON
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Points position following event: No. 7
Wilkerson’s results:
R1: Tim Wilkerson (3.891-second at 325.69 mph) and Jeff Diehl (4.223, 264.23) defeated Shawn Langdon (4.538, 173.47) and Robert Hight (4.524, 186.30)
R2: Wilkerson (3.996, 312.21) and J.R. Todd (4.030, 314.24) def. Matt Hagan (4.017, 303.57) and Diehl (5.727, 122.73)
R3: Todd (3.970, 319.07) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.975, 313.29) def. Jack Beckman (4.370, 213.16) and Wilkerson (4.401, 205.35)

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

*Find detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after the NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals, race 4 of 24)

1. Robert Hight (2), 363
2. Jack Beckman, 297
3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 283
4. J.R. Todd (1), 280
5. Matt Hagan (1), 271
6. John Force, 258
7. Tim Wilkerson, 246
8. Ron Capps, 205
9. Bob Tasca III, 198
10. Cruz Pedregon, 179

Butner extends points lead with NHRA Vegas Four-Wide win, Anderson surging and quick

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photo credit: Auto Imagery

LAS VEGAS (April 7, 2019) – The final round of the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals contained three KB Racing-powered Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stockers battling for the trophy. In the end, though, there was only one trophy – and it went to points leader Bo Butner.

Greg Anderson, driving the red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, had the fastest car in their final-round fight, but Butner’s quicker reaction time beat all three of his challengers to get him the 10th Pro Stock win of his career and third of the year. Butner also won the season-opener in Pomona and the most recent race on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, the 50th annual Gatornationals in Gainesville.

“This class is so tight; it’s tough,” said Butner, who now has a total of six Las Vegas wins in 12 final rounds, across both Pro and Sportsman categories. “We made very good qualifying runs, and we always have a good car. It’s showed it at every race one time or another, even when we didn’t qualify No. 1.

“Today was just supposed to be our day, just like it was in Gainesville. But we’re ready to move on. We hate to have time off now, because we feel like we’re on a roll. But when we come back, we’ll have a 2019 Camaro, and hopefully it’s as nice to us as this one is.”

Butner, the No. 1 qualifier at the event, recorded a 6.639, 206.92 in the first round to advance. Jeff Isbell also advanced with a 6.854 while Butner’s KB Racing teammates Fernando Cuadra and Deric Kramer both left before the tree was activated. Butner’s time was the quickest pass of raceday for all the Pro Stockers.

In round two, Butner was low of the round with a 6.665 at 207.02 to score a ticket to the final. Matt Hartford also advanced with his 6.674, 206.49 to holeshot Chris McGaha’s 6.672 and tardy .123-second reaction time. Jeff Isbell’s 6.801 rounded out the quad.

In the final, Butner recorded a .030-second reaction time along with a 6.677-second pass at 206.67 mph to beat runner-up Hartford’s .052, 6.667, 206.51, Jason Line’s .054, 6.674, 206.99, and Anderson’s .076, 6.655, 207.94.

Anderson’s speed in the final was the fastest of all the Pro Stock cars all weekend long, and his Summit Racing Camaro claimed top speed at over 207 in each of the preceding rounds. He clocked a 6.692, 207.78 in the first round and a 6.689, 207.88 in round two moving on to the final round of the day.

“My Summit Racing Chevy Camaro was fast, and it was fast in Gainesville, too,” said Anderson, the No. 3 qualifier. “That was the bright spot, and we’re definitely gaining on the engine and the racecar, both. We started off a little behind the eight ball this weekend and missed the setup [in qualifying], so it took a few runs to catch up and get that speed back, but we finally did get it back. This was certainly the best day I’ve had all year. Maybe it’s baby steps, but it’s absolutely steps forward. We’re going to be a handful the rest of the year.”

Anderson is now No. 8 in the Pro Stock points.

Although Line qualified in the No. 10 position, he came into raceday with a fire in his belly and a good tune-up in his racecar. Line was quicker than Jeg Coughlin and Alan Prusiensky to move on to round two with Erica Enders. In the second stanza, he and Anderson were both quicker than their opponents, Enders and Alex Laughlin, to lock in their right to race for the money.

“We got better with the silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro as the weekend went on, so to salvage that kind of finish out of a little bit of a rough start was good,” said Line, who moved up to No. 4 in the Pro Stock standings with his showing in Las Vegas. “Today wasn’t a bad day, it just wasn’t a great day with my car. We made progress though, and we got a little bit better each run. I think that gives us something positive to look forward to, for sure.”

The next Pro Stock event for NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, May 17-19, 2019.

BO BUTNER
Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 1
Butner’s results:
R1: Bo Butner (6.639-second at 206.92 mph) and Jeff Isbell (6.854, 202.85) defeat Deric Kramer (left before tree) and Fernando Cuadra (left before tree)
R2: Butner (6.665, 207.02) and Matt Hartford (56.674, 206.48) def. Isbell (6.801, 203.77) and Chris McGaha (6.672, 206.64)
R3: Butner (.030-second reaction time, 6.677, 206.67) def. runner-up Matt Hartford (.052, 6.667, 206.51), Jason Line (.054, 6.674, 206.99), and Greg Anderson (.076, 6.655, 207.94)

GREG ANDERSON
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 8
Anderson’s results:
R1: Greg Anderson (6.692-second at 207.78 mph) and Alex Laughlin (6.661, 206.04) defeated Joey Grose (6.712, 205.16) and Steve Graham (6.697, 206.51)
R2: Anderson (6.689, 207.88) and Jason Line (6.680, 207.02) def. Laughlin (6.6984, 205.88) and Erica Enders (7.071, 204.05)
R3: Bo Butner (.030-second reaction time, 6.677, 206.67) def. runner-up Matt Hartford (.052, 6.667, 206.51), Line (.054, 6.674, 206.99), and Anderson (.076, 6.655, 207.94)

JASON LINE
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Points position following event: No. 4
Line’s results:
R1: Jason Line (6.672-second at 206.83 mph) and Erica Enders (6.651, 205.72) defeated Jeg Coughlin (6.849, 171.25) and Alan Prusiensky (6.721, 203.86)
R2: Line (6.680, 207.02) and Greg Anderson (6.689, 207.88) def. Laughlin (6.6984, 205.88) and Erica Enders (7.071, 204.05)
R3: Bo Butner (.030-second reaction time, 6.677, 206.67) def. runner-up Matt Hartford (.052, 6.667, 206.51), Line (.054, 6.674, 206.99), and Anderson (.076, 6.655, 207.94)

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

*Find detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings
(after Las Vegas DENSO NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, race 4 of 18)

1. Bo Butner (3), 425
2. Alex Laughlin, 285
3. Matt Hartford, 284
4. Jason Line, 261
5. Erica Enders, 239
6. Jeg Coughlin (1), 225
7. Rodger Brogdon, 220
8. Greg Anderson, 208
9. Deric Kramer, 199
10. Chris McGaha, 189

 

Butner scores second No. 1 of season, looking for double-up at NHRA Vegas Four-Wide

GatornationalsLAS VEGAS (April 6, 2019) – Bo Butner’s KB Racing-powered Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro has taken a liking to the racing surface at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and proved it by traveling swiftly and consistently down the quarter-mile to land its pilot his second No. 1 of the season. Butner’s possession of the pole at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals marks his 10th time to lead the pack as a Pro Stock driver.

“Our crew has worked so hard,” said points leader Butner, who clocked a best time of 6.648-second at 206.67 mph. He will race Jeff Isbell, along with KB Racing teammates Deric Kramer and Fernando Cuadra, in the first quad on Sunday.

“Our Jim Butner Auto Group Chevy Camaro is a good car, and it’s been a good car since I first sat in it. We’re very fortunate to have the KB Racing team, Summit Racing, Jim Butner Auto Group, DENSO, and of course Speed Dawg supporting us. We’re just out here having fun, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why we have success like this. We enjoy it so much.

“We have a good racecar and went down the track four times in qualifying. Tomorrow, we’ll only have to go three to win the race. I’m very happy and can’t wait.”

Butner was also the No. 1 qualifier in Super Stock driving Jim and Frank Grossi’s GT/AA ’06 Pontiac Sunfire. On Saturday, he socked away wins in the first and second round of Super Stock, which means that he’ll be racing for two trophies on Sunday.

Notably, Butner was a double-up winner in 2012 when he won both Stock Eliminator and Comp in Las Vegas.

“It would be really awesome to double up this weekend [in Super Stock and Pro Stock]. It would be awesome for Frank and Jim Grossi. It would just be great to win here in Super Stock, period. To double up would be kind of like in Gainesville [two weeks ago], when Randi Lyn [Shipp, fiancée and Stock Eliminator racer] and I both won. It’s already been an unbelievable start to the season, and we’re just blessed.”

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KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, driver of the red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, made a terrific move in the fourth and final qualifying session. Coming into the round, he was No. 7 in the lineup, but when he powered his way to a 6.664, 206.92, he launched all the way up to the No. 3 position. Anderson’s first-round quad will include Joey Grose, Alex Laughlin, and Steve Graham.

“That was certainly an improvement, but we aren’t getting to the 60-foot timer like we want to yet,” said Anderson, an eight-time Vegas winner. “That will be a focus for us on Sunday. But yes, we’re definitely pleased to see the red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro improve over the course of qualifying. It’ll be interesting tomorrow because it’s going to be a whole new challenge because it looks like it’ll be a hot, greasy racetrack – the first of 2019. When that happens, all bets are off, baby.

“We’ll see tomorrow, who best can handle that challenge. Whoever can manage that will be the one that wins, and we want nothing more than to put this Summit Racing Chevy in the winner’s circle. We’ve got those DENSO spark plugs under the hood, and to win the DENSO Four-Wide Nationals would sure mean a lot to us.”

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Jason Line, driver of the silver Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, settled into the No. 10 qualifying position with a best time of 6.679, 206.10. His quad will include Jeg Coughlin Jr., Alan Prusiensky, and Erica Enders.

“Four-wide racing is always a challenge, so tomorrow should be interesting,” said Line, who comes into raceday with two wins in six final rounds at The Strip. “My silver Summit Racing Chevy wasn’t quite as fast as we had hoped, but we made some changes before the last session and we feel like we’re on the right track. Tomorrow’s hot racetrack will definitely be a factor, but KB Racing has had some good fortune both in Las Vegas and in four-wide racing. We’ll see how it works out tomorrow, but our goal is always the same. We want to win the race.”

Pro eliminations at the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will begin on Saturday beginning at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

BO BUTNER
Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
Qualifying position: No. 1
Butner’s results:
Q1: 6.677-second at 205.63 mph (No. 6)
Q2: 6.648, 206.67 (No. 1, +3 bonus points)
Q3: 6.655, 207.40 (No. 1, +3 bonus points)
Q4: 6.694, 205.51 (No. 1)

GREG ANDERSON
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Qualifying position: No. 3
Anderson’s results:
Q1: 19.523-second at 45.66 mph (No. 14)
Q2: 6.688, 205.63 (No. 10)
Q3: 6.670, 205.63 (No. 7)
Q4: 6.664, 206.92 (No. 3, +2 bonus points)

JASON LINE
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Qualifying position: No. 10
Line’s results:
Q1: 6.706-second at 205.94 mph (No. 8)
Q2: 6.681, 205.76 (No. 8)
Q3: 6.687, 206.13 (No. 10)
Q4: 6.679, 206.10 (No. 10)

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, April 7
9:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
11:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
Noon – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Sunday – 11:30 AM-12:30 PM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 5:30-8:30 PM ET / FS1

Watch this video for more information regarding NHRA Four-Wide racing: http://bit.ly/2ViAh7n

*Find detailed results throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings
(after Las Vegas DENSO NHRA Four-Wide Nationals qualifying, race 4 of 18)

1. Bo Butner (2), 345
2. Alex Laughlin, 265
3. Jeg Coughlin, 225
4. Matt Hartford, 224
5. Jason Line, 221
6. Rodger Brogdon, 220
7. Erica Enders, 219
8. Deric Kramer, 199
9. Chris McGaha, 169
10. Greg Anderson, 168

Wilkerson and Team LRS pick up first No. 1 since 2017 with NHRA Vegas pole

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LAS VEGAS (April 6, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson’s most recent low qualifier award was in Bristol in 2017, but on Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he reset the dial by securing the pole at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. His best time of 3.895-second at 323.50 mph recorded in the second session on Friday did the trick.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been No. 1 qualifier, but I kind of pull that out of my hat sometimes. It might take me a year or two, but I can get it done,” said Wilkerson with a wink. “In all seriousness, I’m really proud of how our LRS Ford Mustang runs. We qualified second in Gainesville and third the race before that in Phoenix. We’ve been knocking on the door.

“This is an exciting year for us, because it’s our 20th year with Levi, Ray and Shoup as our main sponsor. You always want to do well, but it’s really neat to be able to perform like this in such a special year.”

Wilkerson, who now has 20 No. 1 qualifier awards as a nitro Funny Car driver, gives much of the credit for his most recent coup to some off-season revamping that he and chassis builder Murf McKinney collaborated on.

“We front-halved the car last year; Murf and I changed it a little bit, and it’s really responding,” he explained. “We made some real subtle changes, and now it’s got good 60-foot times and is picking up well between the 330 and 660 clocks. I’m pretty proud of it.

“We need to figure out how to keep the monster calmed down a little bit, but I’m excited. But I think tomorrow the key is going to be who is consistent. The sun will be the great equalizer, and it’ll be interesting all day.”

Wilkerson will race Jeff Diehl, Shawn Langdon, and Robert Hight in the first quad on Sunday. Eliminations for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will begin at noon Pacific Time at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

TIM WILKERSON
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Provisional qualifying position: No. 1
Wilkerson’s results:
Q1: 4.065-second at 289.51 mph (No. 12)
Q2: 3.895, 323.50 (No. 1, +3 bonus points)
Q3: 4.118, 267.00
Q4: 4.708, 172.01

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, April 7
9:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
11:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
Noon – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Sunday – 11:30 AM-12:30 PM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 5:30-8:30 PM ET / FS1

Watch this video for more information regarding NHRA Four-Wide racing: http://bit.ly/2ViAh7n

*Find detailed results throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after qualifying for the NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals, race 4 of 24)

1. Robert Hight (2), 363
2. Jack Beckman, 257
3. Matt Hagan (1), 251
4. John Force, 238
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 223
6. Tim Wilkerson, 206
7. J.R. Todd, 200
8. Bob Tasca III, 198
9. Ron Capps, 185
10. Cruz Pedregon, 179

Wilkerson powers to provisional pole on first day of NHRA Vegas Four-Wide qualifying

1914-001558

photo credit: Auto Imagery

LAS VEGAS (April 5, 2019) – The first day of Las Vegas qualifying was a win for Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang team. Wilkerson wheeled his way to the top spot at the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals with a bold 3.895-second pass at 323.50 mph that came along with three bonus qualifying points and a good boost of spirits for the surging group.

“I’ve been really critical of the track prep this year, and I just want to tell these guys how great of a job they did,” said Wilkerson, referring to NHRA and the Safety Safari, as well as The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway director of drag racing operations Jeff Foster and his crew.

“On that first run, I decided I was just going to try to go down through there, and the car was just a duck. It was so slow, it was unbelievable,” continued Wilkerson, who clocked a meager 4.065, 289.51 in the first round of qualifying that set him 12th in the lineup.

“We came back and looked at what we did wrong, and we tuned it up. Richard [Hartman, co-crew chief] said, how fast do you think it will go? I said, it’ll go 3.90. He said, you think there’s a 3.90 out there? I said, well, we’re about to find out. Anyway, we’re pretty proud of the thing.”

Wilkerson’s most recent No. 1 was in 2017 in Bristol, and he is in pursuit of the 20th pole of his nitro Funny Career. Two weeks ago in Gainesville, Wilkerson was the No. 2 qualifier and had the horsepower to reach the final round.

“I’m pretty comfortable based on last race,” said Wilkerson. “Our LRS Ford Mustang is a good car that’s been going down the track consistently, and it’s pretty fast. Hopefully, with any luck, I can keep from messing that up.”

Qualifying for the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will continue on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

TIM WILKERSON
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Provisional qualifying position: No. 1
Wilkerson’s results:
Q1: 4.065-second at 289.51 mph (No. 12)
Q2: 3.895, 323.50 (No. 1, +3 bonus points)
Q3: to be run Saturday
Q4: to be run Saturday

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Saturday, April 6
8:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
12:30 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 3
3:00 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 4

Sunday, April 7
9:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
11:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
Noon – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Sunday – 11:30-12:30 AM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 5:30-8:30 PM ET / FS1

Watch this video for more information regarding NHRA Four-Wide racing: http://bit.ly/2ViAh7n

*Find detailed results throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after the NHRA Gatornationals, race 3 of 24)

1. Robert Hight (2), 330
2. Jack Beckman, 225
3. Matt Hagan (1), 215
4. John Force, 200
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 191
6. Tim Wilkerson, 165
7. Bob Tasca III, 163
8. J.R. Todd, 159
9. Ron Capps, 146
10. Shawn Langdon, 143

Another top qualifying effort for Butner, this time on Friday at NHRA Vegas

1914-004593

photo credit: Auto Imagery

LAS VEGAS (April 5, 2019) – KB Racing-powered Bo Butner, the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion, entered the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas as the points leader. The driver who won the last race on the tour is already standing out again in his powerful Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro as he nabbed the provisional pole on Friday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After finishing eighth in the Pro Stock points in 2018, Butner came out swinging and won the season-opener in Pomona. He was No. 1 qualifier at the next race (Phoenix), and then won again two weeks ago at the 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville.

“We’ve always kind of had a good car, it’s just now coming around to our turn,” said Butner, who recorded a 6.648-second pass at 206.67 mph for the leading position on the first day of qualifying. “That’s how drag racing is – ups and downs.”

Butner, an avid Sportsman racer, is also the No. 1 qualifier in Super Stock driving the GT/AA ’06 Pontiac Sunfire owned by veteran competitor Jim Grossi.

“Jim isn’t feeling really well, so he called and asked me to drive his car. I love doing that for these old-school Super Stock racers; it’s really something I enjoy,” explained Butner, who has a total of five wins in Las Vegas in 10 final rounds across four categories. His Sportsman wins at The Strip have come in Comp and Stock Eliminator, including a double-up in both categories in 2012.

“We’ve been very, very fortunate here,” he continued. “This is the coolest town, and the track is amazing. We owe that to [The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Director of Drag Racing Operations] Jeff Foster. He runs this place, and he knows how to make racers happy. I don’t know, Vegas has always been good to us.

“I’m happy with my team, I’m happy with my car. I think it’s time to go race.”

Qualifying for the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will continue on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

BO BUTNER
Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
Provisional qualifying position: No. 1
Butner’s results:
Q1: 6.677-second at 205.63 mph (No. 6)
Q2: 6.648, 206.67 (No. 1, +3 bonus points)
Q3: to be run Saturday
Q4: to be run Saturday

GREG ANDERSON
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Provisional qualifying position: No. 10
Anderson’s results:
Q1: 19.523-second at 45.66 mph (No. 14)
Q2: 6.688, 205.63 (No. 10)
Q3: to be run Saturday
Q4: to be run Saturday

JASON LINE
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Provisional qualifying position: No. 8
Line’s results:
Q1: 6.706-second at 205.94 mph (No. 8)
Q2: 6.681, 205.76 (No. 8)
Q3: to be run Saturday
Q4: to be run Saturday

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Saturday, April 6
8:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
12:30 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 3
3:00 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 4

Sunday, April 7
9:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
11:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
Noon – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Sunday – 11:30-12:30 AM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 5:30-8:30 PM ET / FS1

Watch this video for more information regarding NHRA Four-Wide racing: http://bit.ly/2ViAh7n

*Find detailed results throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com*

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings
(after the NHRA Gatornationals, race 3 of 18)

1. Bo Butner (2), 301
2. Alex Laughlin, 229
3. Jason Line, 189
4. Erica Enders, 186
5. Matt Hartford, 185
6. Rodger Brogdon, 184
7. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (1), 180
8. Deric Kramer, 166
9. Kenny Delco, 141
10. Chris McGaha, 137
11. Greg Anderson, 130

Tim Wilkerson Racing NHRA Las Vegas Pre-Race Package

Gatornationals

Tim Wilkerson
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Car No.: FC5

Storylines and notes:
• Tim Wilkerson says that his 2008 victory over Ashley Force Hood at the spring race in Las Vegas is one of his favorites out of 20 nitro Funny Car wins
• The DENSO NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will be the 497th race of Wilkerson’s career as a nitro Funny Car driver. Race 500 will be the event in Atlanta next month.
• In regard to previous four-wide competition, Wilkerson won the 2016 four-wide race at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte
• Wilkerson, the driver, tuner, and team owner of the LRS Ford Funny Car, is an independent driver and the only single-car team in the category to finish in the top 10 in 2018
• The early portion of Wilkerson’s career included a successful run as a Top Alcohol Funny Car driver. He earned eight division trophies, one national event win, and was the Division 3 Top Alcohol Funny Car champ in both 1994 and 1995 in the Lucas Oil Series before stepping up to the Pro ranks in Gainesville in 1996.

Quotes:
“Depending on how the lanes are, whether or not all four of them are equally as good, we could make a good show for the fans. We had a lot of people there at the four-wide race last year, and it’s a blast getting to entertain a crowd like that.

“We had a good race in Gainesville a couple of weeks ago, the guys on our crew are getting used to going rounds, and I was pretty happy with my driving and all that. I repositioned myself in the car before that race, and I feel a little bit better sitting in it, so I’m optimistic. You don’t really know how it’s going to go, but like I said, if all four lanes are good, I think we’ll have a good time.

“We won the four-wide race in Charlotte a few years back, and we were the fastest car every run. I think lane choice is what won that race for us, so there’s a good chance it’ll be the same deal this weekend in Vegas. We have the ability to be the fastest car every run with this Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, so I’ll shallow up every run and see if I can stay away from running Robert Hight this time around. He was a thorn in our side in Gainesville, and we don’t want any more of that.”

Wilkerson in Las Vegas
1 win in 1 Las Vegas final
Won LV1 2008 (defeated Ashley Force Hood)
Last year at this event: Qualified No. 10, first round
At the fall race here in 2018: Qualified No. 8, first round

Wilkerson’s Career Stats
(through 2019 NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville)
No. 6 in nitro Funny Car standings
496 races
20 wins
23 runner-up finishes
43 nitro Funny Car final rounds
19 No. 1 qualifier awards
Career best e.t.: 3.844 (2017 Phoenix)
Career best speed: 333.74 (2016 Topeka)

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after the NHRA Gatornationals, race 3 of 24)

1. Robert Hight (2), 330
2. Jack Beckman, 225
3. Matt Hagan, 215
4. John Force (1), 200
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 191
6. Tim Wilkerson, 165
7. Bob Tasca III, 163
8. J.R. Todd, 159
9. Ron Capps, 146
10. Shawn Langdon, 143

Race Info
DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

Run Schedule (all times local)
Friday, April 5
8:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman qualifying
12:30 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 1
3:00 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 2

Saturday, April 6
8:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
12:30 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 3
3:00 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro qualifying session 4

Sunday, April 7
9:00 a.m. – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations
11:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
Noon – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin
eliminations for all categories continue

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Friday – 9:30 PM-11 PM ET / FS1
Qualifying / Sunday – 11:30-12:30 AM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 5:30-8:30 PM ET / FS1

Watch this video for more information regarding NHRA Four-Wide racing: Alan Reinhart Explains NHRA Four-Wide Racing

*find detailed results throughout the weekend at Drag Race Central*