CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 24, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang put up two very good passes in qualifying for the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals. On Sunday, a fluke on the starting line altered the outcome of the day for Team LRS, but Wilkerson and company leave Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park eager to get back to business in Gainesville in three weeks.
With just two qualifying sessions allotted due to weather, Wilkerson clocked a bold 3.895-second pass at 324.44 mph in early session on Saturday, then followed up with an even better 3.885, 325.97 in the final qualifying round.
On Sunday, starting from the No. 3 position and in possession of three bonus points as one of the top cars in both qualifying rounds, Wilkerson came up to the starting line with Jack Beckman in the other lane. Wilk knew he had a powerful and capable racecar, but trouble at the starting line created a situation from which he could not recover.
“I got up there and couldn’t see the tree. I didn’t see Jack turn his top bulb on, and I didn’t see me turn both bulbs on,” said Wilkerson. “I saw his second bulb get brighter, so I went to bump in and put it on the high side. When I did, the tree came down. I didn’t even know I was in. I didn’t have my foot off the clutch right and stage like normal, and that affected the whole run.”
Beckman defeated Wilkerson, 3.901-second at 327.03 mph to 4.736 to 168.41. Wilkerson believes that a new helmet visor in a slightly different shade could have been the culprit.
“Yesterday all day I had my clear visor on,” he said. “It worked fine with this new helmet. But today I had on a yellow visor, and it’s the first time I tried this one. I’ll have to try it somewhere else in qualifying sometime and see if that really is the problem.”
Even still, Wilkerson was elevated by the performance of the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang in qualifying. His pair of 3.8-second passes were among the best, and he looks to carry that momentum into Gainesville in just a few weeks.
“We have a good car,” said Wilkerson. “We’re just fighting a few things. But we’ve got plenty of power, the car goes nice and straight, and I’m driving it okay. All of that is really good, so we’ll see how it plays out in Gainesville.”
LEVI, RAY AND SHOUP FORD MUSTANG
R1: Jack Beckman defeated Tim Wilkerson, 3.901-second at 327.03 mph to 4.736 to 168.41
#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Nitro Finals / Sunday – 6-8 PM ET / FS1
Pro Stock Finals / Tuesday, February 26 – 9-10 PM ET / FS1
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