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

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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

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