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