CONCORD, North Carolina (April 27, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson holds a special place in his heart for zMAX Dragway and their annual four-wide drag racing spectacular. The driver of the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang is one of just seven nitro Funny Car racers to have won the challenging event held at the esteemed facility just outside of Charlotte, and he’ll be looking for trophy No. 2 on Sunday at the NGK Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals.
Qualifying was not exactly smooth sailing for Wilk and his nitro cohorts as Friday’s night session was pushed well into the late evening after an angry weather system – rain and hail storms followed by a tremendous amount of wind and pollen – put a damper on the activities.
The first session of Funny Car was initiated but then cut short after just three cars made passes. When the weather was a bit friendlier, qualifying continued, but the surface and conditions were quite tricky and unresponsive to what the crew chiefs had to offer.
“NHRA did the best job they could, but as you could see by the amount of cars going down the track, it wasn’t indicative of anything we know how to do,” said Wilkerson, who mustered a 7.520-second at 95.51 mph pass that was actually good for the No. 6 spot.
On Saturday afternoon, conditions were more favorable. Wilkerson and his team prepared their LRS Mustang with fervor but overpowered the racetrack, stumbling to a 4.412, 234.21 that moved them down to 11th in the line-up. Going into the last round of qualifying, the team had a choice.
“The track was fine, we just tried a little too hard,” said Wilkerson.
“So, after I came back, looked at the data, and saw where it spun the tires on the track, we drug it back a little bit. Right before we made the run, I said to Richard [Hartman, Team LRS], ‘do we want to try to go 3.90 or 3.91, or do we want to just get down the track so we have lane choice?’ He said, ‘let’s just get down the track.’ That’s how I had it, so that’s how I left it. It responded really well.”
Wilkerson’s final qualifying pass resulted in a 3.960 at 320.97, and he moved up to No. 7 in the qualifying order.
“It was a good run. I was happy with what it did there. We have something for them tomorrow,” said Wilkerson.
The amiable driver, tuner, and team owner will come to the starting line in the first round for a match that will include Jack Beckman, Dave Richards, and Ron Capps.
“That’s a tough quad,” said Wilkerson as he eyed the ladder with consternation.
Behind him, Wilkerson’s wife and greatest supporter, Krista, chimed in, “But they’re all tough.”
“That’s true,” he agreed. “Anyway, anyone can win these things, so we really just need to do a good job and go down the track. We’ll make the thing go, and hopefully get out of first round. We’d like to keep up our stellar four-wide record.”
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: No. 7
Q1: no run – qualifying canceled due to weather
Q2: 7.520-second at 95.51 mph (No. 6)
Q3: 4.412, 234.21 (No. 11)
Q4: 3.960, 320.97 (No. 7)
First round quad: Tim Wilkerson, Jack Beckman, Dave Richards, Ron Capps
NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
zMAX Dragway, Concord, North Carolina
April 26-28, 2019
Run Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, April 28
11:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
12:00 p.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin,
eliminations for all categories continue
#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Saturday – 11 PM-12 AM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 6-9 PM ET / FS1
Lucas Oil Sportsman Show / Thursday, May 9 – 9-10 PM ET / FS2
*Find detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com*