COMMERCE, Ga. (May 4, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson is competing in the 500th nitro Funny Car race of his career this weekend, and he’d like nothing more than to celebrate the milestone with a win at the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Starting from the No. 4 position, Wilkerson will race Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations as he chases a second Atlanta Dragway trophy.
Qualifying was a beast for competitors, across the board in the Peach State. Rain pushed the final session late into the evening on Friday – with the upside being some wicked header flames against the black of night – and on Saturday, a deluge stamped out the final session.
Although Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup team were able to amass a nice collection of data, it might not come into play on Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s going to matter,” said Wilkerson, who won in Atlanta in 2015. “It’ll be a whole different racetrack with whole different air.”
Wilkerson posted qualifying times of 4.383-second at 213.10 mph, 3.959, 324.83, and 3.988, 322.11. Sweetening his efforts were bonus points awarded in sessions two and three as one of the top cars in each round.
“I don’t know if we know anything more than any of the other guys,” he said. “We’re just doing what we do, and it’s kind of working out right now. It could easily change tomorrow, but let’s hope not. Our Ford Mustang is good; it’s showing us that. It bobbled a hole first run, and then it got out of the groove when it smoked the tires. It would have made three good runs otherwise.
“We tried to go faster that last run, but it just didn’t have enough beans. The air is really weird, and that’s what I’m afraid of for tomorrow – we’ll get on the other side of this air, and it’s going to be ugly. But hopefully, we can keep our tune-up mind going in the right direction.”
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Car No.: FC5
Qualifying position: No. 7
Q1: 4.383-second at 213.10 mph (No. 5)
Q2: 3.959, 324.83 (No. 3, +1 bonus point)
Q3: 3.988, 322.11 (No. 4, +1 bonus point)
First-round opponent: Cruz Pedregon
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after qualifying for the NHRA Southern Nationals, race 7 of 24)
1. Robert Hight (3), 623
2. Matt Hagan (1), 472
3. John Force, 450
4. J.R. Todd (1), 436
5. Jack Beckman, 425
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 405
7. Tim Wilkerson, 376
8. Shawn Langdon (1), 375
9. Ron Capps, 350
10. Bob Tasca III, 318
39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals
Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Georgia
May 3-5, 2019
Run Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, May 5
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 – 11:30 AM-12:30 PM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 6-9 PM ET / FS1
**Full results at DragRaceCentral.com**