DINWIDDIE, Va. (May 19, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson and his devoted nitro Funny Car crew had high hopes heading into Sunday at the NHRA Virginia Nationals. They had a stunning new paint job on their brand-new Ford Mustang, and they sincerely wanted to put their new car in the winner’s circle in its debut. It wasn’t meant to be this time around, but Wilkerson and his Illinois-based crew are eager to jump on over to Chicago in two weeks and get the job done.
Piloting the 40th anniversary Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang, Wilkerson qualified in the No. 12 position and drew Shawn Langdon as his first-round opponent.
Sunday dawned blazing hot, the hottest day of the NHRA season so far, and demanded that crew chiefs be well on their game. Wilkerson, who tunes and drives the LRS Mustang, was up to the task. He laid down a 4.054-second pass at 307.02 – the best run in that lane for the round – but it simply wasn’t enough. His opponent skirted ahead for a 4.039, 310.27 win.
“It was cruising right along there, and we were the fastest guy in that lane, but some days this is our forte,” said Wilkerson, who has experienced the ache of such a loss on several recent occasions. “That’s why qualifying is so important; if you qualify well, you usually don’t have to race a guy like that without lane choice. But anyway, we made a nice run, it just got down there to about 700 feet and just barely started spinning the tires. I tried to save it, but it dropped a couple of holes at the same time.
“We’re looking forward to Chicago, and we’re excited to have this new Ford Mustang. I’m optimistic with what we’re learning.”
The next stop on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour will be race 9 of 24, the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, May 30-June 2.
Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang
R1: Shawn Langdon (4.039-second at 310.27 mph) defeated Tim Wilkerson (4.054, 307.02)
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after NHRA Virginia Nationals qualifying, race 8 of 24)
1. Robert Hight (3), 717
2. J.R. Todd (1), 556
3. Ron Capps (2), 548
4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 527
5. John Force, 524
6. Matt Hagan (1), 506
7. Jack Beckman, 477
8. Tim Wilkerson, 463
9. Shawn Langdon (1), 404
10. Bob Tasca III, 369
**Full results posted at DragRaceCentral.com**