Wilkerson eager to get after it on Sunday at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals

The 22nd annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals
photo credit: Auto Imagery

JOLIET, Ill. (June 1, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson is right at home this weekend in his 40th anniversary Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang. The veteran nitro Funny Car pilot and his team are based in Springfield, Ill., just 143 miles down the road from Route 66 Raceway, where qualifying for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals has just concluded. The hometown driver is qualified in the No. 9 position and gearing up for a first-round meeting with Cruz Pedregon.

Wilkerson’s first pass of the weekend was a strong 3.983-second blast down the drag strip that allowed the team to gather data, and they concluded qualifying on an even better 3.940, 327.11 in front of loads of supporters from Levi, Ray and Shoup, with whom they have enjoyed a 20-year partnership.

A potential wrench in the plan for Sunday could be decidedly cooler weather. Until the final session of qualifying, a blanket of warm air lay atop a sunbaked racing surface. The final session was delayed as a storm passed through, pushing Funny Car passes to run under the lights and in cooler conditions that could be of use for a Sunday tune-up.

“It’ll be really strange tomorrow,” said Wilkerson. “We’ll have a lot of power, and if the track is as good as it was tonight – you saw the guys that did it correctly made some nice runs. But we’ll see. I think I have something for them.

“Our Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang worked good, and our new Ford Mustang body worked good, and I think all that’s going to be okay. We made a good run that last session, and it was almost really good. I’m on it. I’m ready for it tomorrow.”

Tim Wilkerson
Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang
Q1: 3.983-second at 318.09 mph (No. 7)
Q2: 5.772, 143.76 (No. 9)
Q3: 4.593, 182.13 (No. 9)
Q4: 3.940, 327.11 (No. 9)

Round one opponent: Cruz Pedregon

2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after Route 66 NHRA Nationals qualifying, race 9 of 18)

1. Robert Hight (3), 758
2. J.R. Todd (1), 593
3. Ron Capps (2), 590
4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 570
5. John Force, 556
6. Matt Hagan (1), 539
7. Jack Beckman, 513
8. Tim Wilkerson, 495
9. Shawn Langdon (1), 440
10. Bob Tasca III, 401

Race Info
Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Route 66 Raceway
Chicago (Joliet), Illinois
May 30-June 2, 2019

Route 66 Raceway Track Records
Pro Stock
Drew Skillman, 6.528 (2015); Greg Anderson, 211.83 (2015)
Funny Car
Robert Hight, 3.851 (2017); Hight, 334.73 (2017)
Top Fuel
Steve Torrence, 3.677 (2018); Torrence, 333.58 (2018)
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Matt Smith, 6.784 (2017); Hector Arana Jr., 200.89 (2018)

Run Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, June 2
8:30 a.m. – Lucas Oil Sportsman eliminations continue
10:00 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies
11:00 a.m. – Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro eliminations begin

#NHRAonFOX Television Schedule (all times ET)
Qualifying / Sunday – 11:30 AM-12:30 PM ET / FS1
Finals / Sunday – 5:30-8:30 PM ET / FS1

(Sportsman) Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Television Schedule
Finals / Thursday, June 13 – 8:30-9:30 PM ET / FS2

**Full results posted at DragRaceCentral.com**

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