JOLIET, Ill. (June 2, 2019) – The Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang Funny Car team wanted a win on Sunday at Route 66 Raceway, but the opportunity to celebrate a victory with their family and friends at their home track slipped through their fingers in the first round. Despite the early exit and some slight damage to their Ford Mustang, Tim Wilkerson and his crew are keeping their heads held high as they head to the next event strong in their top 10 position.
Wilkerson and his new Ford Mustang Funny Car body are still getting to know one another, and in qualifying, they played nice in two of the four sessions. The venerable nitro pilot was prepared to take on Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, and he was on a good pass until the tires broke loose and his Funny Car made contact with the wall. Although the clocks recorded his time at 4.052, 256.45 mph, the run was disqualified because it was out of bounds.
“It was really running good there, and it was going to go either a 3.93 or 3.94,” said Wilkerson, who remains No. 8 in the NHRA Mello Yello Series Funny Car standings despite the early exit.
Wilkerson took delivery of the 40th anniversary Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang a few weeks ago and debuted the sleek Funny Car at the most recent event on the NHRA tour, the Virginia Nationals in Richmond.
“This LRS Mustang is fast, we just did a bad job, and the thing came loose out there about 600 feet,” he continued, explaining the pass that went wrong on Sunday in Chicago. “I thought I had it gathered up, but it started sliding. I lifted off the gas pedal, but it just kept sliding its way over and knocked the corner panel out of it. I think it’s fixable, but we won’t have this car back before Topeka, and maybe even not until after Bristol. We’ll see how things go there, but we have one of our older Ford Mustang bodies that we’ll have for next week. It’s aggravating, but we’ll get it worked out.”
The next event on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, June 7-9.
Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang
R1: Cruz Pedregon 4.016-second at 321.19 mph defeated Tim Wilkerson, DQ
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after Route 66 NHRA Nationals, race 9 of 18)
1. Robert Hight (3), 818
2. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1), 650
3. Ron Capps (2), 610
4. John Force, 596
5. J.R. Todd (1), 593
6. Matt Hagan (1), 559
7. Jack Beckman, 553
8. Tim Wilkerson, 495
9. Shawn Langdon (1), 435
10. Bob Tasca III, 401
**Full results posted at DragRaceCentral.com**