Daniel Wilkerson warmed up for this weekend’s Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals behind the wheel of his 8-second Bantam altered at a local bracket race, and now he’s primed to slide back into the seat of the second Tim Wilkerson Racing Ford Mustang nitro Funny Car.
“A few weeks ago, before Tim left for the U.S. Nationals, we got to go race,” said the younger Wilkerson, who won the NHRA Division 3 Top Alcohol Funny Car championship in 2007. “Every year, I say I’m going to go to at least 15 bracket races, and every year I end up going to one or two. It makes me sad. This year, the way the schedule has been, we’ve actually been out six or seven times. We haven’t done that since I was 16.”
Daniel thinks his recent experience could come in handy this weekend and says that “the more looks you get at a tree, the better.” In the bracket car, which is basically a Funny Car without a body, he sits in the middle and leaves off the top bulb – just like in the nitro car.
The second-generation drag racer isn’t seen all that often in the nitro Funny Car ranks. In fact, this weekend’s event at World Wide Technology Raceway is just the 13th of his career. His most recent NHRA race was Indy 1, NHRA’s delayed return to racing in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Daniel qualified for the event, just as he has for each race he has entered.
“I haven’t been to races this close together since 2011,” he said. “It’s usually about a year between runs, so I’m excited. I get to do this so infrequently. It’s always going to be way too fast and way too cool.”
The younger Wilkerson is qualified in the No. 4 position and will square off with Bob Tasca III in round one.