CHARLOTTE, NC (May 16, 2021) — Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Shelby Mustang felt like they had a race car and tune up to go rounds on Sunday at the 11th NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. The winner of the 2016 Four-Wide Nationals was confident his qualifying performance positioned him for a long day at the track today.
During the three qualifying sessions leading up to race day Wilkerson was right in the mix with a tough Funny Car field. On Friday night his Ford Mustang Funny Car struggled like the rest of the field on a cool and green race track but he bounced back with a strong run to open up qualifying on Saturday. The Levi, Ray & Shoup Summit Racing Mustang made the third quickest run of the session landing in the No. 4 qualifying spot and solidly positioning itself in the show.
“That first run on Saturday showed what we are used to seeing from this race car,” said Wilkerson. “We have a strong tune-up that will run quick with the rest of the guys. I was feeling good after that run and I knew we could be competitive with elapsed times like that.”
The team closed out qualifying with 4.105 second pass and slipped back one spot in the qualifying order heading into Sunday as the No. 5 Funny Car. Wilkerson would start his pursuit of his second Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals win racing against No. 4 J.R. Todd, No. 12 Jim Campbell and No. 13 Terry Haddock.
In the opening round Wilkerson was in lane two and right in front of him matt Hagan advanced to the second round with a 3.93 second pass. Before the first round the team examined all the lanes and felt good about their lane selection. When the Mustang Funny Car took off Wilkerson immediately knew it was in trouble. The Goodyear slicks overpowered the track and the veteran driver tried to give his 11,000 horsepower race car a quick feathering of the throttle to get it to hook back up but it was too late.
“I don’t know why the car did what it did,” said Wilkerson. “It is kind of irritating. I am going through the diagnostics now. It felt like when we launched we went right over a patch of ice. You can look at the run on the computer and you see a lot of tire chatter. All out other runs were nice and smooth. We are going to look at a couple things and see if we can figure this out. We have a good race car. We looked at how we ran on Saturday and we felt really confident. We felt that if it just went down the track we would go on to the next round. It didn’t go down the track. (Car chief) Richard (Hartman) really liked that lane and (Matt) Hagan ran 3.93 seconds right in front of us. I felt really good that we were going to make a good run and go on to the second round.”
The team will head to Houston in seventh place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings.
Q1: 8.615 sec, 51.30 mph; Qual. 13
Q2: 3.952 sec, 320.05 mph; Qual. 4
Q3: 4.105 sec, 249.12 mph; Qual. 5
Bonus Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q2)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Tim Wilkerson 5 .123 4.397 220.37
J.R. Todd 4 .063 3.952 325.53 (W)
Terry Haddock 13 .133 4.095 305.63 (W)
Jim Campbell 12 .089 4.194 303.16
Camping World Funny Car Top Ten
1. Bob Tasca III, 360
2. J.R. Todd, 343
3. John Force, 329
4. Matt Hagan, 259
5. Ron Capps, 235
6. Alexis DeJoria, 228
7. Tim Wilkerson, 218
8. Cruz Pedregon, 216
9. Robert Hight, 215
10. Blake Alexander, 150