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Wilkerson in the Hunt for First Championship as NHRA’s Countdown Begins

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (September 13, 2017) – This weekend, illustrious zMAX Dragway will host the first race of six in NHRA’s 2017 Countdown to the Championship. The playoffs will begin with the 10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at Bruton Smith’s lauded facility located just outside of Charlotte. There, Tim Wilkerson will begin his charge for the series title driving his sleek Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car.

Wilkerson, of Springfield, Ill., has been a devout nitro enthusiast for over two decades, and he’s come close, but the amiable driver/tuner/team owner has yet to seal the deal on a championship. His best finish to date was in 2008, when he ended the year No. 2 in the nation.

“We have a good car right now going into the Countdown, and boy, that could make it interesting,” said Wilkerson, who raced to the semifinals at the historic U.S. Nationals two weeks ago in Indianapolis to secure his position as the No. 9 seed in the chase. “My car was leaving the starting line well every run in Indy, and my guys did a real good job out there. I’ve kept them busy since then. We’ve had a lot of work to do to get ready for these next six races, but we’re ready. Our car seems to like Charlotte, and that’s always a good thing.”

Wilk won the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in 2016, and he was No. 1 qualifier at the fall race in 2012.

So far this year, he has reached two final rounds (Atlanta and Sonoma), and he earned a start from the pole in Bristol.

“Right now, we’re planning to do what we’ve always done, and that’s go one race at a time,” said Wilkerson. “We’ve got six races, and we’ll go and win as many rounds if we can. Boy, there are a ton of good cars out there, and you won’t have any easy draws – but if we can win two or three rounds a weekend, we’ll have a pretty good chance.”

Tim Wilkerson
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang
Car No.: FC9

Wilkerson in Charlotte
1 win in 1 final round
Won 2016 – 4-Wide race (Cruz Pedregon)
No. 1 qualifier at fall race in 2012

Last year: Qualified No. 6, lost in second round to John Force

Updated Career Stats heading into the Carolina Nationals
(Race 19 of 24 and the first race of six in the 2017 Countdown to the Championship)
No. 9 in Funny Car standings
463 races
775 rounds
20 wins
19 runner-up finishes
39 overall final rounds
19 No. 1 qualifier awards
Career best e.t.: 3.844 (2017 Phoenix)
Career best speed: 333.74 (2016 Topeka)

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Funny Car Standings
(after Brainerd, race 17 of 24)
1. Ron Capps, 2100
2. Robert Hight, 2080
3. Matt Hagan, 2070
4. Jack Beckman, 2060
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2050
6. Courtney Force, 2040
7. John Force, 2030
8. J.R. Todd, 2020
9. Tim Wilkerson, 2010
10. Cruz Pedregon, 2000

Race Info
10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals
zMAX Dragway – Concord, North Carolina
September 15-17, 2017Run Schedule (all times ET)
Friday, September 15
8am – Sportsman eliminations
2:45pm – Pro Stock qualifying session 1
3:30pm – Nitro qualifying session 1
5:15pm – Pro Stock qualifying session 2
6pm – Nitro qualifying session 2

Saturday, September 16
8am – Sportsman eliminations
12:45pm – Pro Stock qualifying session 3
1:30pm – Nitro qualifying session 3
3:15pm – Pro Stock qualifying session 4
4pm – Nitro qualifying session 4

Sunday, September 17
12pm – EliminationsTelevision Schedule (all times ET)
(As displayed on NHRA’s Media Fact Sheet, September 13, 2017)
Friday, Sept. 15, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 6pm
Sunday, Sept. 17, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 2am
Sunday, Sept. 17, FS1 will televise three hours of LIVE finals coverage at 2:30pm

Top photo courtesy of Auto Imagery

Join the conversation using #CarolinaNats on social media

**Full results posted throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com**

– Tim Wilkerson, 20x NHRA Nitro Funny Car Winner –

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