RICHMOND, Va. (June 11, 2018) – The Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang nitro Funny Car team leave the Virginia NHRA Nationals in good spirits and with high hopes. A semifinals finish at the 10th race of 24 on the 2018 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule was just the boost the fiercely dedicated team and leader Tim Wilkerson needed.
Team owner, driver, and crew chief Wilkerson came up with one of the best runs of the first round, and he needed it because former world champ Ron Capps was in the other lane. Wilkerson threw down a 4.130-second pass at 303.43 mph that got the job done as Capps clocked a 4.152, 280.43.
“I knew Capps would be one of the worst to race because he does such a good job,” said Wilkerson. “He and [crew chief Rahn] Tobler would have beat about any other car besides me, Jonnie Lindberg, and John Force that round. They did a heck of a good job.”
In the second round, Wilkerson had a single with Lindberg broke, and the Springfield, Illinois, native clocked a blistering 4.014, 298.14 that was the second quickest run of raceday, and behind only eventual event winner Courtney Force’s 3.972 that same round.
Wilkerson’s day ended in the semifinals as John Force recorded a 4.077, 316.97 to a slowing 4.623, 201.70.
“I really thought we had something for Force, but something went wrong. We haven’t had a chance to see what happened, but it malfunctioned, and the clutch never moved,” said Wilkerson. “It went out there and put out three holes at the same time. Outside of that, it was a pretty darn good day.
“This track was terrific, and it would be great if they could pattern other racetracks off of this one. I’m really proud of Tommy Franklin [Virginia Motorsports Park track owner] for what he’s done here. It’s great. I felt pretty good about today, getting a handle on what’s going on and what I need to do. I’m optimistic for next weekend in Bristol.”
Next up for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 15-17 at Bristol Dragway.
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang
Wilkerson’s raceday results:
R1: Tim Wilkerson (4.130-second at 303.43 mph) defeated Ron Capps (4.152, 280.43)
R2: Wilkerson (4.014, 298.14) def. Jonnie Lindberg (broke)
R3: John Force (4.077, 316.97) def. Wilkerson (4.623, 201.70)
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Funny Car Standings
(after Virginia NHRA Nationals, race 10 of 24)
1. Courtney Force, 856
2. Jack Beckman, 683
3. Robert Hight, 665
4. Matt Hagan, 633
5. J.R. Todd, 615
6. Ron Capps, 576
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 554
8. John Force, 468
9. Shawn Langdon, 461
10. Cruz Pedregon, 454
11. Jonnie Lindberg, 426
12. Tim Wilkerson, 411
**Full results posted throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com**
– Tim Wilkerson, 20x NHRA Nitro Funny Car Winner –