READING, Pa. (September 15, 2018) – Tim Wilkerson and his steady Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car team came out swinging in the first race of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship. Wilkerson blasted to the second-quickest pass in both of the first two qualifying sessions and picked up four bonus points for his efforts, and on Sunday, he’ll be strong as he begins his championship chase.
In the first round of qualifying at Maple Grove Raceway’s Dodge NHRA Nationals, Wilkerson blasted to a killer 3.968-second pass at 318.69 mph under grey skies, and he came back for an even better pass in the second session. A brilliant 3.912, 324.20 kept him steady and holding through two more sessions as the No. 2 seed.
“I thought I’d have more bonus points by the time I got through qualifying, to tell you the truth. It kind of aggravates me, but I have a pretty good car still, and we’ll see how tomorrow goes,” said the 2003 Maple Grove Raceway winner.
In Saturday qualifying at the historic Reading racetrack, Wilkerson – as per the norm – was testing for Sunday in the early qualifying round. In the later session, something went wrong and he was finished before he started, veering to the left as he launched from the starting line.
“The first run was a test, but that second run we had a malfunction,” said Wilkerson. “We figured out what’s wrong, we just have to figure out why it did it. It was a malfunction in the command module that runs the fuel system. It didn’t like that one bit, but I think we’ll get it figured out now. I was a little greedy that first run today, but it was running good ’til it wasn’t. I think tomorrow will be a lot of fun. The guys are excited, I’m excited, and we’ve got a good car for this first Countdown race.”
Final eliminations for the 34th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals will take place on Sunday, September 16th at Maple Grove Raceway beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang
Qualifying position: No. 2
First round opponent: Terry Haddock
Q1: 3.968-second at 318.69 mph (No. 2, +2 bonus points)
Q2: 3.912, 324.20 (No. 2, +2 bonus points)
Q3: 4.987, 153.20 (No. 2)
Q4: 11.967,60.94 (No. 2)
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Funny Car Standings
(after Dodge NHRA Nationals qualifying, race 19 of 24, race 1 of 6 in
Countdown to the Championship)
1. Courtney Force, 2141
2. Matt Hagan, 2112
3. Robert Hight, 2103
4. Ron Capps, 2097
5. J.R. Todd, 2086
6. Jack Beckman, 2080
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2070
8. Shawn Langdon, 2054
9. John Force, 2044
10. Tim Wilkerson, 2041
34th annual NHRA Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway
September 14-16, 2018Run Schedule (all times ET)
Sunday, September 16
11am – EliminationsTelevision Schedule
Qualifying / Sunday – 1 PM-2 PM ET | FS1
Finals / Sunday – 7:30 PM-10:30 PM ET | FS1
Join the conversation by using #ReadingNats on social media
**Full results posted throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com**
– Tim Wilkerson, 20x NHRA Nitro Funny Car Winner –