The driver of the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang reached back-to-back finals to start the 2018 NHRA Countdown to the Championship (Reading and St. Louis), and he went to the semifinals in Charlotte. He qualified sixth or better – as high as No. 2 – to gain valuable qualifying points, and he brought in 12 bonus points to contribute to his cause.
“We had a good Countdown, and we got gutsy. That’s what we needed to do, and coming into it tenth, we knew we didn’t have anything to lose,” said Wilkerson, who inked his best finish since he was No. 4 in 2009. “I had no place to go but up, and in that position, you might as well stand on it. We’re happy for the most part, but I don’t come to get fifth. Just like everybody else, I come to win.”
In a disappointing end to a very good Countdown, No. 5 qualifier Wilkerson exited in the first round in Pomona at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
“I’m really bummed out about that first round,” said Wilkerson. “It left good, and it was running real good – but it bounced out of the groove, and I couldn’t get it back. We’ll have a good winter, anyhow. It’s going to be tough next year, but we’ll come back and try again.
“I’m real proud of my guys, they all worked so hard, and I have to thank everyone who has stood behind us and supported us. Dick Levi and all the folks at LRS, Summit Racing, and every single one of our great sponsors. We have some exciting things coming in the future, and we’re so proud to be part of the Ford family. The future looks pretty darn bright.”
NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will pick up in three months at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The season-opening NHRA Winternationals are slated to take place February 7-10, 2019.
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang
Final points position: No. 5
Round 1: John Force defeated Tim Wilkerson, 3.955-second at 330.47 mph to 4.444, 201.76
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Funny Car Standings
(after NHRA Finals)
1. J.R. Todd, 2726
2. Robert Hight, 2532
3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2519
4. Ron Capps, 2510
5. Tim Wilkerson, 2418
6. Courtney Force, 2409
7. Jack Beckman, 2405
8. Matt Hagan, 2371
9. John Force, 2356
10. Shawn Langdon, 2285
**Full results posted throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com**
– Tim Wilkerson, 20x NHRA Nitro Funny Car Winner –