ST. LOUIS (September 30, 2019) – Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang nitro Funny Car team aren’t afraid of a little – or a lot of – hard work. On Saturday, in the final round of qualifying at the 8th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals, Wilk’s engine blew up big and decimated the beautiful LRS 40th anniversary Ford Mustang Funny Car body. Wilk and his team hunkered down and did the work, putting their car back together and fitting it with a new carbon fiber shell with that same striking 40th anniversary design.
The team came out of the gate swinging for the fences and made one of the quickest passes of the opening round to take out a tire-smoking Jonnie Lindberg, 3.915-second at 325.14 mph to 5.162, 158.52.
For the crew that poured their hearts into getting everything in shape after the frightening fireball from the night before, the first-round victory felt a lot like winning the race.
“Hats off to the guys and the whole LRS Summit Racing team,” said team member and Wilkerson’s right-hand man Richard Hartman. “Tim Wilkerson, he’s such a badass. We worked hard, but we knew what to do and why it did it. That was a heck of a run – it’s what it’s been trying to do all weekend, and it finally did it.”
In the second round, Wilkerson’s day of recovery concluded as he launched ahead of Bob Tasca but was off a bit at the finish line stripe. Tasca won, 3.947, 321.19 to 4.012, 315.56.
“The sun was coming out, so I thought, well, I can’t push it as hard as I want to. But I was pretty happy with it that first run,” said Wilkerson. “I knew it could do that. It was trying to do it all weekend.
“It wasn’t supposed to go that slow second round. It was a little too slow leaving, and it just never caught up. We’re still learning all of our new processes – I’m changing things all the time trying to get to where I want to be. But the ol’ girl acted like it was supposed to today. I was pretty proud of it. Everybody did what they were supposed to do: the bottom end guy fixed his stuff, cylinder head guy fixed his stuff, Richard made the blowers perfect, Rob [Covault] and Drew [Wenninger] made the clutch perfect, and it acts just like it’s supposed to. It’s really good magic when it’s all right. Just catching up to that racetrack was the problem all weekend long.”
The next event on the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is race three of six in the Countdown to the Championship, the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, October 11-13.
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Points position following event: No. 10
R1: Tim Wilkerson defeated Jonnie Lindberg, 3.915-second at 325.14 mph to 5.162, 158.52
R2: Bob Tasca III def. Wilkerson, 3.947, 321.19 to 4.012, 315.56.
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
(after AAA Insurance NHRA Nationals,
Countdown to the Championship race 2 of 6)
1. Robert Hight, 2235
2. John Force, 2222
3. Jack Beckman, 2211
4. Ron Capps, 2191
5. J.R. Todd, 2182
6. Bob Tasca III, 2156
7. Shawn Langdon, 2155
8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2138
9. Matt Hagan, 2132
10. Tim Wilkerson, 2109
**Full results posted throughout the weekend at DragRaceCentral.com**
– Tim Wilkerson, 20x NHRA Nitro Funny Car Winner –