ENCOURAGING DAY KEEPS WILKERSON 6th One of the oddities of drag racing is that, quite often, you have to improve to stay the same. That exact scenario played out on Saturday for Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray & Shoup team, as they entered the...
ENCOURAGING DAY KEEPS WILKERSON 6th
One of the oddities of drag racing is that, quite often, you have to improve to stay the same. That exact scenario played out on Saturday for Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray & Shoup team, as they entered the day 6th on the grid, but had to step up to their best lap of the weekend in order to reclaim that spot in the final session. By the time Wilkerson came to the line late in Q4, he had been bumped back to 9th, and a good solid run was going to be needed just to take back a spot in the top half of the field. 4.120 seconds later, he had done more than that, as he jumped right back up to the 6th spot he had earlier owned. Wilkerson's 4.120 actually tied Jack Beckman's recorded time, but the LRS team got the nod for the higher placement due to speed (Wilk 304.53 mph to barely edge Beckman's 304.05).
On his first pass, Wilkerson posted a consistent and solid 4.151, so his final three qualifying runs at Atlanta Dragway were 4.137, 4.151, and 4.120.
The only downside to the consistent day was the eventual ladder placement, which now has Shelby Mustang teammates Wilkerson and Bob Tasca squaring off in round one.
"We brought a new chassis out here, which is always one of those things where you look like a genius if it runs good or a numbskull if it doesn't, but after we smoked the tires on the first pass the car has just been doing great," Wilkerson said. "It's taking the tune-up and reacting to the changes, and it's acting normal about it. Sometimes, in this crazy sport, you'd think the cars are just out to drive you nuts because you ask them to do one thing, and they go out and do something completely opposite, but right now the car is really behaving and it makes you feel pretty good at the end of the day when you know that.
"It stinks that we have to run Bob and his guys in round one, but I guess at least we know one of the Shelby Mustangs will be going to round two, and on the 45th anniversary of the introduction of the Mustang, well that's pretty good. We did a big photo shoot earlier today, with all six of us who drive the Fords standing around Mike Neff's Mustang, and it was actually kind of fun to be there with Bob and all the Force drivers, as part of this Ford family. It's an honor, and we hope we can do some good with the Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby on Sunday.
"And speaking of LRS, we had a big crowd of their people and their customers in our pit today. It's always great to have a hundred or so people right there with us, cheering us on, and having a good crowd this weekend is good prep for St. Louis in two weeks. I've heard that LRS has already bought about a thousand tickets for the St. Louis the race, so our hospitality area will be hopping. Showing up there with a Wally from Atlanta would be about as good as it gets, I guess."