WILK ROLLS A 7 ON FIRST DAY IN VEGAS
Tim Wilkerson made two successful yet imperfect laps on the first day of qualifying at The Strip in Las Vegas, and although each had its flaws he finished the day in the lucky No. 7 spot in the world's gambling mecca. On his first pass, Wilk legged it out in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang to a 4.163, which exactly tied Ashley Force Hood's e.t., although her better speed gave her the edge and left Wilkerson 8th on the provisional sheet. Running well behind schedule and unexpectedly under the lights on Friday night, huge runs were lighting up the scoreboard and the LRS team had been bumped out of the top 12 by the time they ran, but Wilk bounced back with a 4.116 to move back up to the 7th spot.
"We put a couple of cylinders out way down there on the first one, and that cost us some e.t., "Wilkerson said. "We knew it would be stout out there for the second run, which was a couple of hours late, but the question was how to keep all eight lit and get it down there. We still torched a head gasket or something near the finish line, and considering we were only running 297 miles per hour, it obviously didn't make it all the way. Tomorrow's schedule is a lot like today's, but we run after Top Fuel tomorrow and those guys had a heck of a time keeping the oil inside their motors today. There's no telling what time we'll actually get done tomorrow, and we may end up running under the lights again. If that's the case, everything can get pretty scrambled again, in terms of the ladder. We'll just aim to stay in the top half."