Memphis: Daniel Wilkerson preview

D. WILK TO MAKE SECOND '09 APPEARANCE THIS WEEKEND MEMPHIS, Tenn. (September 29, 2009) -- Daniel Wilkerson had been waiting his whole life to do what he did in late May this year. He was in Topeka, racing a nitro Funny Car, and was doing it at...

D. WILK TO MAKE SECOND '09 APPEARANCE THIS WEEKEND

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (September 29, 2009) -- Daniel Wilkerson had been waiting his whole life to do what he did in late May this year. He was in Topeka, racing a nitro Funny Car, and was doing it at a national event on the NHRA Full Throttle tour. To cap it off, he even out-qualified his dad, running a 4.215 to take the 8th spot while his pop, popular Funny Car contender Tim Wilkerson, landed 12th.

Now, as we approach this weekend's running of the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Wilkerson can say "I've been waiting my whole summer for this" as he comes back again for his second pro start, almost exactly four months after his debut. Wilkerson will again field a second Levi, Ray & Shoup entry as he fights for a spot in the field and success on race day.

"I'd like to say it's all old-hat and a lot different than Topeka, but I can't say that without lying," the 21-year-old driver said. "I had, really, waited my whole life to race professionally, in a Funny Car and with my dad, but that was four months ago and I've been itching to do it again since the second it was over. It's been a long summer, seeing my dad out there racing while I stayed at home, but he made the commitment to get me out there again, and I'm really excited to do it.

"I just love to race this car, and everything about it gets me fired up. I know I need seat time and a lot of experience, so I try to focus on everything we're doing and all the things I have to do to get the car down the track competitively. I'm trying to be a sponge and soak up as much as I can, whether it's when I'm in the car, or talking to my dad, or even pestering the other drivers with questions. I want to learn it all, but I know that takes a lifetime so I'm just trying to do the best job I can right now. I can't wait to race, I know that."

As opposed to his Topeka debut, where only 16 Funny Cars were entered and young D. Wilk was assured of a spot in the field by simply taking a light at the starting line, 19 teams are pre-entered for Memphis. He'll have to force his way into this race, outrunning at least three opponents, and he feels ready for the challenge.

"We're running my dad's old car, so we know it's good," Wilkerson said. "We have all the parts and pieces we need, we have all of my dad's tuning data, and we have my dad keeping an eye on everything. We really should be able to run with the main pack, and I think we all expect to be right in the mix. My job is to make sure the driver isn't the weak link, because I feel sure we'll have the car dialed in and running strong."

In addition to getting oldest Wilkerson son some additional experience in an 8,000 horsepower nitro Funny Car, the Memphis gig also provides Team Wilkerson the chance to showcase the young driver to prospective sponsors.

-credit: twr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tim Wilkerson , Daniel Wilkerson