AT No. 16, WILKERSON SEES THE BRIGHT SIDE Tim Wilkerson can look at the bright side and just be happy to be in the field for Sunday's race, here in Norwalk. If he wants to be even more of a positive thinker, he can consider the fact he's simply...
AT No. 16, WILKERSON SEES THE BRIGHT SIDE
Tim Wilkerson can look at the bright side and just be happy to be in the field for Sunday's race, here in Norwalk. If he wants to be even more of a positive thinker, he can consider the fact he's simply a first-round win away from taking over the No. 1 qualifier's ladder during eliminations. Those familiar with how the ladder sets up know exactly what that means, and they know it signifies that Wilkerson will run his Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang out of the No. 16 spot here in Norwalk.
Wilkerson earned his spot in the field with a soft and conservative 4.482 during Saturday's first session, then smoked the tires on his last run.
He will run No. 1 qualifier Mike "Zippy" Neff in round one.
"Lucky would be a good word to describe us here," Wilkerson said. "When you're the number 16 guy and the 17th team pulls out of line before they make their last lap, you're lucky. When you then go out there and smoke the tires for the third time this weekend but stay in the show, you're really lucky. Last year, in this same scenario, we'd be packing up our stuff and going home because there would've been a couple more really good cars here, but as it turned out we're 16th and it's time to look at the bright side of things.
"Tomorrow is race day, and anything goes out there. There's been a lot of tire smoke all weekend and if there's tire smoke tomorrow we'll all be pedaling like crazy, so anything is possible. And maybe we'll just figure out what we're doing wrong here, fix it, and put a great lap on the board to earn it that way. I don't have a problem running our best lap of the weekend in round one, if we have to.
"On the first run today, we got it to the other end without blowing the tires off but it was seriously slow. Too slow, really, but we needed to just get down there and put a time on the board. And you know what? All year long it seems like when we qualify really well, we get stuck with some huge home-run hitter in the first round. Tomorrow, I hope Zippy and his guys are saying and thinking 'Oh great. We qualify at the top and have to run Wilkerson.' Turnabout is fair play, right? We're just going to try to take advantage of our luck here, and turn it into something good tomorrow."