WILK QUOTES JERRY LEE LEWIS: GREAT BALLS OF FIRE! Tim Wilkerson took to the track late in the afternoon on Friday, intent upon improving from his instant tire-smoker on Thursday in order to put himself firmly in the field, but instead he put ...
WILK QUOTES JERRY LEE LEWIS: GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!
Tim Wilkerson took to the track late in the afternoon on Friday, intent upon improving from his instant tire-smoker on Thursday in order to put himself firmly in the field, but instead he put himself firmly on the highlight reel when his Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang exploded a motor and caught fire crossing the finish line. Wilkerson exited the car safely and was uninjured, but the LRS Ford was not so lucky. The body was burned severely enough to preclude its use for the rest of this weekend, and with the spare car in the trailer being the Summit Racing Mustang Wilk used in Vegas, a total car swap will be in order before Saturday's two qualifying sessions. The Summit Racing body only fits on the back-up car, but with the primary chassis also a mess from the fire, the back-up was the likely choice anyway.
In addition, new oil-down penalties were instituted at this race, so Wilk's boomer not only deleted his elapsed time from the record, it also cost him $2,500. He is currently not qualified for the field, with two sessions remaining on Saturday
The team will run the striking blue design for the rest of the weekend, but are in the process of installing temporary Levi, Ray & Shoup logos on both sides of that car.
"I just feel really bad about this, especially for the fans," Wilkerson said. "I went right on the public address system with Alan Reinhart and I said it as honestly as I could, saying it's just despicable how we've been putting the fans through so many delays the last couple of weeks, and we owe them a better show. They might have thought it was neat to see a Funny Car blow up and catch on fire, as long as the monkey inside the car got out okay, but they don't deserve to have to sit there and watch the clean-up for 30 minutes.
"It put a hole out early but with qualifying being such a tight deal right now I was hoping it would leg its way down there and put a decent number on the board. Instead, it finally gave up the ghost and she lit up pretty good. I was a little late getting the fire bottles on, and by the time I did it was too late to put the flames out. This body might be salvaged but that's an off-season job, so we'll do the best we can with the other car and hope to make something good happen. As of right now, nothing good has happened here."