WILK CLINCHES COUNTDOWN SPOT ON LESS-THAN-PERFECT LAP Tim Wilkerson punched his playoff ticket by making his first qualifying lap in Reading, by earning the 10 points that come with an official lap in competition. That was the good news.
WILK CLINCHES COUNTDOWN SPOT ON LESS-THAN-PERFECT LAP
Tim Wilkerson punched his playoff ticket by making his first qualifying lap in Reading, by earning the 10 points that come with an official lap in competition. That was the good news. Unfortunately, he would've liked to have made a bigger splash in the Funny Car pool (no pun intended, after a rainy day in Reading) but his car bent an exhaust valve and he had to abort his run. His 6.886 was the 15th quickest time of the day. Normally, since only the top 12 times are recorded on Friday, such a run would simply place him in the group of "also ran" drivers with no official time, but a dodgy weather forecast for Saturday may possibly create a scenario in which his lone Friday run could be used for placement in the field.
"It must've bent the valve and hung it open on the burnout, because it was a dead cylinder at the hit," Wilkerson said. "As soon as I stepped on it, it was obvious something was wrong, and I first assumed we'd just dropped a hole over on that side. When it didn't get any better, I didn't have much choice but to shut it off. We all knew, going up there, that after a long day of rain and with a bad forecast for tomorrow there was no telling how many sessions we'd get to run here, so you saw an awful lot of Funny Car drivers pedaling out of bad laps. Normally, in the first session of the weekend, if it's doing anything bad you'd just lift and come back for the next one. It didn't feel right to me, though, so I had to lift and just give it up, and that's too bad. Even pedaling it once with a healthy motor would've moved us up a few spots.
"We'll see what Mother Nature throws at us tomorrow and go from there. She wasn't too kind to us today, that's for sure, but she seems to always have a problem with us when we come to Maple Grove. I don't know how we made her mad, but she gets back at us every time we come here."