WILK CONNECTS, LANDS 2nd ON FRIDAY Tim Wilkerson swung for the fences and finally "got ahold of one" after struggling to find exactly the right combination with his race car for the past five races. This time, after posting a 4.216 under a ...
WILK CONNECTS, LANDS 2nd ON FRIDAY
Tim Wilkerson swung for the fences and finally "got ahold of one" after struggling to find exactly the right combination with his race car for the past five races. This time, after posting a 4.216 under a bright afternoon sun in Topeka, he came back as part of the second-to-last pair in the night session, and by the time he ran he'd been bumped out of the top 12. Getting aggressive with the tune-up under fantastic conditions, Wilk needn't have worried about that 12th spot, as he powered his way to a very strong 4.103, at a blistering 307.16 mph, to momentarily take the top spot on the list. That final pair behind him, though, included Robert Hight and Jack Beckman, and the two sandwiched Wilk's run with Hight's 4.095 taking over provisional pole, while Beckman slid into the No. 4 spot with a 4.114. Just a tick behind Wilkerson was Jeff Arend, who posted an also-nice 4.104 to grab the 3rd spot. With Saturday's forecast calling for temps near or over 90 degrees and plenty of midwestern humidity, there's a solid chance those numbers will all hold steady, and a No. 2 spot would be Wilk's finest effort of the young season. His current best is a No. 7 position, earned at both Charlotte and Atlanta.
"We did pretty well on that one, I think," Wilkerson said. "We're still trying to get it to run harder early, because we're having to make up a lot of ground from the 330-mark to the finish line to run our numbers. If we can pick up our 60-foot and 330 times, we might be tough to beat. But we did lean on it pretty hard tonight, because it was obvious there was a lot of track out there and we had a great session on our hands. The only bobble on the run was the fact it started really hauling, so much so that it picked the front wheels up down there around 700 feet and I just held on. I probably was trying to steer with them off the ground, because when they came back down it made a hard dart to the left on me.
"Hey, and let's make sure we give some credit to these great fans here in Topeka. We had a fantastic crowd here today and tonight, and the weather here has been awful for a while. Everything is saturated and muddy, and they couldn't even open the regular parking lots or let all the campers set up in their regular spots, so they were moving all the parking and camping over to the Air National Guard base and that normally could have scared some people away. Instead, we had a very good crowd here and they all seemed to be having a great time. Great job by the track people and NHRA, for making sure a bad situation was handled well."