Wilkerson - Ford interview 2009-07-22

This Week in Ford Racing July 22, 2009 Tim Wilkerson, driver and crew chief of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang, picked up his first Wally of the season this past weekend at the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle. With only four races until...

This Week in Ford Racing
July 22, 2009

Tim Wilkerson, driver and crew chief of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang, picked up his first Wally of the season this past weekend at the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle. With only four races until the Countdown begins, Wilkerson moves up in points to fifth place heading into Sonoma for the FRAM NHRA Nationals this weekend.

SEATTLE WAS YOUR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON. CAN YOU DESCRIBE LAST WEEKEND'S WIN? "We had a lot of tough competition that race, based on who we had to run. I had to run two of Force's cars first and second round, the points leader, Ron Capps, in the third round, and the past champion, Tony Pedregon, there in the finals. It was very stiff competition this week and it didn't seem like we had any gimmes. We had a nice fast car the whole weekend, so it was very exciting to finally put our Mustang in the winner's circle."

YOU HAD A COUPLE OF ROUGH RACES LEADING UP TO YOUR SEATTLE WIN. DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES GOING INTO SEATTLE? "Not really. We had a really good car in Denver, I just screwed up against Bob first round and made a bad-tuning call, and actually smoked the tires out there at 250-300 feet. We had a pretty good car the last couple races, just had some bad luck, and I didn't race good. I thought that we were going to break out one of these days and actually get ourselves in the Winner's Circle, because we haven't really been far off, in my opinion."

YOU HAVE SONOMA AND THEN THREE RACES BEFORE HEADING INTO THE CHAMPIONSHIP COUNTDOWN. HOW DO YOU FEEL HEADING INTO THESE LAST FOUR RACES? "These are usually races we do well at. When the weather is a little hotter, we seem to have a better handle on making the car run. Hopefully, we can keep that momentum that we picked up in Seattle and continue going some rounds, and build up our points where we can be in the top three or four when we get to Indy, which would be really good for our team in the way of morale. The crew's attitude is based on the last ET slip. Whenever we can do well it always makes the guys work harder and work better, and I think that's a good sign, too."

ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES TO RACING IN SONOMA? "The challenge you run into here is what I just talked about. It's a little bit warmer there. It gives you the challenges of a warm race track where you have a little problem out in the middle smoking the tires. Hopefully, if it is that way, maybe we learned a little something in Seattle that will propel us into winning some rounds there in Sonoma. That's usually your biggest challenge running there, you have a warm night that's usually a really good run, so you have to get that dead-on to be in the show comfortably. The day runs are usually so hot that you have to hit them dead-on in order to win rounds. I think we have a good chance at doing a good job there, but you never know, you never know how things are going to be."

YOU HAVE A TECHNICAL ALLIANCE WITH BOB TASCA, WHO, AFTER WINNING EARLIER IN THE SEASON AT GATORNATIONALS, HAS HAD A CONSISTENT CAR EVER SINCE. DO YOU THINK THIS WIN WILL TRIGGER THE SAME FOR YOU? "Well, I think it's been a good alliance in the way that both of us have a really good handle on our cars. I think if we can keep making some strides on making our cars go better, we've already talked about ways to make his a little better for the next time we go out. Hopefully, with all that in mind, we can both go some rounds and both be fast cars on Sunday. I was real happy for Bob there, even in Norwalk. He had a good chance to win that race, too. In the finals there he got stuck in the wrong lane and didn't end up making the better run. I'm pretty excited about our alliance, I think you're going to see both of us in the top five by the time we get to Indy, with any luck, and I'm sure we'll have to fight it out in the end, and maybe get one of us in the Championship there. That would be really cool. I'm just happy to be associated with Bob and Ford. I know that maybe we had some high expectations based on my performance last year, but the whole competition has really stepped up this year and have made it really tough. I'm proud of Bob and all the cars that are in the top 10, really. It's going to be a fight to the finish."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson