WILK LANDS LUCKY No. 7 ON FRIDAY Tim Wilkerson battled the elements to the best of his ability, right along with all the other racers and fans, on this hot and sultry day in eastern Tennessee, and his efforts paid off with a top-half slot ...
WILK LANDS LUCKY No. 7 ON FRIDAY
Tim Wilkerson battled the elements to the best of his ability, right along with all the other racers and fans, on this hot and sultry day in eastern Tennessee, and his efforts paid off with a top-half slot after one day of qualifying at the Thunder Valley Nationals. His early shut-off run in the first session was similar to his Q1 effort just a week ago in Englishtown, in that it provided a pedestrian number (this time a 4.912) that still ended up being in the top 12 due to lack of performance across the board. As the sun set on magnificent Bristol Dragway for session two, it was quickly obvious that Q2 was going to be a "make it or break it" run in terms of qualifying position, since Saturday's forecast is for more of the same and both sessions will be in the middle of the afternoon. Wilk kept them lit (or at least seven of them, for most of the run) and his 4.238 ended up being good enough for the 7th spot.
Alliance partner Bob Tasca, the most recent winner on the Full Throttle tour, went from the No. 1 spot to the No. 10 spot in Q2, and unless either Tasca or Wilk can improve (or move at all) on Saturday, they would be paired up in round one on Sunday.
"This was one of the bigger tuning challenges of the year, I think for sure," Wilkerson said. "This track is beautiful, but it does have two pedestrian tunnels under it and pretty much no matter what you do you're going to have some sort of little bump when you go over a tunnel. The ground and the tunnel just don't support the track the same way, and these cars don't like it when you help them unload the tires. As a matter of fact, they're pretty good at unloading them all by themselves so they really don't need any help. The track was also plenty green when they started the day, and it was the hottest day, in terms of both the air and the track, we've had so far. Add all that up, and we had our hands full.
"The first one was just a mess for us, and about everyone else. On the second one, it put a hole out down track, so it didn't quite run what we were aiming for, but I thanked the guys and let them know they did a good job after the run. We had some issues with the car after the warm-up and they thrashed pretty hard on it right in the middle of the afternoon heat. We got out there and went from end to end, so even though we're not right at the top, we are in the top half and who knows, maybe we can peck away at it tomorrow and find a few extra hundredths somewhere. I'd sure rather not face Tasca in round one."