D Wilk Just Outside Top 12
Dan Wilkerson gave announcer Bob Frey one of his favorite set-ups during the first qualifying session in Bristol. Being the first Funny Car driver down the track, due to his total lack of points so far this season, D Wilk rattled through with a safe and sound 4.324 to initially claim the top spot. Frey's favorite quip after such an event is "Get out of the car, grab your cell phone, and call all your friends to let them know you're number one qualifier in Bristol."
... that's how it goes when you're making your season debut in June.
16 other Funny Cars, of course, still had a chance to run and when the session was over the young driver hung on to the No. 8 position.
In the delayed nightcap, under the lights at Thunder Valley, D Wilk looked to be on a solid run when the flames suddenly went dark well before the finish line. Sensing tire spin and a bit of a sashay, he took the cautious route and shut it off early. His earlier run was 13th-best on the day, but only the top 12 times are recorded on Friday so D Wilk will head into Saturday not qualified.
"Great to be back out here, even though it was a marathon of a day for us," Wilkerson said. "We were out here at about the crack of dawn, and we'll be back at the hotel by about the crack of midnight, but that's how it goes when you're making your season debut in June. There's a lot to do, and as a team we don't have that much time together.
"The first one was just soft, but it went down there okay and it was great for me as a way to ease back into the seat. On the second one, it was starting to get loose and spin down there and if there's one thing my dad teaches me it's to be smart, not a hero. If it was spinning, it wasn't going to be that good anyway, so we let that one go. We'll get back at it on Saturday, and we'll see where we land."