WILK WILL SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE No. 6 SPOT Tim Wilkerson went 1-for-2 on Friday and he will spend the night solidly in the top half, landing 6th after one day of qualifying here in New Jersey. If there was one thing he would change with the...
WILK WILL SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE No. 6 SPOT
Tim Wilkerson went 1-for-2 on Friday and he will spend the night solidly in the top half, landing 6th after one day of qualifying here in New Jersey. If there was one thing he would change with the wave of a magic wand, it might be the order in which that 1-for-2 occurred, since his overwhelmingly successful run came in the afternoon daylight but his tire smoker came under the lights when the track was cool.
Wilk's opening shot played right into the theme he mentioned at the end of last week's race, in that his best run of the weekend in Joliet (which was his final pass on Sunday) seemed to give him a leg up on a good opening lap here. That theory played out as true, when he posted the second-quickest lap in the first session, running a 4.145 that only Matt Hagan could best. In the nightcap, under the lights at Raceway Park, the Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang lost traction at the 330 mark, and with Robert Hight and John Force running 4.025 and 4.037 respectively, followed by Jeff Arend's 4.075 and Bob Tasca's 4.121, Wilkerson slid down four notches to the sixth spot on the grid. The outstanding night session ended with five Ford Mustangs in the top eight spots on the grid.
"It just pulled the tires loose out there where it usually doesn't, so my first guess is that something odd happened," Wilkerson said. "That's not a spot where you typically would lose traction with your standard clutch application and timing curve, so like I said, my first inclination is that if we study this enough, we'll see where something out of the ordinary happened to make it do that. We'll see what tomorrow brings, but the goal here is to make sure we're in the top half of the field, come Sunday.
"And I have to say that our hearts go out to the family and friends of Neal Parker, who lost his life here today in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class. We came up through the Top Alcohol ranks, both me and my son Daniel, and we know just about everyone over there to this day. This was a tough deal, and it really put a heavy dose of reality and heartbreak into the day here. You never know what to say, and you can't imagine how it feels, so we just send our support and want everyone over there to know we care and we're thinking of them."