WILK THROWS A "7" AT THE END OF THE LONGEST DAY Racers and fans alike were hard-pressed to recall any other day, not impacted by weather, as long as this one but in the end Tim Wilkerson was able to streak down the track in the darkness of a...
WILK THROWS A "7" AT THE END OF THE LONGEST DAY
Racers and fans alike were hard-pressed to recall any other day, not impacted by weather, as long as this one but in the end Tim Wilkerson was able to streak down the track in the darkness of a late night, in front of a few hardy souls who stuck it out to the bitter end. His 4.117 took him from outside the field all the way up the No. 7 spot.
The day was marked (or, more accurately, scarred) by a long series of enormous oil spills in the Top Fuel class, which always runs before the Funny Cars on Saturday, as well as a big crash at the start of the final FC session by driver Jeff Diehl, who destroyed a race car but walked away. In the end, the 3:30 afternoon session was finally contested after 9:00, under the lights instead of under the afternoon sun, and Wilk put his best lap of the weekend on the board to bump his way in. He will face Melanie Troxel in round one on Sunday morning, just scant hours after completing his qualifying on Saturday night.
"We messed up on the first run today, as much with the tune-up as with the driver, and basically threw away a run that probably would've taken all the pressure off tonight," Wilkerson said. "That left us outside the field and as the day dragged on, and on, and then on some more, our biggest worry was that it was just going to get too cold and too tight out there. Then, we had the big crash and you figured that might just have annihilated the track, but the Safety Safari worked at it for a long time and gave us a great surface to race on. I bet they were exhausted, too, after the day they had.
"We went up there with the idea we were 'all in' on this run. The bump spot was going to be pretty soft, that was pretty obvious, but we weren't going to put a soft tune-up in it and just limp it down there. We went up there with it loaded up pretty strong, and it was kind of a 'go big or go home' mentality. It worked out okay for us, I guess, and now we'll just have to capitalize on it to show off this beautiful Summit car again tomorrow. This car will look pretty on TV, I know that for a fact, so hopefully we'll do well enough to get it on there a bunch."