WILK STREAKS INTO THE SUN, GRABS No. 3 SPOT ON FRIDAY Tim Wilkerson was saddled with the left lane during Friday's second qualifying session, putting him in the difficult spot of staging his car while looking almost directly into the setting...
WILK STREAKS INTO THE SUN, GRABS No. 3 SPOT ON FRIDAY
Tim Wilkerson was saddled with the left lane during Friday's second qualifying session, putting him in the difficult spot of staging his car while looking almost directly into the setting sun, but he was up to that task and more on this day, posting a fine 4.260 to land in the No. 3 spot after one day of racing at the Northwest Nationals. Wilkerson ran a slower 4.347 during the first session, which was run in very challenging conditions under a hot summer sun, but even that number was good enough for the 6th spot after one lap. The later run leapfrogged him over a number of other drivers to move him up 3rd.
Tony Pedregon took the top spot as part of the last pair, with a 4.182, and Wilkerson's teammate Bob Tasca landed No. 2, with a 4.228 after having run a super 4.255 in the first session.
Cooler conditions are in the forecast for Saturday, although sunshine is also being called for. Fortunately, the Saturday schedule is an all-afternoon affair so the sunset issue won't be a factor.
"I'll tell you what, I was backing up from the burnout and I called the guys on the radio and said 'I know there's a groove out there somewhere, but I can't see anything that looks like one'," Wilkerson said. "It's tough in both lanes, running into the sun like that, but it's tougher when you're in the left because the sun sets a little off to the right of the end of the track. When you go to stage the car, you have a real hard time seeing the tree. The worst part is the fact the clutch dust and all the other stuff in the air kind of glows with the sun shining through it, and you don't see many details out there. Your challenge is to get it to the other end and keep it in the middle, and that's hard enough to do on when the sun isn't even shining, so you know it's tougher on a day like this.
"As soon as I finished the lap, my next call to the guys was that we left quite a bit on the table. There was nothing wrong with the track at all, and the last pair showed that. Those guys (Pedregon and Tasca) ran 4.22 and 4.18, so there was plenty of track out there. I'll take number three, though, and we'll just try to squeeze a little more out of it tomorrow. If it's five degrees cooler, we might all step up."