WILK 15th ON FRIDAY THE 13th
Rule No. 1: It is very difficult to steer an automobile of any sort, especially a Nitro Funny Car, if your front wheels are not on the ground. Tim Wilkerson was bidding for a seriously low number during his second qualifying shot at the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, but when his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford lifted the front end near half-track, he was unable to bring it back off the center line without getting off the throttle. Once it settled, he blipped the throttle again, to post his best possible time with the threat of rain looming on Saturday. His 4.515 currently is 15th on the ladder.
Should one or both runs be made on Saturday, the 4.515 will not count as it is not in the Top 12 after Friday's two sessions. Should precipitation take over the day on Saturday, the time would be in effect and he would start from the 15th spot.
"You won't see almost the entire Funny Car class pedaling their cars like that on a Friday very often, but the forecast is a bit iffy and nobody wanted to take any chances," Wilkerson said. "Personally, I bet we run tomorrow and probably get both runs in, but we had to get it down there as best we could today, just in case.
"On that second one, it was actually running pretty strong but it hiked the front end up again and as soon as it does that it fades to the center line like there's a magnet over there. I needed the run to count, and I didn't need to be repairing another hole in the nose, so I didn't have any choice but to lift. Once I could steer it again, I gave it another slap of the throttle just to grab a little more. I can't control the weather, so we'll just see what happens from here on out."