Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
Progress Being Made, Step By Step
Tim Wilkerson is not unlike most people when confronted by challenges. He'd prefer to have everything fixed and put in order all in one large bite, but he also knows that Funny Cars rarely come around that way. So, he chose to see the positive after qualifying very well and winning a round on Sunday, before surprisingly smoking the tires and bowing out in round two.
Wilk's fast running Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang again showed signs of being able to run with the quickest cars in the class, when he led off Q2 with a strong 4.094 that held for the top spot until the final pair of cars went down the track on Friday. In the end, the mark held up for the No. 3 position.
Racing Tony Pedregon in the first round on Sunday, Wilk chose his favorite spot in the pairings, going first, and selected the left lane, which appeared to be the consensus pick in the nitro classes. His 4.093 was strong and straight, and it earned him a valuable round win, coming after consecutive opening-round losses at the last two races.
Still holding lane choice in round two, he again picked the favored left lane, but those same clutch issues that have thwarted him much of the year came back to roost, and the LRS Ford smoked the hoops.
"People might not see it, but we're getting there," Wilkerson said. "For the most part, we had a good car, and a really fast car, all weekend. We had a good handle on it in qualifying, and it did just what we wanted to do in round one. Then, in round two it just didn't wear quite the same and we spun the tires.
"We've been talking about how, for so many years, we had a slow car that we tried to make fast, but now we have a fast car we sometimes can't slow down. With each lap, though, we learn more and we get closer to just plain having a fast car that can consistently win rounds. If you have that, you can win races."
Wilk's qualifying numbers have shown just how fast the LRS Ford can be. Round one in Englishtown showed just how successful it can be. Progress is being made, one step at a time.