Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
(April 6-9)

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Driver Profile
Tim Wilkerson
Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang

Wilkerson sees promise on the horizon

Las Vegas, Friday: Tim Wilkerson is in the No. 16 qualifying position at the close of the first day at the Nationals. Wilkerson feels good about the Levi, Ray & Shoup Funny Car's performance, which is a major change from the way it's been the past two races.

Wilkerson ran into some difficulties on the first pass today, dropping a cylinder early in the run. He ran 5.280 at 242.10 mph. Then on the evening run, Wilkerson improved to a 4.908 at 282.01 mph. However, this is The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his 4.90 is only good enough for the bump spot.

"We put our six-disc clutch in the car for this weekend, and it sure runs smooth," said Wilkerson. "Our 60-foot time is slow, but we'll creep up on that. We've got to get through that ugly spot that's been doing us in on every run. The way the clutch discs acted, we had to go down a different road. We had to either get different discs or treat them differently. I tried everyone and we couldn't buy different ones, so I decided to put our six disc back in it, since it acts like it wants that anyway. A six disc allows you a bigger window of screw-up because it has more discs to dissipate heat, more floaters to dissipate heat, you can wear more off of it and it still has aggression in the middle. Where with a five disc, you ruin it. The hotter it gets, the meaner it gets, and it smokes the tires. That's what we ran into in Gainesville and Houston. The thing sees heat and when it sees heat, it gets aggressive. It's trucking along real nice, it sees heat, and it's like throwing a handful of clutch at the thing. So, it sucks the drive shaft right up and it doesn't matter what you do. So, I decided to keep it from seeing heat by putting it in a bigger pack.

"I can't tell you that I'm doing anything right, but I was so ticked off after the last two races. I could keep telling the car what to do and it keeps telling me no, so I decided to start listening to it. We can't go to every race and not qualify. We may not qualify here, but I feel that we are going in the right direction. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

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