Wilkerson makes quickest pass of the day
Houston, Sunday: Tim Wilkerson knows that it doesn’t really matter where you qualify, just as long as you qualify so you can play on race day. And play is what Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray & Shoup Funny Car did, making the quickest pass of the day and bringing the crowd to its feet today at the O’Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
Preparing for first-round was stressful for Wilkerson, as he watched several of the cars in front of him in the left lane, smoke the tires. But Wilkerson was determined not to let the menacing lane get the better of him, as he impressed everyone at Houston Raceway Park with a stunning win at 4.870 at 319.37 mph over Ron Capps’ 4.953. To top it off, Wilkerson’s run was the quickest of round-one and gave him lane choice over his next opponent, long time friend, Del Worsham. But for this round, Wilkerson didn’t fare as well, as he dropped a cylinder at the hit and slowed to a 5.113. This allowed eventual event winner, Worsham to get the win with his 4.917.
“That was a good run, first-round,” said Wilkerson. “It was trying to that all weekend as we tried to get our fuel pump problem fixed. I was happy to take out Capps because they are such a tough car. There is so much money over there and so many smart people, that any time you can beat any of those guys, you feel pretty good. But I’m having trouble getting past the single car guys. In Gainesville it was (Gary) Densham and today Worsham. Looks like I can’t race anyone whose name ends in an ‘m’. I just need to race the big cars and be over it. On that run against Del it put a hole out at the step. But this weather is so bad, that you can’t predict what’s going to happen. I talked to Donnie (Bender) at Don Prudhomme’s and he put a hole out too. They had a fresh blower and ours had one run on it. So, I guess in this kind of weather, we just have to convince ourselves to strip it every run. And that’s tough because we only have two good ones, but I’ve got more coming. Then I have to get them over to the dyno and check them. The ones we tested after Gainesville aren’t going to be what I want yet. They still have a lot of work in front of them before we can run them. I think I can buy a couple just like the ones we’re running now. With how good the car is running, we really need to do that. The problem is we just can’t go and buy a bunch at a time like we did before. Now, I’m buying them one at a time and checking them on the dyno and fondling them and loving them and trying to make sure they’re caressed correctly. There are a lot of measurement problems with blowers and if they’re not right, they don’t work good. And I want our motor combination to be working just right, before we start testing our new car, so that we have a baseline to know how the new car is working.
“But all in all it was a good weekend for us. The guys worked hard and did a great job. I know I got angry yesterday and complained about the race track but really NHRA is doing a good job with it. They’re doing the best they can do with what they have to work with. So, I don’t want them to think I don’t appreciate their hard work. But the dang track and the bumps really caused havoc for everybody. So, we’re all glad to moving on to the next race.”
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