Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Wilkerson faces Norwalk challenges with deeper determination
After his win last week at the Lucas Oil SuperNationals in Englishtown, Wilkerson’s POWERade Championship points lead grew to 132 points over second-place, Ashley Force, making it even more difficult for Force and the other’s behind her to overtake Wilkerson. And if the talented driver and crew-chief could do well again this week, he could make it even tougher on the others.
“Our Levi, Ray & Shoup Impala is running well,” explained Wilkerson. “We’re not hurting parts, I seem to be making pretty good tuning decisions, my driving has helped us a few times and the crew is doing a super job. So, I’d say everything is working in our favor right now.
“You know, when I moved up in points I started worrying about staying up there and I got conservative. But I realized that I started the season out by being aggressive, so I need to go back to being aggressive again. And I think I should be able to make it work again this week.”
Wilkerson’s change in strategy was very evident last week in Englishtown as he made the quickest pass in the third qualifying session and was the quickest car in three of the four rounds of eliminations which gave him his third win in four final-round appearances.
And as most of the world knows by now, last week the drag racing world suffered a devastating blow. Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta was killed in a horrible top-end accident. Scott’s death was extremely hard on everyone and it caused Wilkerson to do some deep soul searching which seemed to give him more determination.
“We all know the dangers of what we are doing out here,” expressed Wilkerson, “but when you lose a good friend and tough competitor like Scott it makes you feel like you were punched in the gut. I’ve thought about almost nothing else but Scott and what happened since the accident and decided that I need to try harder at what I love doing and what I’m doing out here. I want to make our car the very best and the safest I possibly can.”
So, as Wilkerson faces the challenges of this race with a deeper determination and his renewed aggressive strategy, he hopes the outcome will again be one that helps make dreams come true.
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