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Seattle Winner Tim Wilkerson Closes Out Western Swing With Quarterfinal Finish In Sonoma

Fresh off of his NHRA Northwest Nationals victory near Seattle one week prior, Tim Wilkerson was looking for a repeat performance in wine country on Sunday at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. The driver/tuner of the SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang was strong in qualifying to secure a spot in the quick-half of the Funny Car field, but came up short in a tough quarterfinal match, ending his chances of going back-to-back with Western Swing wins.
 
Wilkerson opened the weekend by tuning his SCAG/LRS Ford to a good, representative run of 3.974 seconds during the first qualifying session. In the final qualifying round, Wilkerson launched hard and kept his 11,000-horsepower machine hooked up to clock the second-quickest pass of the session, earning two bonus points and the No. 4 starting position.
 
On race day, the two-time winner in 2023, drew Alex Laughlin as his first-round opponent. Against the Funny Car upstart, Wilkerson powered his tiger-striped machine to the finish line in 3.966 seconds, easily defeating Laughlin’s early tire-smoker. In the second elimination round, Wilkerson faced multi-time world champion and current point leader, Matt Hagan. Wilkerson made a good run but tire-spin downtrack caused him to slow to a 4.014 E.T. as he approached the 1,000-foot marker, and Hagan was able to hang on, posting the quickest pass of the round for the win.
 
“Good weekend overall. We didn’t hurt anything except our feelings,” said the championship-challenger, who currently occupies the No. 6 spot in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings. “It barely started spinning the tires at about 600 feet in the second round. I caught it, and lifted off the gas, and held it there, but Matt got by me.
 
While Wilkerson didn’t leave Sonoma Raceway with the hardware on Sunday, he is happy with his SCAG/LRS team’s overall performance on the Western Swing.
 
“If I had to assign a grade, I’d give ourselves a B,” he said. “Outside of Denver, we did pretty well; we just mucked up there. Hopefully, we’ll take this momentum and go onto Topeka [Kan.] and Brainerd [Minn.], and finish the regular season strong in Indy. We’re excited about our performance as of late, and again, not hurting anything is a really great thing.”
 
Wilkerson and the Maynard Wilkerson Racing SCAG/LRS team will return to their home base in Springfield, Ill. before they head to Norwalk, Ohio where they will compete in the 46th annual Night Under Fire event at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park on Saturday, Aug. 5, during the one-week break in the NHRA Camping World Series schedule.

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