Wilkerson Rolls on in Charlotte

T.Wilkerson

Wilkerson continues to have a hot hand, leading Funny Car qualifying after Friday's opening day of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals. (Photo: NHRA)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson raced to the qualifying lead Friday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the first of six NHRA playoff events.

Wilkerson led the Funny Car field with a time of 4.048 seconds at 309.70 mph in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang and continued his momentum from the U.S. Nationals, where he made a late charge to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

"We've had a good car the last two races and we're trying to capitalize on it starting in qualifying," Wilkerson said.  “I think qualifying points will play a big part of this.  Bonus points got me into the Countdown when you look at Brainerd and Indianapolis.  I curse them when I'm doing badly and applaud them when I'm doing well.  I'm a perfect politician.”

In Top Fuel, Langdon powered his Al-Anabi dragster to a performance of 3.807 at 324.12 mph.  This would be his second top qualifying position in a row and third of the season if his performance stands after Saturday’s final rounds (at 12:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. ET).

“I guess right now would be the perfect time to peak," Langdon said.  "We've been making a lot of changes to the car and it's been responding very well.  We saw a bunch of cars smoke the tires in front of us on the last run.  I saw Alan [Johnson, tuner] and Brian [Husen, crew chief] get busy making adjustments, and whatever they did held.  There's a possibility we could improve on that tomorrow but hopefully, it will stick.”

In Pro Stock, Vincent Nobile claimed the top position by powering his Mountain View Tire Dodge Avenger to a performance of 6.548 at 211.03 mph.  If his time stands, this would be his first career No. 1 qualifying position.
 
“I’m new to this.  I’ve never been No. 1 before,” Nobile said.  “I knew it was a great run.  I’m shocked at how fast we went.  We went back, looked at our computer graph and it was literally a perfect run.  I have to thank the crew for giving me a great car.”

Hines, who has earned two No. 1 qualifying positions this season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, earned the qualifying lead with a performance of 6.851 at 195.82 mph on his Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson.

“Both runs were very exceptional,” Hines said. “The bike ran perfectly straight and that’s when it puts up big elapsed times.  We credit that to the testing we did before Indy.  With our set-up, we run a good 330-foot number and that translates to our quarter-mile runs.”

* * *
Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the fifth annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at zMax Dragway, the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel - 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.807 seconds, 324.12 mph; 2. Spencer Massey, 3.811, 322.73; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.817, 320.05; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.818, 326.95; 5. Brandon Bernstein, 3.822, 304.94; 6. Bob Vandergriff, 3.842, 322.73; 7. Cory McClenathan, 3.904, 303.43; 8. David Grubnic, 3.916, 303.09; 9. Steve Torrence, 3.919, 314.75; 10. Khalid alBalooshi, 4.105, 246.12; 11. Morgan Lucas, 4.314, 197.54; 12. Antron Brown, 4.353, 207.08.  Not Qualified: 13. Ike Maier, 4.361, 204.85; 14. Clay Millican, 4.517, 173.90; 15. Larry Dixon, 4.727, 157.10; 16. Terry McMillen, 5.525, 124.57; 17. Dom Lagana, 5.696, 114.02; 18. Pat Dakin, 6.603, 77.67; 19. Chris Karamesines, 11.879, 50.25.

Funny Car - 1. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.048, 309.70; 2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.084, 309.56; 3. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.093, 313.44; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.099, 305.08; 5. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.116, 308.99; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.123, 301.54; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.124, 307.09; 8. Jeff Arend, Camry, 4.132, 308.21; 9. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.133, 302.62; 10. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.137, 303.03; 11. John Force, Mustang, 4.141, 308.50; 12. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.143, 303.78.  Not Qualified: 13. Courtney Force, 4.156, 277.15; 14. Alexis DeJoria, 4.198, 295.79; 15. Johnny Gray, 4.241, 254.90.

Pro Stock - 1. Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.548, 211.03; 2. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.554, 211.63; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.560, 211.66; 4. Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.563, 211.56; 5. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.564, 212.23; 6. Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.566, 210.77; 7. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.580, 210.50; 8. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 6.595, 210.47; 9. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.595, 209.46; 10. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.598, 209.82; 11. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.606, 210.24; 12. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.607, 209.88.  Not Qualified: 13. Shane Gray, 6.611, 209.79; 14. V. Gaines, 6.611, 209.98; 15. Kurt Johnson, 6.622, 209.17; 16. Frank Gugliotta, 6.658, 207.18; 17. Lewis Worden, 7.122, 192.25; 18. John Gaydosh Jr, 7.403, 193.71.

Pro Stock Motorcycle - 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.851, 195.82; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.853, 195.85; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.854, 195.14; 4. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.881, 194.66; 5. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.912, 193.35; 6. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.931, 191.95; 7. John Hall, Buell, 6.941, 191.21; 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.963, 192.11; 9. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.966, 192.74; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.971, 190.11; 11. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.993, 192.41; 12. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.008, 191.00.  Not Qualified: 13. Chip Ellis, 7.010, 189.73; 14. LE Tonglet, 7.611, 132.33; 15. Steve Johnson, 7.981, 118.27.

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