Wilkerson brings out the big guns on his Full Assault Tour

 

When Tim Wilkerson began the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing campaign, it was the first full season for Wilkerson in the Levi, Ray & Shoup (LRS) Pontiac Funny Car.  As Wilkerson planned the season it became apparent that it should be labeled as the LRS Full Assault Tour and ¿full assault¿ has become the appropriate description of Wilkerson¿s year.  With two races left in the year, Wilkerson is full-speed on his Full Assault Tour.

 

To begin the season, the Springfield, Ill., native opened with a career-best 4.759 sec. E.T. on the first qualifying pass at the 43rd Annual K&N Filters Winternationals.  This gave Wilkerson the No. 1 qualifying position.  From this highlight Wilkerson began to amass more stunning accomplishments as he traveled the tour.

 

To date, Wilkerson¿s season includes:

 

*Two national event wins.

*First and only single-car Funny Car team to win an NHRA national event since   2000.

*Two No.1 qualifying positions.

*Only single-car team to qualify No.1.

*Three final-round appearances in last five races.

*Ran career-best E. T. (4.759 sec.) at K&N Filters Winternationals.

*Ran career-best speed (321.27 mph) at Mac Tools U. S. Nationals.

*Currently ninth in NHRA POWERade championship points standings.

*One of only two Funny Cars that haven¿t oiled the track.

*One of the most consistent Funny Cars on the circuit.

 

¿We started the season on a high with our No. 1 qualifying position,¿ said Wilkerson.  ¿Then we struggled until the western swing.  It may not have been obvious, but that¿s when things started to come together and we began to run better.  One of the reasons is the team.  We added several new members this year and it took awhile for everyone to adjust to each other.  They are now a complete team and the results are great.  We¿ll have the same players next year, which is a definite advantage.

 

¿Another reason is a parts issue.  We started running a different brand blower (supercharger) and it has been a tremendous asset.  It takes one variable out of our tuning decision.  We used to wonder when to change the blower and now we get so many more runs out of it before we need to change it.  We had 11 runs on the one that won Reading.

 

¿The third reason is a motivational one.  Around the middle of the season, Dick Levi called me and said he¿d been watching me race and he thought I looked nervous.  He told me to relax and that they are behind us and will continue to support us for as long as they can.  Hearing that from someone on the outside makes you stand back and take a hard look at things.  If Dick could see something wrong, it must be pretty obvious.  So, I figured that we might as well relax and have fun.¿

 

Wilkerson is just a regular guy who runs a bustling auto repair shop during the week and loves to race in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series on the weekends.  He is a sincere, hard-working, family man and winning races has very special meaning to him.

 

¿Winning Indy was a dream come true,¿ explained Wilkerson.  ¿It¿s such an important race and to be able to say that we won it is so cool.  It also has extra meaning because my wife and kids and so many friends were there to share the win with us.  It also did a lot for the morale of the team.  We had raced nine weeks in a row and were exhausted.  So the win came at a perfect time.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

 

¿When we won Reading, it showed that we really had what it takes and that Indy wasn¿t just a lucky break.  Then there is the added bonus of keeping Dick excited about the race team.  He let us use one of the LRS corporate jets to fly the team to and from Reading.  And when we got off the plane at midnight, Dick and his wife Aggie were waiting for us in the hangar.  We were so exhausted and they wanted to talk and hear all the details about the race.  Dick kept saying how proud he was of the team.  The next morning, Fred (Mandolini, consulting crew chief) called me to say what special people Dick and Aggie are and how lucky we are to have them supporting us.¿

 

Wilkerson¿s single car team stands out in an arena where multi-car teams have the advantage.  He has accomplished feats this year that will go down in the record books.  And with two more races left on the schedule, Wilkerson is still aiming to add more accomplishments to his Full Assault Tour.  So as the teams roll into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Wilkerson is singing a line from a song that he and his sons often sing, ¿we¿re going to be a dark spot in everybody¿s day.¿