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JCM Racing Post-Race Recap: Charlotte 1

Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Event 5 of 21

zMAX Dragway

Concord, N.C.

April 28 – 30, 2023


Top Fuel:


Tony Schumacher Still Chasing Four-Wide Wally


CONCORD, N.C. (April 30, 2023) – As the winningest driver in NHRA Top Fuel history, there isn’t much that Tony Schumacher hasn’t accomplished when it comes to straight-line racing. He has more national event victories (86) and championships (eight) than any other wheelman that has strapped into an NHRA Top Fuel dragster but there is still one thing that has eluded him – a victory from a four-wide event. Schumacher has come close to four-wide success, finishing as the runner-up four times, including twice at zMAX Dragway, and he was hoping this year’s Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals would culminate with him bringing home his first four-wide Wally trophy.


The SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team made three full pulls throughout qualifying to earn a spot on the elimination ladder but despite their best efforts, were unable to crack into the top half of the field by the time positions were set.


Starting from the No. 12 spot on Sunday, Schumacher faced tough competition with Steve Torrence, Dan Mercier, and Josh Hart as his first-round opponents. Schumacher was impressive on the starting line, clocking a 0.34-second reaction time to give him the holeshot advantage, but his machine started to slow as it approached the top end while Torrence and Hart made quicker passes to advance into the next round.


“We made some drastic changes ahead of first round,” explained Schumacher, a two-time winner at zMAX Dragway. “You can’t qualify 12th and have an easy quad. We knew first round was going to be difficult. We knew Josh (Hart) for sure was going to run well, and Mercier has been running great, too. We figured Torrence was going to run in the 60s or a 70 flat, so we knew we needed to run a 70 flat, and my goal was to leave on everybody. We did that, but then pushed a head gasket out. We had a little problem before we started the car this morning, and we had to take the heads off. We got it back together and then pushed a head gasket out.


“These things are cyclical, you know,” added Schumacher. “You go through excellent winning streaks, and then you go through some difficult times. In the end, the teams that become championship teams, and worthy of being champions in the fans’ eyes, are the ones that get through adversity. We don’t point fingers, we don’t get mad at each other. We gather information, we work hard, we test, and go out and win. We’ll find that place. We’re getting closer every day.”


The SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team will have two weeks to regroup before the NHRA’s next event, the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. near Chicago, May 19-21.


Qualified: No. 12 (3.741 E.T. at 323.12 MPH)


Elimination Round Results:

E1: 3.753 E.T. at 320.66 MPH defeated by Josh Hart 3.702 E.T. at 326.79 MPH, Steve Torrence 3.697 E.T. at 329.50 MPH

Funny Car:


Tim Wilkerson Out Early on Race Day After Solid Qualifying Effort


Veteran racer Tim Wilkerson entered his 575th professional event fresh off of a runner-up finish from the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas two weeks prior. Wilkerson’s Las Vegas performance allowed him to reach the final round for the 50th time in his career, and he was hoping to carry that momentum into the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, the second of two four-lane events on the NHRA schedule.


Wilkerson opened the Concord, N.C. race weekend by powering the SCAG Power Equipment/Okuma Ford Mustang to the third-quickest pass of the first qualifying round, earning a bonus point in the process. From there, he went on to clock three more three-second passes, including a 3.899-second at 330.55 MPH run – the fourth-quickest of the final session – to settle into the eighth seed on the Funny Car ladder.


After a lengthy hours-long rain delay, Wilkerson and the SCAG/Okuma team pulled up to the starting line on Sunday afternoon ready to battle it out against Bob Tasca, Ron Capps, and Dave Richards in round one of eliminations. Wilkerson was the first of his quad to step on the throttle, but traction issues early into the run caused him to slow to a 5.276 E.T. while Capps and Tasca drove away with the win to advance into the second round.


“Well, what can I say about this weekend. It had a bit of everything and threw a lot of curveballs at us. We had all the delays on Friday and that is tough. We make the calls on what we want to run based on the schedule and these long delays can get really tricky,” Wilkerson explained, referring to the wet weather and track surface, which delayed qualifying by several hours on Friday evening.


“We are running some new parts and pieces in the car and we are getting it dialed in. We got a little better E.T. with every run. These new parts are coming off of Okuma machines, and I’m really proud that we ran their branding on the car this weekend,” added Wilkerson of the Charlotte-based company, which will appear as a major associate sponsor on the Maynard Wilkerson Racing Ford Mustang at four additional events in 2023. “The folks that I got to meet from that company were all top-tier. And even though we went out and had a pretty tough weekend, our friends from SCAG stayed around through the weather and the delays, and we got to have a fantastic time with their dealers and distributors. I appreciate all of the support that these folks bring to the track and am so blessed to represent these great organizations.”


Wilkerson and the Springfield, Ill.-based SCAG Funny Car team compete next at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at their home track, Route 66 Raceway, in Joliet, Ill., May 19-21.


Qualified: No. 8 (3.899 E.T. at 330.55 MPH)


Elimination Round Results:

E1: 5.276 E.T. at 170.86 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.885 E.T. at 333.57 MPH, Bob Tasca 3.891 E.T. 321.35 MPH


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