NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Event 4 of 21
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 14 – 16, 2023
Tim Wilkerson Takes JCM Racing to First Funny Car Final at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
LAS VEGAS (April 16, 2023) – Racing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, veteran driver and tuner Tim Wilkerson took his SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang to its first final-round outing as a member of the Maynard Wilkerson Racing team. In his milestone 50th final round appearance, Wilkerson claimed the runner-up honors as he seeks the first Funny Car win for the Maynard family and JCM Racing organization.
Wilkerson qualified eighth with a 3.967-second best set during the first qualifying session on Friday. He went on to record two more 3.96-second passes in eliminations, beginning with a low-for-the-round 3.963 E.T. at 322.27 MPH to advance with Cruz Pedregon out of their opening-round quad. Wilkerson slowed to a 4.053 E.T. in the second round, but it was enough to finish ahead of Chad Green, Blake Alexander, and Pedregon.
Just like in the second round, it was a Wilkerson family affair in the finals, as Tim’s son Daniel tunes Green’s Mustang Funny Car. Wilkerson reached the finish line before John Force and Green with a 3.969 E.T. at 319.45, following Matt Hagan’s winning 3.943-second effort.
“It was good to get three cracks at the track on race day today,” said Wilkerson, who won the Las Vegas spring race in 2008. “We’re going to stay here (Monday) and test some DSR Performance cylinder heads. We haven’t run them yet; we’ve still been running stuff from last year. But, overall, I’m really proud of my guys. Everyone did a great job this weekend, we just got dogged by Hagan and his Dodge today, and we need to get by that guy.”
Beyond the on-track excitement, Wilkerson’s weekend in Las Vegas was highlighted by time spent with SCAG Power Equipment dealers.
“The cool thing about Vegas is, four-wide qualifying was early in the day so we were able to get out of the track at a decent hour and have fun with the SCAG dealers and join them at dinner,” said Wilkerson, one of three NHRA Camping World Series drivers representing SCAG this season. “I always enjoy meeting our SCAG guests, they’re always a good time.”
Wilkerson moved up a spot to seventh in points with his runner-up finish. Following testing, the Maynard Wilkerson Racing team will compete again April 28-30 at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, where Wilkerson returns as the 2016 event champ.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.967 E.T. at 312.06 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.963 E.T. at 322.27 MPH defeated Steven Densham 4.767 E.T. at 193.05 MPH, Bobby Bode (Broke, no time)
E2: 4.053 E.T. at 310.70 MPH defeated Blake Alexander 5.271 E.T. at 141.89 MPH, Cruz Pedregon 11.088 E.T. at 72.22 MPH
E3: 3.969 E.T. at 319.45 MPH defeated John Force 4.005 E.T. at 321.81 MPH, Chad Green 4.222 E.T. at 250.74 MPH; defeated by Matt Hagan 3.943 E.T. at 326.79 MPH
Tony Schumacher and SCAG Top Fuel Team Continue to See Advances in Their Performance
Tony Schumacher was looking to take care of some unfinished business by capturing his first four-wide Wally trophy at this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas. Ahead of the first of two back-to-back four-wide events, Schumacher remarked that the last time he and crew chief Mike ‘Zippy’ Neff raced the Spring Las Vegas event together as driver/crew chief in 2018, they advanced to the final quad and were leading their three opponents until a mechanical malfunction cost them the race. Neff and Schumacher reunited for the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season, and after seeing an uptick in performance at the series’ most recent event in Pomona, Calif., the duo felt they had the car to get the job done on Sunday in Las Vegas.
With 86 national event wins, including his class-best eight triumphs from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a win from the unique four-wide format is one of the few things that has eluded Schumacher throughout his storied career. He’s come close to four-wide success, finishing as the runner-up in 2012 and 2017 in Charlotte, in addition to advancing to the final quad in Las Vegas in 2018 and again in 2022.
Schumacher’s quest for the Sunday hardware began with a solid qualifying performance in which he placed the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel dragster eighth on the elimination ladder by recording a 3.763 E.T. in the opening session. He then went on to make two more good passes, and once the fields were set, Schumacher found himself facing a tough first-round contest with fellow world champs Brittany Force and Antron Brown. Force left first and Schumacher and Brown left together shortly after. All three drivers charged hard to the finish line stripe with the trio posting 3.78 E.T.s across the board, but Force and Brown held the slight lead to power through the beams first to advance, eliminating Schumacher after the first round.
“This was week two in a row of coming up on the bad end of one hell of a drag race, but we’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season so despite the early loss today, I feel good about where our team is headed,” said Schumacher. “We used to smoke the tires three out of every four runs, and now we’re getting down the track every time. Patience will pay off. Our SCAG team is doing a hell of a job, the guys are working extremely hard. We will find the tune-up that will get us three-hundredths quicker. Right now, we’re losing really close drag races but I’m not stressing it because everyone that’s been around the sport knows those tables will turn. Anyone that has ever watched Mike Neff, Jon Schaffer, Phil Shuler, and myself work together knows that it’s just a matter of time.”
Schumacher and the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team will have another shot to pick up a four-wide trophy when the NHRA heads east to Concord, N.C. near Charlotte for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, April 28-30.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.763 E.T. at 325.77 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.789 E.T. at 325.77 MPH defeated by Brittany Force 3.785 E.T. at 327.74 MPH, Antron Brown 3.780 E.T. at 321.65 MPH