ARLINGTON, Texas – Daniel Wilkerson will make his return to the NHRA’s Funny Car class during the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Oct. 12-15.
Wilkerson, son of Funny Car veteran Tim Wilkerson, will wheel a car branded with a special Summit Racing Texas scheme. Tim Wilkerson will serve as tuner on his son’s car in addition to driving his own Levi, Ray & Shoup Funny Car during the same event.
The Summit Racing paint scheme celebrates the grand opening of the new 32,000-square foot Retail Super Store and Summit Racing’s largest warehouse in Arlington, Texas, in September.
At the conclusion of the race, the younger Wilkerson’s Summit Racing Texas-themed carbon fiber Funny Car body will be displayed in the Summit Racing Equipment retail store in Arlington.
“It is so cool that our Summit Racing Texas car will be memorialized there as part of the history of the new facility,” said Wilkerson. “It’s awesome. Summit Racing has been with Team Wilkerson for a long time, and they have become like family to us. I’ve been fortunate enough to drive a Summit Racing-branded Funny Car before, and truthfully, we’re a Summit family, through and through. It’s an honor to drive this beautiful car, and I can’t wait to see the new store – the whole experience is going to be something we’ll always remember.”
Wilkerson most recently competed at a match race in Epping in 2016. The first round of qualifying will be the first time he’s driven a nitro Funny Car since then, but the second-generation drag racer isn’t a bit unnerved.
“I don’t ever get nervous about driving these cars, but I do get really excited,” said Wilkerson, who is an accountant by trade. “People ask me what I do to get amped up for racing, but I actually have to go the opposite way. I have to calm down, because being able to drive a nitro Funny Car is such a cool experience. I just get so excited.”
Wilkerson made his nitro Funny Car debut in 2009 in Topeka, where he qualified No. 8. In all, he has raced at and qualified for 10 previous NHRA national events in the category. His first round win came in 2011 at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, where he qualified a career-best No. 6 and defeated Paul Lee. At the U.S. Nationals later that year, the surging young driver again qualified No. 6 – this time with a career best 4.090-second pass at 307.37 mph – and scored another round win. His most recent NHRA event was the 2016 Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, N.C.
Although he has not driven in NHRA competition since last season, Wilkerson has been a regular at the racetrack as crew chief on the Funny Car driven by Brian Stewart.
“I’m kind of a crew chief through Tim’s crew chief-ness,” said Wilkerson with a smile, referring to his father, 20-year nitro veteran Tim Wilkerson. “Tim oversees a lot of what goes on. It’s his tune-up, and I just get to make little calls on it. I come in and tickle Tim’s recipe rather than setting everything up.
“I’ve never driven at Dallas before, but I’ve worked on Stewart’s car there. I’m pretty excited to get to drive there this time around. It’s a great place with a lot of history, and it was the first supertrack. That’s exciting for me, too. It’s going to be a great weekend.”