“I try not to let it mess with me at all,” Wilkerson said of the past 5 years. “We try to have a 24-hour rule, after 24 hours, it doesn’t matter - win, lose or draw. I just go up there and try to run my car and don't worry about what's going on, but I've got one Ford Mustang body left, just one, and that one just won the U.S. Nationals, and that's the car that I crashed at Topeka. We picked that thing up Tuesday, spent all day Tuesday and half the day Wednesday putting it together, and drove here Thursday morning.
“It was good to get one back on Capps. He has used me up the last two or three years, and I think we've had three or four or five finals and he whupped me every time. But not this time.”
RPM Round By Round:
Wilkerson faced off with young Bobby Bode in round 1. This was the first time the pair had faced off and while neither had a great run, it was Wilkerson who pulled off the win with a 4.611 ET at 218.72.
In the second round, old nemesis John Force would be in the other lane and he held a 42-21 advantage over Wilkerson. Force went up in smoke early which provided Wilkerson the opening he was looking for. He ran a 3.974 ET at 297.81 MPH. for the win.
The semi's brought Cruz Pedregon to the grid and Cruz has been driving with some renewed confidence as of late. Pedregon has a slight advantage in previous matchups leading 24-19 but Wilkerson was feeling good before his run. After Pedregon went up in smoke, Wilkerson had his best run of the day running 3.984 ET at 325.37 MPH.
With having to swap engines quickly before the final, many wondered if Wilkerson would make the start in time but not only did he make the start, he collected his first Wally in 5 years by defeating caps with a great run of 3.912 ET at 320.36 MPH.
Phil Burgess has the full Funny Car recap: