The NHRA Topeka Nationals at Heartland Park, an event nearly left of the 2016 NHRA Calendar, proved to be quite the ride for Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson in Saturday night’s semi-finals against Jack Beckman.
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As soon as the flag was dropped, Wilkerson’s Funny Car spun hard to the right, made an out of control 360 and then slammed into the wall in the opposing lane.
Wilkerson immediately leaped out of the car, uninjured, as flames licked at the bottom of the vehicle. The safety team responded immediately to set out the fire, but the Funny Car was definitely worse for wear, a particularly frustrating state of events for Wilkerson’s team as the car had a new chassis and body.
“We still don’t know what happened. From the tracks here, it looks like the car probably broke an axle or scooped a hub out because it was going along and just made a right turn,” said Wilkerson. “After it made that turn, the car hit the wall and got itself in its own oil with one tire still spinning. The car was like a top going in circles.”
We hope his team can put the car back together for the next race, and it’s always a relief to see a driver walk away from a crash.