Wilkerson, Maynard Family join forces for NHRA 2023 Funny Car Campaign

Maynard Wilkerson Racing's SCAG-sponsored Ford Mustang Funny Car will compete in all 21 races this year - photo courtesy Maynard Wilkerson Racing
Maynard Wilkerson Racing’s SCAG-sponsored Ford Mustang Funny Car will compete in all 21 races this year – photo courtesy Maynard Wilkerson Racing

For the past 27 seasons, Tim Wilkerson has competed as an NHRA Funny Car independent, with sponsorship from information technology company Levi, Ray & Shoup, whose headquarters are in his hometown of Springfield , IL. Wilkerson has been exceptionally successful with his independently-fielded Ford Mustang Funny Car in NHRA’s Camping World Drag Racing Series, finishing second in the Funny Car class in 2008 and making the Countdown to the Championship every season NHRA has had its playoffs.

Wilkerson’s success in professional drag racing hasn’t been achieved with a huge input of sponsor dollars. It’s been done with his dedication, and with assistance from everyone in the NHRA pits, probably one of the most open garage areas in all of motorsport. Wilkerson’s work ethic and his kindness to everyone have made his pits one of the most popular for those competing in the sport and for the fans who have been following Wilkerson’s career from the start.

One thing Wilkerson hasn’t been able to do on his own, though, is keep the number of parts in stock that major teams are able to acquire. “I haven’t bought new cylinder heads in 10 years,” he explained. He’ll be able to do that now, as JCM Racing is teaming up with the 22-time race victor as co-owner of the team that will compete as Maynard Wilkerson Racing in 2023 and will see the addition of JCM Racing partner SCAG Power Equipment as primary sponsor. Levi, Ray & Shoup will continue as partners, keeping that long-standing relationship ongoing.

Tim Wilkerson will have the resources he needs to succeed in 2023 – Anne Proffit photo

Wilkerson, who finished ninth in the 2022 NHRA Funny Car standings, talked with Maynard last year about combining their squads so that both Wilkerson and Tony Schumacher, the eight-time Top Fuel titleholder, could offer one another information and physical assistance as needed. 

“SCAG approached us toward the end of the 2022 NHRA season and explained that they were interested in expanding their partnership with our team and would like to have representation in the Funny Car category,” Maynard explained. “Naturally, we thought Tim would be an excellent fit. As a self-built business owner and someone who wears many different hats throughout his day-to-day operation, Tim is a relatable guy who appeals to the masses. He’s a hard worker, a true get-your-hands-dirty type. And, let’s face it, what’s not to like about Tim Wilkerson? He’s one of the most well-liked and respected drivers in our sport.”

SCAG Motorsports CEO Randy Gloede believes this new relationship with Wilkerson’s team, one that he’s truly enthusiastic about, will allow his new partner to be an excellent representative for SCAG dealers that come to the tracks. “We wanted to add a Funny Car team and expand our brand, giving our dealers more of an experience at the tracks, something they’ll remember forever, because most of them bring their whole families to the races.” 

Tim Wilkerson’s operation was a natural for SCAG and for Gloede: “Not only has Tim spent the last two-plus decades running his Funny Car operation as an owner/driver/tuner, but he also owns and operates a successful auto repair shop. Tim does it all, much like many of our 1,400 SCAG dealers across the country.”

SCAG entered NHRA competition during last year’s Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida, expecting to have a seven-race primary/six-race co-primary partnership with Tony Schumacher’s dragster. By September of 2022, that relationship had bloomed to secure primary affiliation with the Schumacher-driven JCM Top Fuel entry for a minimum of the next three years. Four months down the road, SCAG, headquartered in Mayville, Wisc., and Gloede have committed to an even greater stake in NHRA with this news.

“We’ve seen firsthand, through our partnership with the Maynards and Tony Schumacher, how our investment in NHRA drag racing has enhanced the value of our distributor and dealer customer experience,” Gloede outlined. “That, coupled with the brand exposure to NHRA’s large and loyal fanbase, led us to decide to increase our level of commitment within the sport. We’re excited to have Tim join Tony in representing the SCAG brand, and look forward to the opportunity to compete for championships in NHRA’s two nitro categories.”

The added support from JCM Racing and SCAG will allow Wilkerson to continue as both tuner and driver of his race car and the crew he’s worked with will remain intact, including longtime ‘right-hand-man’ Richard Hartman. Both SCAG and Levi, Ray & Shoup (LRS) will share branding on Wilkerson’s car at all 21 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series events.

Joe Maynard’s enthusiasm for the sport of NHRA drag racing keeps growing – Anne Proffit photo

With 49 final round appearances in his career, Wilkerson is excited to welcome Joe and Cathi Maynard to his racing family. “Joe and Cathi run a first-class operation, and they have a quality sponsor who was looking for a Funny Car. I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve got a good car and I think Joe and I partnering as co-owners on the SCAG/LRS Mustang will provide that extra boost my team has needed to help take us to the next level, where we can compete for a championship.

“I’m still going to run the team,” Wilkerson confirmed, “but this is a great opportunity for my operation to grow. I’ve been trying to win a championship for many years, and this investment will allow me to run my car a little harder. I’ll have access to additional personnel  and the incredible team of tuners (including Schumacher’s crew chief Mike Neff) Joe has assembled at JCM. I’ll never turn down another set of good eyes.

“I’m proud to represent SCAG and have their logo on the car alongside my long-term sponsors such as LRS and Summit Racing Equipment. Summit has been with me for 15 years, LRS has been along for the ride for 23, and I can’t thank them enough for their continued support,” Wilkerson said. “There are a lot of pluses to this new venture; no minuses at all. I look forward to this being a long-term relationship with both JCM and SCAG, and I look forward to sharing many winner’s circles with the Maynards.”

Wilkerson has needed that extra 10 percent worth of new parts and pieces to bring his competition level to the heights it needs to be, in order to bring the veteran the championship he’s been working towards all these years. Doing it independently kept him in the NHRA’s Funny Car Top 10, but there was always a little something extra he needed. Maynard Wilkerson Racing will begin their new era at Gainesville March 9-12, when NHRA begins its 2023 season. 

Wilkerson will continue to work with Buddy Hull’s Top Fuel operation and Chad Green’s Funny Car team, but with his new relationship, he will probably be less available to assist them than he has been in the past. “I don’t have to race scarred anymore because of the SCAG investment; it’s little things that make these cars go fast and there’s nothing but upside for me,” he confirmed.

Tony Schumacher will attempt to earn his ninth Top Fuel title in 2023 – Anne Proffit photo

Maynard will be looking for added success as he grows his brand in NHRA racing. “My outlook for the 2023 season? I’d like to see some double-ups and quite frankly, I’d like to see Tim Wilkerson win his first and Tony Schumacher his ninth championships, but we’re looking at top three for both of them – for sure.”

By Anne Proffit

About Anne Proffit 1010 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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