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NHRA Pomona Friday Qualifying: Funny Car Rookie Daniel Wilkerson Leads the Way

daniel wilkerson nhra funny car
NHRA Pomona Friday Qualifying: Rookie Leads FieldNHRA/National Dragster
  • In a full-time Funny Car ride for the first time in his career, Daniel Wilkerson made the most of his opportunity on Friday.

  • Billy Torrence leads in Top Fuel and is in line for his sixth No. 1 qualifying effort.

  • Enders is going after her second straight No. 1 qualifier to start the season.


Funny Car rookie Daniel Wilkerson put himself in position for his first career No. 1 qualifier on Friday, racing to the provisional top spot at the 64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip.

Billy Torrence (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the second of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series.

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In a full-time ride for the first time in his career, Daniel Wilkerson made the most of his opportunity on Friday, taking the top spot with a 4.014 at 314.31 in his 11,000-horsepower Scag Power Equipment Ford Mustang. That puts Wilkerson in line for his first career top qualifier, which would be a huge moment in his career. He stepped into the driver role this year, with his father, Funny Car veteran Tim Wilkerson, calling the shots as crew chief. On Friday, it worked out wonderfully for the father-son duo.

“It was a little squirrely but I got it to the end,” said Wilkerson, who will be competing for NHRA Rookie of the Year honors this year. “It got a little loose coming out of the middle of the track and I was almost yelling at myself steering the car. But it worked out and I was happy with it. All of this, it almost hasn’t set in yet, but it’s been a lot of fun so far.”

Jeff Diehl took the second spot on Friday after going 4.050 at 306.81 and Chad Green, who won in Pomona last year to end the season, is third with a 4.110 at 302.96.

a race car with flames coming out of the tires
Billy Torrence is the driver to beat in Top Fuel after Friday’s qualifying.NHRA/National Dragster

In Top Fuel, Billy Torrence powered to the top on Friday, going 3.745 at 330.47 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. If that holds, Torrence would earn his sixth career No. 1 qualifier, as both Torrence cars made strong runs during the lone qualifying session of the day. His son, Steve, is currently second after the four-time world champ went 3.750 at 328.30, giving the team plenty of momentum for the weekend. They also meet tomorrow in the opening round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge.