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Wilkerson ends yearlong winless drought in NHRA

KENT, Wash. (AP) - Tim Wilkerson ended a yearlong winless drought by racing to his third consecutive Funny Car title at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways on Sunday.

Wilkerson drove his Ford Mustang to a 4.146-second run at 300.53 mph to defeat Jack Beckman, who finished in 4.598 at 238.64.

"We've really got a good handle on this place for sure," said Wilkerson, who also won here in 2009 and 2010. "This win really couldn't come at a better time for this team. Hopefully we can stay on this roll and take it on to Brainerd and right into Indy (Mac Tools U.S. Nationals). This win is definitely a big morale boost for my team and really helps our position in the Countdown for sure."

Wilkerson moved up to ninth in the point standings with his 17th career victory and greatly improved his chances for earning a berth in the Countdown to the Championship. The NHRA playoffs begin Sept. 15-18 in Charlotte, N.C.

Del Worsham (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also won their divisions.

Worsham earned his sixth victory of the season and 31st of his career by outrunning Tony Schumacher, posting a 3.891 at 316.38 to hold of Schumacher's 3.915 at 313.95.

Line took his fourth Pro Stock win of the season and 25th of his career by beating teammate Greg Anderson, making a pass in 6.553 and 210.87 to defeat Anderson, who trailed with a 6.567 at 211.13.

The NHRA season continues Aug. 18-21 with the 30th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. 

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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