New Wilkerson Funny Car sure to make waves at Gainesville

ck to enlarge » Longtime major-associate sponsor Diversified Yacht Services (DYS) will take over the primary sponsor position for the Gatornationals with a striking nautical design adorning Tim Wilkerson's Shelby Mustang Funny Car.

Located in Fort Myers, Fla., DYS is a leader and innovator in the yacht services industrys. The company, owned by Levi, Ray & Shoup President Dick Levi and managed by his son, Chief Operating Officer Ryan Levi, will open a new 60,000-square foot Marina and Service Center this spring, including  South Florida's only 150-ton travel lift.

"We've been discussing ways to increase the value of our sponsorships, for Levi, Ray & Shoup, Diversified Yacht Services, and all of our marketing partners," Wilkerson said. "When budgets are tight, the best thing a race team can do is make sure the value they provide is the best it can be, giving the sponsor the most bang for their buck, and we all agreed that our one Florida race would be a great place to run a specially designed car for DYS.

"We've always hosted a large group of DYS staff members and clients in Gainesville, but this year is even more special with the new DYS Marina and Service Center opening up. Racers and race fans are mechanically minded people, so the thought of a 150-ton lift is a cool deal too. We plan to give DYS a good pop of publicity with this Gatornationals car, and we aim to have a good time with all of the folks who are our hospitality guests. It's going to be a neat deal, all around."

Designed by Canham Graphics in Springfield, Ill., the theme incorporates a seawater background and yacht graphics. The 2012 Mustang body is new and will make its debut in Gainesville. [3/1/2012]

Australian Westernationals offers racers bonus points

In a move reminiscent of what the NHRA used to do with the U.S. Nationals, this weekend’s 41st annual Westernationals at Perth Motorplex will multiply all points by 1.5 in a move to encourage more racers to attend the event.

One racer who stands to benefit from the bonus points is doorslammer racer Robin Judd.

Click to enlarge » Judd, who was runner-up in three ANDRA Top Doorslammer championship series (1999-2000, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010) and fourth last season, must reach the finals at this weekend’s event to keep his 2011-2012 championship bid alive.

“You could say that this weekend’s Westernationals is our championship round. It has certainly been our Achilles heel in the past,” Judd said. “However, history has shown that, in most cases, the Westernationals’ winner has gone on to win the championship.”

Judd reached his third-straight Australian Nationals final at Sydney Dragway in September, the season-opening ANDRA championship event, after being the first Australian Top Doorslammer racer to run into 5.7-second zone – a 5.779 at Sydney the week prior to the Nationals.

“We have done extensive testing at Perth Motorplex over the past few months. Our Aeroflow/William Buck Studebaker has the capability to win. We are a great team that can perform well under pressure. The Westernationals is a pressure event and I believe we will come through,” Judd said.  (Phil Luyer photo) [3/1/2012]