Al-Anabi Racing Team preview

Las Vegas

■ Del Worsham enters the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals in first place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He leads second-place by Tony Schumacher by 24 points. In the season’s first two races, Worsham has a win and a semifinal appearance making him 6-1 in eliminations so far this season.

■ Worsham won the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals one race ago in Gainesville, Fla. He was the No. 10 qualifier but stormed to the winner’s circle from the bottom half of the field defeating Brandon Bernstein, Antron Brown, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher along the way.

■ With the Gatornationals win, the 26th of his career, Worsham became just the 15th driver in NHRA history to win NHRA national events in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

■ Worsham has never won on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year at this event, he was the No. 1 qualifier and advanced to the Funny Car semifinals.

■ Worsham’s dragster is No. 99 as a “thank you” to Al-Anabi Racing team owner, His Highness Sheik Khalid Al Thani. Some time ago, Worsham learned that the number nine is Sheik Khalid’s favorite number. Because he started in Top Fuel this year and had no number based on the previous year’s points, Worsham thought his car’s number should be No. 99 as a tribute to Al Thani.

■ The two Al-Anabi Toyota dragsters sport similar paint schemes with different Al-Anabi logos and numbers. Worsham’s car has a gold Al-Anabi logo on each side of the car, a gold No. 99 on the wing and “Qatar” in gold across the front of the wing. Dixon’s car has a silver No. 1, a silver Al-Anabi logo on each side of the car and “Qatar” in silver across the front of his wing.

■ Worsham has 26 wins in his career with one in Top Fuel and 25 in Funny Car; he is seventh on the NHRA’s all-time Funny Car wins list.

Worsham prior to Las Vegas:

“I don’t so much feel like the points leader as much as I do like the guy that won the last race. It’s so early in the season that it hasn’t really entered my mind much. But it’s nice to win one of our first two races. It’s cool to see my name in the Top Fuel points especially at the top of the standings, but it’s too early in the season to get too excited about anything. So far, the switch to Top Fuel has worked out like management thought it would so I need to thank everyone at Al-Anabi Racing for making this happen.

“We’re two races in, and my comfort level still isn’t anywhere near where it was in the Al-Anabi Toyota Funny Car. We’ve had some good races and done well in eliminations so far, but there are still things we need to work on; my driving and my comfort in the car have to get better. There are still things that, for me as a driver, I have to get used to that can only come with time.

“The same is true for working with Brian (crew chief Brian Husen) as we kind of get used to each other; tuning for a different driver will take some time. Brian and Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) picked up right where they left off last year; they already have a car that can win so it’s a matter of Brian getting used to me and me getting used to everything. Larry (Dixon) and I are different builds with different weights, and we drive a little differently. We are making adjustments as we learn things, and hopefully, we’ll all be a little more comfortable as we run more races together.”

■ 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon enters the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals tied with Morgan Lucas for fourth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails third-place Shawn Langdon by one point and leads sixth-place Antron Brown by six points. Dixon trails his teammate, points leader Del Worsham, by 39 points.

■ With his first-round win at the NHRA Gatornationals on March 13, Dixon claimed the 600th round win of his career joining John Force, Kenny Bernstein and Warren Johnson as the only NHRA Full Throttle Series drivers with 600 career round wins. Dixon is fourth on the NHRA’s career round wins list with 601 round wins; Bernstein is third with 681 round wins. Dixon won 62 rounds last season which is his career best and second most ever in Top Fuel; Tony Schumacher won 76 rounds in 2008.

■ Dixon is the defending champion of the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals. One year ago, he defeated Steve Faria, Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta and Cory McClenathan on his way to the winner’s circle. Dixon is a five-time winner on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and four of his five wins came in the spring event. He won Las Vegas races in 2010, 2005, 2003 and both races in 2002.

■ One race ago in Gainesville, Fla., Dixon was the No. 4 qualifier; in eliminations, he defeated Terry McMillan and Steve Torrence before losing to Tony Schumacher in the semifinals when the input shaft on his Al-Anabi dragster failed.

■ Dixon earned eight bonus points in qualifying at Gainesville, more than any other Top Fuel driver. He has 14 bonus points this season, also more than any other driver. Last season, the Al-Anabi driver earned 130 qualifying bonus points, more than any other Top Fuel driver and 43 more than the next-highest competitor.

■ Dixon won 12 races last season, more than any other year in his career. He is the first professional driver in NHRA history to win 12 races in 12 final rounds in a season. His 12-win total was also more than any other driver in the four NHRA Full Throttle classes this year. His 12 wins happened at Pomona, Calif., Baytown, Texas, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Joliet, Ill., Englishtown, N.J., Norwalk, Ohio, Sonoma, Calif., Brainerd, Minn., Indianapolis, Charlotte and Reading, Pa.

■ Dixon is tied for the lead of NHRA’s all-time Top Fuel final-round appearances list with 104 final rounds. Tony Schumacher also has 104 final-round appearances.

■ Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier 49 times in his career placing him ninth on the NHRA’s all-time No. 1 qualifier list for all classes. He trails eighth-place Don Prudhomme by three No. 1s; Warren Johnson heads the list with 138.

■ Dixon won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 2002, ’03 and ‘10. He is second on the NHRA’s all-time Top Fuel winner’s list with 60 victories; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 67 wins. Dixon is seventh on the NHRA’s all-time career victories list for all professional categories; Greg Anderson is in sixth place with 65 wins. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Las Vegas:

“Those (round win) numbers look great when you’re retired, but I’m not, and I don’t have any plans to retire. I hope I can add a lot of round wins to that total before I’m done. But with that said, it’s certainly an honor to be mentioned with the other drivers with 600 rounds wins. They are certainly some of the best racers in NHRA history, and I’m honored to be mentioned with them.

“The points let us know where we are at this point in the season, and it’s clear we don’t have enough round wins. For the last two races, we’ve had an awesome car, but one thing or another has kept us out of the winner’s circle. We’ll have our same horse in Vegas, ride it and hopefully get the results all of us want.

“Del (Worsham) has been driving race cars a long time, and he’s raced a lot of great drivers in our sport so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s doing so well and leading the points. Del’s got a great car, a great crew chief in Brian Husen, a great crew and like all of us at Al-Anabi Racing, he has Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) leading the charge. Del could easily have two wins on the season instead of one because he had a similar problem in Pomona (Calif.) to the one I had in Gainesville (Fla.). We didn’t get our all-Al-Anabi final round at Gainesville, but I hope we have a lot more chances as the season goes on….20 to be exact.

“This Top Fuel season is off to a pretty impressive start. It’s certainly gonna be at least as competitive as last year in Top Fuel if not more. We have two Al-Anabi Top Fuel cars, and we’ve tried to improve our program. Obviously the DSR cars have tried to improve their packages as have the rest of the teams. So it should be even better than last year, and from that point, you just hope you can be a little better than the rest of your competition. I know that’s how both Al-Anabi teams will approach this season.”

-source: al-anabi racing team

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