Indy ORP: Alan Johnson Al-Anabi names new crew chief

DICKIE VENABLES JOINS ALAN JOHNSON AL-ANABI RACING AS FUNNY CAR CREW CHIEF BROWNSBURG, Ind. -- Dickie Venables has been named the new crew chief of the Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing Funny Car driven by Del Worsham, it was announced today. The...

DICKIE VENABLES JOINS ALAN JOHNSON AL-ANABI RACING AS FUNNY CAR CREW CHIEF

BROWNSBURG, Ind. -- Dickie Venables has been named the new crew chief of the Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing Funny Car driven by Del Worsham, it was announced today. The crew chief change is effective immediately. Venables replaces Aaron Brooks who has been in the position since the beginning of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season.

"Dickie will be a tremendous addition to an already talented Funny Car team at Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing," team owner Alan Johnson said. "As in most sports, when the playoffs begin each team must prepare for a run at the championship, and that is exactly what we are doing by taking advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.

"Aaron Brooks has done a great job creating our Funny Car team from scratch and securing our spot in the Countdown. His efforts have been invaluable, and we have all learned a lot in the first 17 races. With the addition of Dickie's talents and experience, I am confident we are in a stronger position and have a better shot at winning the championship.

"I have been around long enough to know that nothing comes easy in this sport, and a single person will not perform miracles. However, I do believe our team is now stronger, and a solid team effort can put us in position to win the Funny Car championship."

Venables served as a consultant during the team's recent test at O'Reilly Raceway Park and joined the team on a fulltime basis shortly thereafter. Kurt Elliott has also joined the team as assistant crew chief. Venables comes to Alan Johnson Racing from Pedregon Racing where he served as Tony Pedregon's crew chief; the team led the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car point standings when he resigned late last month.

Venables won the 2007 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car title with Tony Pedregon and served as the assistant crew chief for Pedregon's John Force Racing team when Pedregon won the 2003 Funny Car championship. Venables and Pedregon left Force Racing together after the 2003 championship season to join Pedregon Racing as crew chief and driver of the team's second Funny Car entry.

"I'm extremely excited to join Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing, and I am looking forward to working with Alan," Venables said. "They've put together one of the finest Funny Car teams out there, and I'm excited to be a part of it. Our main goal right now is to get some consistency so the car goes down the track every time.

"The team is already qualified for the countdown (Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs), and the way the countdown works, after this race, we'll all have a shot at the championship after they reset the points. So looking at it like that, if we can get some direction during the U.S. Nationals, we know we can be in contention for the championship."

Entering the 55th Annual U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis this weekend, Worsham is seventh in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car point standings and has qualified for the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs. The team won races at Madison, Ill. and Bristol, Tenn. Brooks will remain with Alan Johnson Racing in a yet-to-be-determined capacity.

-credit: ajaar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham