Del Worsham enters the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in first place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He leads second-place Spencer Massey by 126 points. Worsham has clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs.
Worsham won the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals near Seattle on Aug. 7. He defeated Ron Smith, Shawn Langdon, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher on his way to the winner’s circle. Worsham joins Ron Capps as the only drivers to win at Pacific Raceways in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.
With his Aug. 7 win, Worsham now has six wins this season, his career best. His six-win total is also more than any other Full Throttle Series driver this season. His previous career best win total came in 2004 when he won five races in his family-owned Checker, Schucks, Kragen Auto Parts Funny Car. He went on to finish second in points that year, also his career best.
Worsham has never won at Brainerd International Raceway. Last year, he was the No. 11 qualifier and lost to Jack Beckman in the first round of Funny Car eliminations.
Worsham prior to Brainerd:
“Anytime you win a race, it’s big, it’s exciting, and I never take it for granted whether I win six in a season or if I win once in 12 years like I did once in my career. Every win is special because the competition is there trying to do what you’ve just done and that’s win a race.
“It had been a couple of races since our Al-Anabi team won, but nobody on our team was panicking. Denver is kind of a crap shoot; when you go there, you don’t really know what you have. If you happen to win, great, if not, you know it’s just Denver. Sonoma went pretty well; we didn’t win the race, but we beat the No. 2 guy in points and extended out points lead. And then we went into Seattle; we beat the No. 2 guy in points and won the race so I never felt any worries over the last month.
“I don’t know about the rest of competition, but I’m paying close attention to points right now. If we can pull off No. 1 seed going into the Countdown(Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs), that would be huge, and Seattle was a big step towards trying to lock down that No. 1 seed which is what we all really want. It’s definitely not sealed up by any means, but we’ve put a little gap there. When it comes down to it in the end, if you lose the championship by 29 points, and you didn’t have those 30 points, you’d kick yourself in the butt. The 30-point bonus that comes with the top seed is essentially two rounds because they have to win a round and then another to get around you so it’s a pretty big number.
“I’ve never won at Brainerd; I’ve never even been to a final round there. I love going there; I love that so many of the fans stay in the campground. When we get to the track in the morning, the pits are already full of race fans so it’s definitely a cool place to race. I’m looking forward to getting there, winning some rounds and hopefully winning the race, too.”
2010 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon enters the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in fifth place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails fourth-place Tony Schumacher by 27 points and leads fifth-place Doug Kalitta by 283 points. Second through fifth places are separated by just 96 points. Dixon has clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs.
Dixon is the defending champion of the Lucas Oil Nationals. One year ago at Brainerd, Dixon was the No. 4 qualifier; he defeated Steve Chrisman, Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta and Cory McClenathan on his way to the winner’s circle. In the process, he set the track elapsed-time record with a 3.786-second pass. Dixon is a three-time winner at Brainerd International Raceway having also won races there in 1999 and 2001; he is tied for most Top Fuel wins at Brainerd among active drivers.
Dixon earned one bonus point during qualifying in Seattle giving him a season total of 60, more than any other Top Fuel driver. Last year, 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 prior to Brainerd:
“We have two events left in the regular season, and our Al-Anabi team will do everything we can in the last two to jockey for position. It looks like the top five are pretty much locked in place. Two through five in points still can move around, and we’re hoping to use the next two events to move our Al-Anabi team as far up the point standings as we can.
“A driver has to be mentally prepared to make a great run every time you get in the car. The next run might be the one that you can win a round with so you have to be focused. As a driver, you have to do everything you can to help the car. In Joliet, we lost by four thousandths of a second. In Sonoma, we lost by two hundredths of a second; in Seattle, we lost by a thousandth. So it’s not like we’re not running well. We’ve just been on the wrong side of some great drag races.
“Just the opposite, Del has been on the right side of them. Last year, we seemed to win all of the close races, but this year we haven’t yet. That doesn’t mean we’re a fifth place team; it just means we just haven’t won the close races. We’re definitely hoping to start winning some of those close races.
“We won at Brainerd last year, and I’m looking forward to going back there this weekend. Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) and Jason (crew chief Jason McCulloch) tried a very different setup for that particular race, and the car was fast. I don’t know whether they’re going to do that again this year or not, but if they do, I know what to expect.”