Al-Anabi Racing Team Heads To Joliet

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Route 66 Raceway

Del Worsham won the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio last month. He defeated Luigi Novelli, Antron Brown, Morgan Lucas and Spencer Massey on his way to the winner’s circle. It was the first time this season that Worsham won as the No. 1 qualifier, and it was the first time this season that Worsham swept the event with the No. 1 qualifier, top speed of the weekend, low elapsed time of the weekend and the race-winning car. The event sweep is also the first of Worsham’s career.

Del Worsham, Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel driver
Del Worsham, Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel driver

Photo by: Ted Rossino

Worsham enters the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in first place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He leads second-place Spencer Massey by 61 points. Worsham’s 884-point total is higher than any other Full Throttle Series driver.

Worsham has advanced to at least the semifinals in seven of the 10 races this season. In those 10 races, Worsham has four wins, a runner-up and two semifinal appearances making him 24-6 in eliminations this year. He won races at Gainesville, Fla., Charlotte, Baytown, Texas and Norwalk, Ohio.

Worsham has qualified first or second at five of the last seven races including four of the last five. He was the No. 1 qualifier at Norwalk Ohio last month; it was his third No. 1 qualifier of the season.

Worsham has three wins at Route 66 Raceway winning Funny Car titles there in 2001, ’02 and ’04. One year ago, Worsham was the No. 9 qualifier and lost to Tim Wilkerson in the first round of Funny Car eliminations.

When Worsham won his final-round matchup with teammate Larry Dixon in Baytown, Texas May 1, he collected his 400th career round win. He is one of just 17 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers with at least 400-career round wins.

Worsham is one of only five drivers in NHRA history to lead the point standings in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. The others are Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Ed “The Ace” McCulloch and Gary Scelzi.

Worsham joined the Al-Anabi Racing team when it was founded in 2009 after driving for his family-owned Funny Car team since 1990. In 2009 and ’10, Worsham drove the Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Funny Car but joined his teammate in Top Fuel prior to the 2011 season. He competed in 22 races as a Top Fuel driver between 1993 and ’95.

Worsham has 29 wins in his career with four in Top Fuel and 25 in Funny Car; he is one of only 15 drivers in NHRA history to win races in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Worsham is seventh on the NHRA’s all-time Funny Car wins list. Worsham was the 1991 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Worsham prior to Route 66 Raceway:
“I’m feeling great about our Al-Anabi Toyota team as we head into the summer months. Our last win in Norwalk was definitely big because we hadn’t won in a while and because we won in the warmer conditions we’re going to have through the summer so it was a good win. Racing conditions have changed a lot; we’re all gonna have to race this way for next few months and probably first couple of races in countdown. We’re looking forward to fine tuning our summer tune-up.

“This is about the point in the season where I expected our team to start running well; everything before was kind of surprising. I thought it would take a while for us to get our tune up, our crew and my driving working together. For it all to come together as fast as it did was amazing, and it’s a tribute to the way Alan (Al-Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson) and Brian (crew chief Brian Husen) work together.

“It was pretty amazing that after both Al-Anabi cars ran so well at Norwalk, we stayed there to test our warm-weather tune-up. When I looked over my shoulder, there was Spencer Massey testing too so there’s no time to rest. They’re doing the same thing we are; Alan, Brian and Jason (Dixon crew chief Jason McCulloch) have won a lot of championships, and they know what it takes.

“Qualifying in the evenings this weekend will be great for the fans and even the teams because it’s so warm this time of year. With the team and the knowledge we have, I don’t think it’ll be a problem to qualify at night and race during the day. Of all the events on the tour, I think I’ve won more at Route 66 than anywhere else. And I know Alan, Jason and Brian have won a lot there, too so I’m looking forward to racing there this weekend. It’s a great facility with good track that creates some great racing.”

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2010 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon enters the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in third place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails second-place Spencer Massey by 14 points and leads fourth-place Antron Brown by 78 points.

Dixon is the defending champion of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Last year, he was the No. 1 qualifier; he defeated Tim Cullinan, Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher on his way to the winner’s circle. Dixon holds the Route 66 Raceway elapsed time record with a 3.773-second pass that he ran during this event last year.

Dixon is a three-time winner at Route 66 Raceway having won races there in 2002, ’07 and ‘10; he is tied for most Top Fuel wins among active drivers at the suburban Chicago track. Al-Anabi team manager Alan Johnson and Dixon crew chief Jason McCulloch have a fantastic record at Route 66 Raceway. Larry Dixon won the 2010 race at Route 66, but in 2008, ’05 and ’03, Johnson and McCulloch won the Top Fuel title there with Tony Schumacher.

Dixon has advanced to at least the semifinals at six of the 10 races this season including the last three and five of the last seven races. He has one win in three final-round appearances this season.

Dixon has qualified in the top four at nine of the 10 races this season; his average qualifying position is 3.20. He has been the No. 1 qualifier twice this season and 50 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 two No. 1s; John Force and Warren Johnson head the list with 138.

Dixon earned three bonus points during qualifying in Norwalk, Ohio giving him a season total of 50, 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 owns the national elapsed-time record. During the first race of the season in Pomona, Calif., Dixon recorded a 3.770-second pass to take the national ET record.

Dixon is one of only four drivers with more than 900 rounds of NHRA national event competition; the others are John Force, Warren Johnson and Kenny Bernstein, who is third with 1,042 rounds. Dixon has 617 round wins in his 919 rounds.

When Dixon raced Tony Schumacher in the second round at Atlanta Dragway on May 15, it was the 73rd meeting between the two Top Fuel titans. Schumacher now leads the career series 37-36. The Atlanta Dragway meeting was the fourth between the two drivers this season with the season series now tied at 2-2. The drivers have 18 career final-round meetings with Schumacher holding a 12-6 lead.

Dixon leads the NHRA’s all-time Top Fuel final-round appearances list with 107 final rounds. Tony Schumacher is second with 105 final-round appearances.

Dixon is one of the only four NHRA Full Throttle Series drivers with 600-career round wins. The others are John Force, Kenny Bernstein and Warren Johnson. Dixon is fourth on the NHRA’s career round-wins list with 617 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 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 61 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 66 wins. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Route 66 Raceway:
“Every season, you look at this summer stretch of races a little bit differently depending on where you are in points. This year, our Al-Anabi team is working hard to get our car up to where Del’s is. He’s won four races, and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same. We’re fully capable, and we’d like to improve our position in the points as well. So you start looking at how many races are left in the regular season so we can keep improving right up to when the Countdown (Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs) begins, and we’re working hard to try and make that happen.

“Sheik Khalid (Al-Anabi Racing team owner Sheik Khalid Al Thani), Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) and the entire Al-Anabi team have high expectations. When we roll into a race, we all know we have everything it takes to win so that’s kind of where you set your standard. When you don’t win, you work on whatever areas you need to improve so you’re better when you get to the next race. Case in point, we had a win and a semifinal finish last race in Norwalk, but both cars stayed over in Norwalk and tested on Monday. We had a great test. You know other teams are constantly trying to improve, and we’re no different.

“I think you can credit the close competition in Top Fuel this year to teams having multi-car efforts. You have a DSR team with three great-running cars. Now our Al-Anabi team has two great-running cars, and that’s before you get to Kalitta, Lucas and Bernstein. So right off the bat, there’s five teams, most of them multi-car efforts, and they all seem to be running pretty well right now. I don’t think you saw that in previous years; you have teams within teams working so well together where they’d have the same setups in the cars, and it’s making every Top Fuel round very close. It’s certainly tight every time a pair of cars goes down the track, and that’s healthy for competition. The cars are just so closely-matched that it really comes down to whoever hits the setup just right will be the one who wins. For example, in Norwalk, our car wore out a little clutch, and we ran a 93 (3.93-second pass in a semifinal loss to Spencer Massey). Last year, that run might have won the round; this year it won’t.”

By: al-anabi racing team

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Tags al-anabi racing, chicago, dixon, joliet, nhra, route 66 raceway, top fuel, worsham