Houston: Worsham, Dunn, Edwards among top qualifiers

BAYTOWN, Texas - Del Worshan held on to the top spot in Funny Car after Saturday's final qualifying at the NHRA's O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Worsham needed a quarter-mile run of 4.810 seconds at 313.22 mph in his Checker Schuck's ...

BAYTOWN, Texas - Del Worshan held on to the top spot in Funny Car after Saturday's final qualifying at the NHRA's O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Worsham needed a quarter-mile run of 4.810 seconds at 313.22 mph in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird to earn his first top qualifying position since 1991.

Mike Dunn, Mike Edwards, Antron Brown and Bob Panella also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective divisions at the $1.8 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing event at Houston Raceway Park.

At the close of Saturday's qualifying, Worsham ended a 189 race drought of not qualifying on the pole. "There was a couple of years there in 1994 and 1995 that I wasn't considering quitting, but I was definitely considering on whether I was going to go the next race or not," Worsham said. "It turned around and hopefully we have turned the corner and we're on to having great success." With just his second top qualifying position of his career, Worsham will face rookie Tony Bartone in the first round of Funny Car eliminations.

Mike Dunn led the Top Fuel category with a run of 4.534 at 323.50 mph on Saturday. After Dunn recorded the fastest speed in the NHRA's 50 year history in first-round of qualifying, the Yankee dragster team was gunning for the top position. "We kind of got off track trying to go for that speed thing," said Dunn, whose 331.61 mph blast on Friday eclipsed Tony Schumacher's run of 330.23 mph. "We finally just said let's just go for E.T. If it stays on all eight cylinders it will back up the record. Unfortunately it didn't." Dunn will square off with Chris Karamesines in the first round at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Edwards held off the Pro Stock division with a pass of 6.843 at 200.68 in his Young Life Chevrolet Cavalier. Edwards' pole position was originally established in Friday's qualify session. "We didn't run in the first session today because we wanted to focus on Ron's (Krisher) car," said Edwards, who doubles a Krisher's crew chief. "I worked on his all day today and got it pretty good tonight, which makes me feel better. Hopefully we'll be able to go some rounds tomorrow." Edwards will face 2000 NHRA Winston Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin in the first round of Sunday's eliminations.

Brown's Team 23 Suzuki led the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle field in NHRA history with a pass of 7.167 at 186.41. Brian Delong anchored the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle field in NHRA history with a 7.376 second pass and will face Brown in the first round.

Panella set both ends of the NHRA Pro Stock Truck national record with a run of 7.420 at 182.11 in his Panella Trucking Chevy S-10. After claiming eight top qualifying positions in 2000, this will be Panella's first pole of the season and will take on Charles Greco in Sunday's first round.

-NHRA

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Mike Dunn , Tony Bartone , Chris Karamesines , Mike Edwards