Ron Krisher puts Chevy Cavalier in winner's circle - Del Worsham scores Pontiac Funny Car victory MADISON, Ill., June 30, 2003 - Chevrolet's Ron Krisher earned his first win of the season, and his second career victory at Gateway ...
Ron Krisher puts Chevy Cavalier in winner's circle - Del Worsham scores Pontiac Funny Car victory
MADISON, Ill., June 30, 2003 - Chevrolet's Ron Krisher earned his first win of the season, and his second career victory at Gateway International Raceway, driving his Valvoline Cavalier past Allen Johnson in the final round of the Sears Craftsman Nationals. Krisher's win tonight also gave Chevrolet its 115th all-time NHRA Pro Stock victory.
"That was exciting," said Krisher. "Winning in St. Louis at night - there's nothing better. We have a new set-up for our Chevrolet - we're coming around with it and can run about as good as anyone out here. We did well during qualifying and did well today, and that's what it takes in this class."
The 55-year-old Warren, Ohio native came into today's 16-car eliminator with the Valvoline Chevrolet qualified in the No. 3 position, Krisher's best start of the season. He defeated Terry Adams in round one, Jeg Coughlin in round two and Taylor Lastor in round three before meeting up with Johnson in the finals.
Krisher's winning advantage came at the starting line where his Chevrolet beat Johnson out of the blocks with a .026 reaction time. The Valvoline Cavalier streaked across the finish line with an elapsed time of 6.843 seconds at 201.64 mph. Johnson's Dodge followed in 6.840 seconds at 201.73 mph. The margin of victory for the Krisher Chevrolet was .025 of a second.
"We've been running different set-ups lately with the car, and when you do that you can't consistently do well at the starting line," explained Krisher. "We had a lot of consistency today with the car which allowed me to cut good lights all day. This Chevrolet is a new car that we brought out in Englishtown (N.J.). We brought it here, made a lot of changes and it's starting to work out. It isn't as fast as I want it to be but we'll get it there."
The win marks Krisher's fifth career victory and moves him from seventh place to fifth place in the POWERade Pro Stock points standings. Krisher also becomes just the fourth different driver to win in the Pro Stock category this season. He also extends GM Racing's Pro Stock winning streak to 20 consecutive events, a run that started last year with Jeg Coughlin's victory at Brainerd, Minn., on August 18.
Pro Stock points leader Greg Anderson and second-place Kurt Johnson both lost in round two of today's eliminator - Anderson to Taylor Lastor, and Johnson to Allen Johnson. Today's results leaves Anderson with a narrow 70-point lead over Johnson.
"We were pretty pleased that our ACDelco Cavalier ran that 6.87 in the first round," explained Johnson. "We changed motors after qualifying, so we were happy to make a nice, straight pass in the bad lane. That was an important round win, because if you lose in the first round, you stand to lose a lot of points.
"Greg (Anderson) had the opportunity to pick up points on us, but, in NASCAR terms, we both hit the wall at the same time. We're at the halfway point of the season, and we're only 70 points out of the lead, so we're doing fine. We'll be testing in Denver this week, making sure all our guns are loaded for that race, and get ready to power through the second half."
After qualifying in the No. 16 position, Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird driver Del Worsham drove to his second Funny Car win of the season and the 13th victory of his career.
The 33-year-old California native defeated No. 1 qualifier Gary Densham in round one, Scotty Cannon in round two and Ron Capps in the semifinals before matching up against John Force in the finals.
Worsham's nitro-powered Pontiac launched first and never gave an inch in the title heat, crossing the finish line in 4.884 seconds - the quickest elapsed time of the day. Force's Mustang followed the CSK Firebird across the line in 4.936 seconds at 314.09 mph. The margin of victory for Worsham's Pontiac was .056 of a second.
"That was a great win for us coming from the 16th qualified spot," said Worsham. "Being qualified there isn't that big of a deal like it is at some races because of the time of day we qualified. Today was a totally different racetrack and both lanes were very even. I was worried about Gary Densham but I wasn't worried about being qualified 16th. Any time you can beat John Force is nice. The team did a great job this weekend and the car was just mechanically sound all day."
Today's win also allowed Worsham to leap frog from fifth place to third in the NHRA Funny Car standings.
"This Pontiac was a fantastic racecar all afternoon," said Worsham. "It provided great aerodynamics and outstanding downforce for this tricky surface, and was one of the reasons we were able to be successful today."
In the Sportsman categories, Jeg Coughlin Jr. defeated Jeff Dona with his '02 Cavalier in the finals of Super Stock, and Mark Horton, driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am defeated Mark Hackett in the finals of Super Gas.
The next stop on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour is the 24th annual Mile-High Nationals on July 18-20, at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, Colo.