Del Worsham enters the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in first place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He leads second-place Spencer Massey by 131 points.
Worsham won the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill. on July 10. He defeated Dom Lagana, Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown and Dave Grubnic on his way to the winner’s circle. It was Worsham’s second consecutive win; his fifth win in 11 races this season and the 30th of his career.
The July 10 race in Joliet, Ill. was Worsham’s 400th career start. He is one of only three NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers with 400 career starts. The others two are Kenny Bernstein (428) and John Force (559).
With the win in Joliet, Ill., Worsham now has more wins this season (5) than any other Full Throttle Series driver, and those five wins equal his career best for wins in a season. In 2004, 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 prior to Denver:
“I’ve been saying all season that it doesn’t feel like we’re in first place, but now, with back-to- back wins and midpoint of the season, it definitely feels like the Al-Anabi team is in first place. It doesn’t mean much now because the Countdown (Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs) hasn’t started, but it’s still pretty cool to be where we are and be able to look back on the first half of the season. We’ve won some races and had some fun, but the real season begins after these next five races when the Countdown starts.
“I like the Western swing; it’s great racing. I grew up on the West coast, and I live on the West coast so I like this part of the season. I’ve always liked racing all of the western swing races, and I’m lucky to have won all three of them in Funny Car. Now, in Top Fuel, it’s fun when you have a fast car with an opportunity to win every week so I am definitely looking forward to these next three races.
“Bandimere Speedway is a great place to race. I love going there, and I love the night qualifying session there. The fans there are very loyal, and the Bandimere family does such a great job. I think we all really like going there, and what always makes it interesting is that anything can happen at Bandimere Speedway. When I won there in 2002, we qualified No. 16, but we had a big rain storm Saturday night. Sunday morning, the conditions were totally different. We took out the No. 1 qualifier, set low et (elapsed time) of the first round and won the race so anything can happen at Bandimere.
“It’s definitely possible for someone to sweep the western swing; Antron Brown did it two years ago. Spencer (Massey) and I have both won two in a row this season, and I think a sweep is possible for several drivers. It wouldn’t surprise me even with Top Fuel as tight as it is this season.”
2010 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon enters the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in third place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails second-place Spencer Massey by five points and leads fourth-place Antron Brown by 58 points.
Dixon won Top Fuel titles at Bandimere Speedway in 2001 and ’03; he is one of two drivers tied for the most top Fuel wins at Bandimere among active drivers. One year ago, he was the No. 5 qualifier. In eliminations, he defeated Morgan Lucas and Tony Schumacher before losing to Brandon Bernstein in the semifinals.
Denver’s race begins NHRA’s “Western Swing.” Dixon is one of only five Top Fuel drivers to sweep the three-race set winning the races in Denver, Colo., Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle, Wash. in 2003, the year of Dixon’s second NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel championship. Teams will travel more than 2,100 miles during the three-week jaunt, and a team that sweeps the swing will make 24 passes down the 1000-foot race tracks running the maximum of four qualifying passes and four eliminations passes at each of the three NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. The other four Top Fuel drivers to snag the sweep were Joe Amato in 1991, Cory McClenathan in 1997, Tony Schumacher in 2007 and Antron Brown in 2009. Only two drivers outside of Top Fuel, John Force in Funny Car and Greg Anderson in Pro Stock, have swept the Western Swing.
Dixon prior to Denver:
“When you’re driving well and you have a great-running race car, you have a shot to win three in a row, but it’s still really hard to do. If you look back in NHRA history, only seven drivers have ever swept the Western Swing, and five of them were in Top Fuel. The challenge is the wild card, Denver. Because of the elevation, it’s different from the other two tracks in Sonoma and Seattle that are close to sea level.
“The difference between winning three races in a row and sweeping the Western Swing is the mileage that the teams have to travel in addition to servicing the car and getting ready for the next race. It’s very challenging for the crew. The team that sweeps has the ‘super crew’ because of the amount of work and travel that’s involved when you’re making every possible run.
“We’re competing against different teams and cars than we were in 2003, but the competition is still there. Nobody’s going to lie down; it’s up to your team to run well no matter who the competition is. There are obviously a lot of Top Fuel teams out there running well right now. If you can win three races in a row it’s an accomplishment no matter what era you’re talking about; I know every team will do all they can to sweep the Western swing, and the Al-Anabi team is no different, but right now, we are completely focused on Denver.”
By: al-anabi racing team