Toyota Motorsports press release
WORSHAM, TOYOTA WIN AT LAS VEGAS NHRA
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Oct. 30, 2011) – Del Worsham defeated Spencer Massey by .001 seconds to win the NHRA Big O Tires Nationals at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday and close to within two points of the championship lead with one race remaining. The victory was the 16th for a Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel driver in 21 races this season.
Worsham’s weekend began by leading three of four qualifying sessions to earn the number one qualifying position. He then defeated four of the other nine drivers in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs in Shawn Langdon, David Grubnic, Antron Brown and Massey on the way to his seventh victory.
Although Brown lost to his fellow Toyota driver Worsham in the semi-finals, he too, will enter the last race with a championship within his grasp as he trails Massey by just 14 points and is 12 behind Worsham – with 20 points awarded for each round win. Brown would be just four points behind, but was given an oil-down penalty on his second-round victory over Bob Vandergriff. Brown had earlier defeated teammate Tony Schumacher in the first round.
After winning last week in Phoenix, Larry Dixon was eliminated in the second round by Brandon Bernstein and fell from second to fourth in the point standings, 54 points out of the series lead. Rounding out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent, Langdon fell in the opening round to Worsham, while Morgan Lucas didn’t qualify.
In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon put himself squarely into the championship mix heading into the final race of the season by advancing to the semi-finals in his Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry Solara. Pedregon knocked off Jeff Arend in the first round of eliminations and then defeated point leader Matt Hagan in round two to close to within 26 points of the series point lead. Rookie Alexis DeJoria narrowly missed an upset of Bob Tasca in the opening round, leading after the 300-foot mark only to haze the tires shortly before the finish line DeJoria was third on the opening day in qualifying before eventually slotting into the 11th position for today’s eliminations.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series closes out the 2011 campaign in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 12-14, with the 47th annual Automobile Club of Southern California Finals.
Del Worsham, Al-Anabi Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “I had the fastest car out there today and just a great team behind me. I didn’t want to disappoint them in the final. I feel I have the car to beat every day. It was so close at the finish and I was so proud when I saw that win light. This is 21 years of drag racing all coming down to one race. I’m definitely ready.”
Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry Solara Funny Car: “We went to the semi-finals so you have to consider it a pretty good weekend. We’re not quite sure what happened there in the semis, so we’ll figure that out before we go to Pomona. We were confident from the beginning of the season that could compete with anybody. We’ve consistently qualified up front and we’ve had some of the top runs of the year and we feel we have one of the best cars out there. We’ve been in position to win four or five races this season, so with all the could-haves and should-haves, we’re just a little over a round behind with one race to go. I’m beyond excited to be in this position. As kids we would get to two races every year - the Winternationals and the World Finals at Pomona. I have to say, as a native Southern Californian, it’s special to be going to Pomona with a chance to win a third championship.”