Hill, Worsham, Johnson , Kopp Lead First Day of Qualifying By Rick Green POMONA, Calif. - SUMMIT FastNews - Drag racing legend Eddie Hill powered his Pennzoil dragster to the fourth-quickest pass in NHRA history Friday to lead Top Fuel ...
Hill, Worsham, Johnson , Kopp Lead First Day of Qualifying
By Rick Green
POMONA, Calif. - SUMMIT FastNews - Drag racing legend Eddie Hill powered his Pennzoil dragster to the fourth-quickest pass in NHRA history Friday to lead Top Fuel qualifying at the 39th annual AutoZone Winternationals. Hill, from Wichita Falls, Texas, covered the Pomona Raceway quarter-mile in a track record elapsed time of 4.535 seconds at 313.80 mph to lead the 16-car field. It was ten years ago at this event when Eddie had his infamous blowover at the finish line. Hill stated this run was so smooth it did not even feel like a fifty-three, he thought it was probably a sixty-three. Hill, in his elation, exclaimed, "With a run like that I feel 59 years old again." Hill is making the final tuning calls this year in what he explained as "tune-up by committee." Del Worsham, Warren Johnson and Larry Kopp were also qualifying leaders at the $1.7 million race, the first of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Hometown favorite Worsham, from Costa Mesa, Calif., paced the Funny Car order in a Pontiac Firebird, running a career-best elapsed time of 4.968 at 291.51. Worsham explained about his pass, "I actually clicked it early, the 291 mph speed shows that. This is a track you pretty much want to be careful on, it doesn't have a real long shut down area, and it was just past dusk, kind of hard to see, and I just shut it off when it felt like it was time. The computer showed I was just a little early. It wouldn't have really affected the ET more than another couple of hundredths, but it knocked the miles per hour down. It should have been over 310." Worsham, in his excitement about being the number one qualifier at the end of the day for the first time since Brainerd in 1991, said, "I'm pretty stoked right now, we put more test laps on our car in January than we ever have in my career, and it looks like we are learning some things. All last year, in deals like this where almost everyone was smoking the tires, we'd have been part of the majority. It was a different feeling to be sitting in the staging lanes thinking we had a chance to really do something good." Johnson, from Buford, Ga., led Pro Stock qualifying in a Pontiac Trans Am, covering the quarter-mile with an event record run of 6.926 at 200.20. Warren owns 26 of the 29 Pro Stock passes over 200 mph in NHRA history. In fact he is the only driver to exceed the double-century mark more than once. Warren when ask about the body work he preformed yesterday Warren explained "The situation with the body was a situation with NHRA, not the race car. They couldn't determine what a race car is supposed to look like. I don't know if I set the Winternationals record for the hammer throw, but I was certainly practicing for it. "People have picked on my cars for 25 years. If you've got to change it to race, you've got to change it. At the same time, if I have to jump through hoops, I think everyone else should too. They never applied those templates to anyone else's car, so there seems to be a problem with the application of the rules to all competitors. They're probably down at Office Depot making more cardboard templates. We used the GM Goodwrench Service approved duct tape, so it will hold up at 200 mph! "If you're going to have a rule, enforce it. Don't come up with an ambiguous rule that can't be enforced. I asked them to give me a dimension to fix it to; they told me they didn't have a dimension. At $10,000 per change, I wasn't going to keep changing the car until they liked it." Kopp, from Baltimore, powered his Chevrolet S-10 to the top spot in Pro Stock Truck, running a track record elapsed time of 7.598 at 176.88. Kopp is the defending Winston champion in the new truck division. Rain delayed racing action for an hour prior to Pro Stock Truck qualifying this afternoon. Pro qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **