WORSHAM PUTS TOYOTA IN TOP FUEL WINNER’S CIRCLE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT RACE AT GATORNATIONALS
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2011) – Del Worsham edged Tony Schumacher by .004 seconds on Sunday to win the prestigious NHRA Gatornationals in just his second race since returning to the Top Fuel ranks after campaigning Funny Cars for the past 16 years.
The win comes in Worsham’s first-ever Top Fuel final and catapults him into the Top Fuel points lead after registering a runner-up finish at the season opener at Pomona in February. He defeated Brandon Bernstein, Antron Brown and Spencer Massey before defeating Schumacher in the first-ever on-track meeting between the two veteran racers.
Cruz Pedgregon’s Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry Solara fell just short of making it a Toyota sweep for the weekend after he advanced to the finals in Funny Car for the third time in the last seven races. The finals appearance pushed Pedregon into fourth-place overall in the championship hunt, just 14 points out of second. It continues a resurgence that has seen him earn the top qualifier position at the season-opening Winternationals, as well as win two of the final five Countdown races to close out last season.
In addition to Worsham’s victory, Al-Anabi Racing teammate Larry Dixon also had a strong weekend advancing to the semi-finals where he eventually fell to Schumacher.
Antron Brown and Shawn Langdon each won their opening rounds before being eliminated in the second round, while Morgan Lucas – winner at Pomona – fell in the first round.
Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel drivers will occupy five of the top-six positions in the point standings entering the third round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, April 1-3.
- Today’s victory is the first of the season for Del Worsham, his first in an NHRA Top Fuel car and his first overall Nitro win since winning in Funny Car at Richmond in October 2009. The triumph is his 26th in NHRA Nitro competition.
- Del Worsham won today’s Top Fuel final in just his second race in the class since returning to Top Fuel after campaigning Funny Cars full-time since 1995. Worsham becomes just the 15th driver in history to win both an NHRA Top Fuel and an NHRA Funny Car event.
- Del Worsham defeated the event’s top three qualifiers on his way to victory today in Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown and Spencer Massey.
- Toyota-sponsored Top Fuel cars have won 14 of the last 21 NHRA Top Fuel events and six of the last nine.
- Today’s win is the 12th for the Al-Anabi Racing Toyota team in their last 21 events and their 13th over the past 25. Combined, the team’s two Top Fuel entries have advanced to the semi-finals or finals in three of their four races this season.
- Today’s finals appearance is the third for Cruz Pedregon in the last seven NHRA Funny Car events. He leaves Gainesville having scored almost doubling his point total from the first two races a year ago (161 to 81).
Del Worsham, Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “It just can’t get any better than it just did other than if I had raced against my teammate Larry Dixon. We weren’t always the fastest, but we had a great car when we needed it today. I’m just a lucky guy to be here with this team. We’re riding on Larry’s tune-up a little bit right now – as I’m still a rookie at this point basically (in a Top Fuel car). It’s almost surreal. I don’t have the comfort level yet that I have in a Funny Car and that’s probably going to take a little while. I had a chance to win a Top Fuel race back at Indianapolis in 1993, but let it get away and have kicked myself since.”
Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: "The track was there but we're just having a few issues right now - the track got a little bit warmer and we'll get it figured out. We're struggling a little bit, but that's racing. It just wasn't our race weekend. We know what we have to do and we'll just get to the next one and get this Matco Tools Toyota car going. We'll come back and regroup and we'll hit it hard in Vegas.”
-source: toyota motorsports