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Worsham Gets First Top Fuel Win

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 13 2011

Del Worsham, after years of racing in Funny Car, got his first victory in Top Fuel on Sunday at the Gatornationals. (Photos courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

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Del Worsham defeated seven-time champion Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher in the Top Fuel final round of the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals Sunday at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.

In doing so, Worsham became the 15th driver in NHRA history to win races in Top Fuel and Funny Car.

The other winners at the second of 22 races in NHRA’s 60th anniversary season on Sunday were Mike Neff (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Worsham was four-thousandths slower (.044 to .040) on the tree in his Al-Anabi dragster and eight-thousands quicker (3.858 to 3.866) on the track for a finish-line winning margin of an almost imperceptible .004. It was the first win in Top Fuel for Worsham after compiling 25 wins in a Funny Car career that dates to 1990.

“It feels great (to have won in both classes). I actually had a chance at the U.S. Nationals in 1993, could have won in Top Fuel, and I made a huge mistake, red light against Kenny Bernstein, and he went on to win. I felt bad about that and it’s kind of weighed on me for 20 years…” Worsham said half seriously.

“It is almost surreal, I’m driving (2010 Top Fuel champion and teammate) Larry (Dixon)’s car from last year, it won 12 races last year, now it’s won 13. It shouldn’t surprise anyone (that it’s back in the winner’s circle but) it surprises me,” he said.

“It was a great race,” said Schumacher. “Those were two quality teams battling it out right there. Even though Del hasn’t been in Top Fuel for a lot of years, he’s still a very talented driver. I sensed it was going to be a very close race.”

It appeared Schumacher might collect his 68th career win after building a slight edge at the starting line, but his lead evaporated by half track and Worsham motored on by to just nip the seven-time world champion at the finish line.

“Despite losing to Del, we still had a very good weekend,” said Schumacher. “We got down the track with consistency and made plenty of power (he set the track speed record at 325.45 mph in qualifying).

“Throughout the weekend we displayed the mental, physical and emotional strength that our Army Strong Soldiers have. We’re inspired by all of those brave men and women and want to be successful for them every race.”

Also on Sunday, 2004 NASCAR champion Kurt Busch made his first NHRA Full Throttle Series start in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class and he acquitted himself well in his Shell Dodge Avenger,

Kurt Busch was edged by Erica Enders in Pro Stock on Sunday.

losing by less than a car length (.031 seconds) in the first round to seventh-year pro Erica Enders, the subject of the Disney original movie Right on Track.

“It was the best graph we’ve put together in all of our testing, in all of our rounds here in Gainesville – we hit all the shift marks,” said Busch, who was pleased overall with his performance. “We just came up short.”

Busch trailed at the start with a .049 reaction time to Enders’ .021 and that was essentially the difference in the race as his elapsed time of 6.541 seconds was all but a dead heat with Enders’ 6.538 in her ZaZa Energy Chevy Cobalt.

“What’s amazing is (the difference in the race is) just three-hundredths of a second; in this game of drag racing, that puts you back on the trailer,” said Busch, who will return to his full-time Sprint Cup duties next weekend in Bristol. “This is a tough sport, I have much more respect after showing up here in Gainesville and doing all of the test runs. I wish I had more time to do NHRA racing, this is a lot of fun.”

In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon (7.819, 99.32) spun the tires on his Snap-on Tools Toyota at the hit of the throttle and was no match for Neff (4.092, 310.48), whose Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was the best performing car in the class all day.

“Just a great day for our whole team. We needed this to keep the Force string going, that’s four in a

Mike Neff gave John Force Racing its second victory of the season.

row for Team Force,” said Neff, who’s in John Force’s car that won the 2010 championship. “The hardest part is just trying not to mess it up as a driver.”

In Pro Stock, Line (6.554, 211.96) defeated Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson (6.545, 212.43) to win his second straight to open the 2011 season and second straight at Gainesville.

It was, almost, a perfect weekend: “We could have got the record,” Line said.

The national record, which Line missed the record by two-thousandths and Anderson missed it by a thousandth, went to Rodger Brogdon with a 6.495 from Friday qualifying.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Karen Stoffer red-lighted to hand the event title to Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider Krawiec, who nonetheless ran a near-perfect 6.847 at 197.08. The win came on a blistering quick track on which Hector Arana set the national record for elapsed time (6.777) and Krawiec set the national record for speed (199.26).

“Gainesville, when you come here, you know you’re going to go fast,” said Krawiec, who won his second straight Gatornationals. “This track had some killer, some killer conditions, it was meant to go fast.”

The NHRA Full Throttle Series continues April 1-3, in Las Vegas with the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the second of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1. Del Worsham; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Larry Dixon; 4. Spencer Massey; 5. Shawn Langdon; 6. Steve Torrence; 7. Antron Brown; 8. Doug Foley; 9. David Grubnic; 10. Doug Kalitta; 11. Brandon Bernstein; 12. Clay Millican; 13. Terry McMillen; 14. Morgan Lucas; 15. Chris Karamesines; 16. Dom Lagana.

FUNNY CAR:

1. Mike Neff; 2. Cruz Pedregon; 3. Matt Hagan; 4. Jack Beckman; 5. Bob Tasca III; 6. Jeff Arend; 7. Robert Hight; 8. Johnny Gray; 9. John Force; 10. Jim Head; 11. Bob Bode; 12. Ron Capps; 13. Tim Wilkerson; 14. Paul Lee; 15. Tony Pedregon; 16. Brian Thiel.

PRO STOCK:

1. Jason Line; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Rodger Brogdon; 4. Ron Krisher; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Greg Stanfield; 7. Shane Gray; 8. Mike Edwards; 9. Kurt Busch; 10. Warren Johnson; 11. Vincent Nobile; 12. Bob Benza; 13. Larry Morgan; 14. Buddy Perkinson; 15. Kurt Johnson; 16. Allen Johnson.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Karen Stoffer; 3. LE Tonglet; 4. Hector Arana; 5. Andrew Hines; 6. Matt Smith; 7. Gerald Savoie; 8. Shawn Gann; 9. Jim Underdahl; 10. David Hope; 11. Michael Ray; 12. Angie Smith; 13. Steve Johnson; 14. Katie Sullivan; 15. Mike Berry; 16. Joe DeSantis.

Sunday’s final results from the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the second of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Del Worsham, 3.858 seconds, 318.99 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.866 seconds, 318.39 mph.

Funny Car — Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.092, 310.48 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 7.819, 99.32.

Pro Stock — Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 6.554, 211.96 def. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.545, 212.43.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.847, 197.08 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, foul.

Final round-by-round results from the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the second of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Doug Foley, 3.821, 312.50 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.872, 316.82; Del Worsham, 3.830, 317.64 def. Brandon Bernstein, 3.901, 304.46; Shawn Langdon, 3.871, 312.93 def. Clay Millican, 3.940, 296.89; Steve Torrence, 3.879, 315.34 def. Morgan Lucas, 5.394, 141.03; Larry Dixon, 3.825, 318.77 def. Terry McMillen, 4.113, 293.47; Tony Schumacher, 3.836, 322.19 def. David Grubnic, 3.863, 314.39; Antron Brown, 4.190, 209.92 def. Dom Lagana, foul; Spencer Massey, 3.853, 311.41 def. Chris Karamesines, 7.711, 76.46;

QUARTERFINALS — Massey, 3.862, 314.02 def. Langdon, 3.904, 311.99; Schumacher, 3.831, 322.81 def. Foley, broke; Worsham, 3.867, 320.05 def. Brown, 5.614, 126.14; Dixon, 3.865, 314.46 def. Torrence, 4.125, 267.75;

SEMIFINALS — Worsham, 4.453, 231.40 def. Massey, 4.898, 168.45; Schumacher, 3.883, 321.04 def. Dixon, 4.556, 158.24; FINAL — Worsham, 3.858, 318.99 def. Schumacher, 3.866, 318.39.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.331, 253.75 def. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala SS, 8.339, 93.68; Johnny Gray, Dodge Charger, 4.989, 257.33 def. Paul Lee, Impala SS, 8.035, 54.13; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.081, 309.77 def. Brian Thiel, Charger, 8.503, 80.00; Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.095, 308.35 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.156, 307.51; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.095, 305.08 def. Bob Bode, Impala, 4.205, 295.34; Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.168, 307.51 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.642, 197.22; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.079, 312.57 def. John Force, Mustang, 4.141, 308.07; Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.646, 198.90 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 6.329, 104.04;

QUARTERFINALS — C. Pedregon, 4.077, 311.41 def. Gray, 7.021, 97.74; Hagan, 4.441, 254.14 def. Arend, 5.586, 130.35; Beckman, 4.675, 212.36 def. Hight, 5.724, 127.10; Neff, 4.059, 312.71 def. Tasca III, 4.199, 305.42;

SEMIFINALS — C. Pedregon, 4.126, 306.95 def. Hagan, 4.238, 288.15; Neff, 4.128, 309.27 def. Beckman, 4.623, 191.59; FINAL — Neff, 4.092, 310.48 def. C. Pedregon, 7.819, 99.32.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Greg Stanfield, Pontiac GXP, 6.569, 210.90 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 23.086, 73.68; Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.530, 212.16 def. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 8.070, 129.97; Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.538, 211.69 def. Kurt Busch, Avenger, 6.541, 211.59; Jason Line, GXP, 6.520, 211.89 def. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.546, 211.56; Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.541, 211.69 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.571, 211.00; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.517, 212.59 def. Bob Benza, GXP, 6.552, 209.98; Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.541, 211.76 def. Buddy Perkinson, Mustang, 6.608, 209.95; Shane Gray, GXP, 6.551, 211.06 def. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.542, 211.46;

QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.562, 212.06 def. Gray, 6.572, 211.36; Brogdon, 6.539, 212.03 def. Stanfield, 6.568, 211.76; Line, 6.530, 212.09 def. Enders, 6.560, 211.56; Krisher, 6.631, 211.36 def. Edwards, broke;

SEMIFINALS — Anderson, 6.569, 212.33 def. Krisher, 18.106, 44.95; Line, 6.545, 212.23 def. Brogdon, 6.931, 183.32;

FINAL — Line, 6.554, 211.96 def. Anderson, 6.545, 212.43.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.934, 187.81 def. David Hope, Buell, 6.945, 188.36; Gerald Savoie, Suzuki, 6.892, 190.35 def. Mike Berry, Buell, foul; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.843, 193.49 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.881, 194.49; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.873, 192.82 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.957, 189.95; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.844, 195.25 def. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.946, 190.03; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.833, 196.13 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.961, 194.07; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.829, 197.45 def. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.016, 180.02; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.854, 191.19 def. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Arana, 6.857, 193.27 def. Gann, 6.997, 190.11; Stoffer, 6.834, 196.36 def. M. Smith, 6.947, 192.06; Tonglet, 6.825, 195.51 def. Hines, 6.852, 196.24; Krawiec, 6.848, 196.53 def. Savoie, foul;

SEMIFINALS — Stoffer, 6.841, 196.39 def. Arana, 6.926, 193.65; Krawiec, 6.825, 198.85 def. Tonglet, 6.861, 196.07;

FINAL — Krawiec, 6.847, 197.08 def. Stoffer, foul.

Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the second of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1. Del Worsham, 186; 2. Tony Schumacher, 162; 3. Shawn Langdon, 148; 4. (tie) Larry Dixon, 147; Morgan Lucas, 147; 6. Antron Brown, 141; 7. Spencer Massey, 136; 8. Steve Torrence, 87; 9. Doug Kalitta, 85; 10. Terry McMillen, 79.

Funny Car

1. Mike Neff, 201; 2. Matt Hagan, 175; 3. Robert Hight, 170; 4. Cruz Pedregon, 161; 5. Jack Beckman, 116; 6. Ron Capps, 105; 7. Jeff Arend, 104; 8. Johnny Gray, 100; 9. John Force, 88; 10. Bob Tasca III, 85.

Pro Stock

1. Jason Line, 230; 2. Greg Anderson, 182; 3. Greg Stanfield, 148; 4. Rodger Brogdon, 138; 5. Ron Krisher, 131; 6. Erica Enders, 115; 7. Kurt Johnson, 85; 8. Shane Gray, 83; 9. (tie) Ronnie Humphrey, 82; Vincent Nobile, 82.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1. Eddie Krawiec, 124; 2. Hector Arana, 104; 3. Karen Stoffer, 100; 4. LE Tonglet, 74; 5. Andrew Hines, 62; 6. Matt Smith, 54; 7. (tie) Shawn Gann, 53; Gerald Savoie, 53; 9. (tie) Mike Berry, 32, David Hope, 32, Angie Smith, 32, Jim Underdahl, 32, Joe DeSantis, 32.

NHRA LUCAS OIL SERIES AND GET SCREENED AMERICA SERIES RESULTS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sunday’s final results from the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the second of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Pro Modified — Khalid Balooshi, Chevy Camaro, 5.912, 240.51 def. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 5.943, 246.21.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Chris Demke, 5.294, 267.22 def. Randy Meyer, 5.305, 268.87.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Mickey Ferro, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.570, 258.86 def. Paul Gill, Ford Mustang, 5.547, 260.41.

Competition Eliminator — Sal Biondo, Chevy Cavalier, 8.157, 160.10 def. Frank Aragona Jr, Dragster, 8.111, 163.49.

Super Stock — Peter Biondo, Pontiac Firebird, 9.758, 133.04 def. Merrill Schrimscher, Chevy Nova, 9.964, 131.59.

Stock Eliminator — Russell Linke, Chevy Camaro, 10.632, 119.97 def. Dan Fletcher, Camaro, 11.952, 89.23.

Super Comp — Tom Dauber, Dragster, 8.900, 156.66 def. Edmond Richardson, Dragster, 8.900, 168.28.

Super Gas — Jason Lynch, Chevy Cavalier, 9.922, 150.73 def. Michael Ruff, Chevy Camaro, 9.931, 158.52.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 13 2011
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