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Worsham Uses Record Run To Earn Provisional Pole In Washington

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 6 2016
Del Worsham was hot in Seattle on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Del Worsham was hot in Seattle on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

RacinToday.com

Reigning Funny Car world champion Del Worsham sprinted to the provisional pole in record-setting fashion Friday at the 29th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

 Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the 16th event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The race also is the third and final event of NHRA’s summertime “Western Swing.”

Worsham posted a 1,000-foot pass in 3.886-seconds and 327.98 mph in his DHL Toyota Camry to reset both ends of the track record at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., near Seattle. Worsham, who has victories at Seattle in both Funny Car (1999) and Top Fuel (2011), has 19 poles in his career and two this season. Worsham was the No. 1 qualifier last weekend in Sonoma, Calif., and is two sessions away from securing back-to-back top spots for the first time in his Funny Car career.

“I’ve been coming here most of my life, going back to the early-80s, and this track has always been great,” said Worsham, fourth in championship points. “It’s always been fast. We’ve always come to Seattle and made usually our best runs ever. This run didn’t let anybody down. We’re making runs on 120-degree tracks that 12 months ago nobody believed you could make.”

 Chad Head pushed his Head Racing Toyota Camry into the No. 2 spot with a 3.894-second pass at 327.11 mph. Head is 11th in points and hoping to string together a series of strong performances to move into the top-10 and qualify for the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Two-time 2016 event-winner Tim Wilkerson is third in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. Point-leader Ron Capps, who has four victories in seven final-round appearances this season and has clinched his spot in the Countdown, is fourth in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. Courtney Force, who also has clinched a spot in the Countdown, is fifth in her Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS.

Top Fuel’s Torrence also reset both ends of the track record when he navigated his Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing dragster down the 1,000-foot strip in 3.701-seconds at 328.54 mph. Torrence, who suffered a heart attack in late June, has eight poles so far this season and two victories in four final rounds. He is third in points and already has claimed his spot in the Countdown.

“I don’t think you could script this any better in a fairytale story book for a kid that wants to be a race car driver,” said Torrence, who is enjoying a breakout season thanks to tuning guru Alan Johnson. “I’ve got a really great group of guys that stand beside me and they’ve pushed this car to the front. It takes absolute dedication and consistency for that car to go out and be able to do that time after time. I just try to not be the weak link. This track has proven to be pretty stellar right off the bat. We’ll just continue marching forward.”

Brittany Force posted a 3.729-second pass at 325.06 mph at the controls of her Monster Energy dragster to claim the second spot through two sessions. Force has two wins this year and also has secured a spot in the Countdown.

Clay Millican is third with a 3.733-second pass at 319.29 mph and is trailed by two-time/reigning world champ Antron Brown in fourth and Doug Kalitta in fifth.

 In Pro Stock, Vincent Nobile powered to the top qualifying position with a quarter-mile pass in 6.549-seconds at 211.10 mph in his Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro. The 2013 event winner is pursuing his first pole of the season and fifth of his career. This is the first time this season Nobile has led qualifying through Friday.

“The No. 1 qualifier is great, but more importantly I have a really fast, consistent race car,” said Nobile, currently fifth in points with a runnerup finish in Morrison, Colo., near Denver. “First round we were No. 3 and second round we were No. 1, but in my head, as a driver, I’ve got a really good, top-five car consistently and I think that’s what really wins races. Tomorrow we’re going to do our best to hold the spot.”

 Four-time world champion Greg Anderson sits second with a 6.560-second pass at 210.01 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Anderson, the Pro Stock point-leader, has raced to seven victories in 2016 and has clinched his spot in the Countdown. He is a three-time Seattle winner.

Bo Butner, Anderson’s KB Racing teammate, sits third in his Jim Butner Auto Camaro at 6.565-seconds and  210.11 mph. He is followed by Shane Gray, the No. 1 qualifier in Chicago, in fourth and Drew Skillman in fifth.

The final two qualifying sessions will be held Saturday afternoon and will set the field for Sunday’s eliminations, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The FOX Network will air three hours of live finals coverage beginning at 4 p.m.  (EDT) Sunday. The program will re-air Monday at 12:30 a.m. (EDT).

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Friday’s qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 29th annual  NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence, 3.701-seconds, 328.54 mph; 2. Brittany Force, 3.729, 325.06; 3. Clay Millican, 3.733, 319.29; 4. Antron Brown, 3.737, 323.19; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.741, 324.98; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.745, 318.24; 7. Leah Pritchett, 3.781, 319.45; 8. Terry McMillen, 3.792, 313.58; 9. T.J. Zizzo, 3.794, 319.22; 10. Shawn Langdon, 3.814, 316.75; 11. J.R. Todd, 3.816, 318.69; 12. Morgan Lucas, 3.836, 289.82.

Not Qualified _ 13. Richie Crampton, 3.911, 278.06; 14. Bill Litton, 4.044, 268.92; 15. Troy Buff, 4.136, 227.57; 16. Ron Smith, 4.242, 259.46; 17. Scott Palmer, 6.396, 96.17.

Funny Car _ 1. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.886, 327.98; 2. Chad Head, Camry, 3.894, 327.11; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.901, 324.05; 4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.902, 324.59; 5. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.902, 325.06; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.903, 322.73; 7. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.918, 324.75; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.927, 321.88; 9. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.928, 319.98; 10. John Force, Camaro, 3.940, 325.85; 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.941, 325.22; 12. John Hale, Charger, 4.005, 315.86.

Not Qualified _ 13. Gary Densham, 4.052, 307.72; 14. Jeff Diehl, 6.609, 100.55; 15. Tim Gibbons, 7.090, 92.45.

Pro Stock _ 1. Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.549, 211.10; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.560, 211.26; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.565, 211.86; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.572, 210.93; 5. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.576, 210.28; 6. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.580, 210.50; 7. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.594, 209.43; 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.597, 208.97; 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.612, 209.07; 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.622, 209.14; 11. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.640, 208.46; 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.645, 207.94.

Not Qualified _ 13. Deric Kramer, 6.661, 207.75; 14. Alan Prusiensky, 6.783, 203.06; 15. Erica Enders, 12.279, 70.99.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 6 2016
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