After edging into the Countdown a year ago thanks to a clutch performance at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Worsham would like to avoid having to repeat that scenario. That means putting together a strong weekend in Brainerd, where Worsham has a number of great memories even without winning at the track.
“A couple of events stand out to me when racing in Brainerd,” Worsham said. “In 1991, we made the Big Bud Shootout there by the skin of our teeth. That was a special event held in Indy and to qualify for the event it was based on qualifying points for the previous events position starting at Brainerd the prior year. Well, I didn’t start until the beginning of 1991 so we were behind quite a few races.
“The scenario was Tom Hoover was seeded in the No. 8 and final position and had to qualify in the bottom three, and we had to qualify in the top three. We ended up No. 1, and he ended No. 16 so we made the prestigious event. Also, the 2000 event when I believe we qualified near the top and lost in the semifinals after posting low ET of every round. It was a tough loss, but one I will never forget against John Force.”
Force has an incredible 11 wins at the facility, the most for one driver at any NHRA track and will be one of Worsham’s chief challengers. Other Funny Car standouts include defending winner Capps, who has four Lucas Oil Nationals wins, points leader Robert Hight, Tommy Johnson Jr., Cruz Pedregon, Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, Tim Wilkerson and two-time season winner Alexis DeJoria.
It makes for a loaded Funny Car field but that challenge is nothing new for the veteran Worsham. At this stage in the season he is solely focused on positioning his team for a possible championship chase.
“Doing well in Brainerd is not only important to making the Countdown, but, yes, it definitely could propel the momentum we need for Indy then, of course, into the Countdown,” Worsham said. “I know our team is focused on making the Countdown. All we can do is control our own DHL team and do our very best.”