Worsham Sprints To No. 1 Out West

Del Worsham topped the first two rounds of NHRA Funny Car qualifying on Friday at Pacific Raceways. (NHRA Photo)
Del Worsham topped the first two rounds of NHRA Funny Car qualifying on Friday at Pacific Raceways. (NHRA Photo)
Del Worsham topped the first two rounds of NHRA Funny Car qualifying on Friday at Pacific Raceways. (NHRA Photo)

KENT, Wash. – Reigning Funny Car world champion Del Worsham sprinted to the provisional top qualifier in record setting fashion Friday at the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories.

Worsham posted a 3.886-second pass at 327.98 mph in his DHL Toyota Camry to reset both ends of the track record at Pacific Raceways and lead the Funny Car class through Friday. Worsham, who has victories at Seattle in both Funny Car (1999) and Top Fuel (2011), has 19 No. 1 qualifiers in his career and two this season. Worsham raced to the No. 1 qualifier last weekend in Sonoma 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, who is fourth in 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 to the No. 2 spot with a 3.894 at 327.11. 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.

Tim Wilkerson is third in his Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. Points 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 has also clinched a spot in the Countdown, is fifth.

Top Fuel’s Torrence also reset both ends of the track record when he navigated his Capco Contractors / Torrence Racing dragster down the dragstrip in 3.701 at 328.54. Torrence, who suffered a heart attack in late June, has eight No. 1 qualifiers so far this season and two victories in four final rounds. He is third in points and has already 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 racecar driver,” said Torrence, who is having the best season of his career. “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 at 325.06 at the controls of her Monster Energy dragster to claim the second spot through two sessions. Force has two wins this year and has secured a spot in the Countdown.

Clay Millican is third with a 3.733 at 319.29 and is trailed by 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 6.549 at 211.10 in his Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro. The 2013 event winner is pursuing his first No. 1 qualifier 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 racecar,” said Nobile, who is currently fifth in points with a runner-up finish in 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.”

Greg Anderson sits second with a 6.560 at 210.01 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Anderson, the Pro Stock points leader, has raced to seven victories this year and has already clinched his spot in the Countdown. He is a three-time Seattle winner.

In third is Bo Butner in his Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro with a 6.565 at 210.11. He is followed by Shane Gray, who was the No. 1 qualifier in Chicago, in fourth and Drew Skillman in fifth.