NHRA drag racers took advantage of some tremendous conditions at Pacific Raceways to shatter record books….
But unfortunately in the end — due to some untimely weather — the highly anticipated concluding rounds to the Protect the Harvest Northwest Nationals have been deferred.
After enduring multiple rain delays NHRA officials announced the Funny Car final round between Del Worsham and Ron Capps and the Top Fuel final round between Antron Brown and Steve Torrence will be completed during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, MN. The Pro Stock final between Washington native Aaron Strong and Vincent Nobile will be decided at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Aug. 31 – Sept. 5.
Worsham, the defending Funny Car world champion and new national elapsed time record holder, raced passed Tim Gibbons, Robert Hight and Matt Hagan to reach the finals. Capps, a four-time winner this season, faced Brandon Welch, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jeff Diehl en route to his eighth final round of the season.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, continued his qualifying hot streak breaking the national elapsed time record by three hundredths – he now holds the two quickest runs in NHRA Funny Car history.
Worsham was the provisional number one qualifier coming into the second day of Northwest Nationals qualifying. However, weather gave the Funny Car ideal conditions leading to record-breaking passes. Worsham was a part of the last pair of Funny Cars to see the racetrack, and his 3.886 second pass from Friday had been bumped to fifth. Courtney Force had just ran two pairs before and broke the national record with a 3.855 second pass.
Worsham, Jon Oberhofer, Nicky Boninfante and the DHL team were not to be outdone. Worsham ran a blistering 3.841 second pass outrunning the previous national record by over two hundredths. The previous record was a 3.862 second pass ran by Matt Hagan earlier this season in Topeka.
However, the DHL team saved the best for last. After watching Ron Capps nearly match their pace a pair prior, the DHL leaders Boninfante and Oberhofer made adjustments to the DHL Toyota Camry and it stuck. Worsham scorched the Pacific Raceways surface, reaching the 1,000 ft line in 3.832 seconds at over 330MPH.
“We just have an incredible team working well together,” said Worsham. “We have been running this new Bounty Hunter chassis since Denver and these team at the shop built an incredible piece. Nicky and Jon O, and the guys, I cannot say enough about what they are doing. I have to thank Toyota and TRD for their help too. It is an incredible honor to be driving this DHL Toyota Camry for Connie and this entire Kalitta Motorsports team and I am excited. Tomorrow is what matters though, and we look forward to accomplishing more then.”
It was a stellar qualifying effort for the DHL team who earned their second consecutive pole, something Worsham had never achieved in his Funny Car career prior. Worsham also swept the Funny Car bonus points for the first time.
In Top Fuel, defending world champion and points leader Brown defeated T.J. Zizzo, Clay Millican and Morgan Lucas in the earlier rounds to reach his sixth final round of the season. Torrence, the No. 2 qualifier, took down Scott Palmer, Richie Crampton and J.R. Todd in order to secure a spot in his fifth final of the season.
Auburn, Wash., native Strong dominated in the early rounds to defeat four-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson, two-time defending world champion Erica Enders and Bo Butner to reach the first final round of his career. Strong’s opponent, Vincent Nobile had a bye in the first round and went on to defeat Shane Gray and six-time world champion Jason Line for a chance at the victory.
NHRA has also revealed the plan for the concluding rounds for it’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racers.
Brad Burton, (from Washington) was the event’s only declared winner prior to the rain storm.s He drove his familiar red ’72 Firebird to his seventh NHRA national event victory in taking out Ryan Warter for the Stock eliminator title.
NHRA officials have announced that the final rounds of competition for Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car will be completed at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Oct. 13-16, at Texas Motorplex, and all other Lucas Oil Series final rounds will be contested at the upcoming NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event at Pacific Raceways, August 19-21.
Posted with files by Bruce Biegler, Cody Poor & NHRA Communications
Photos by Gerry Frechette