Worsham Sets Track Record, Claims Top Funny Car Qualifying Spot
A nostalgia-filled Friday ended with a history-making run for Friday's top Funny Car qualifier, Del Worsham, whose 3.992 second pass at 319.45 mph set a new Thunder Valley record.
"Bristol's a great place," said the Kalitta Motorsports driver. "It's a great facility and great fans. I get here today, and these fans are a very nostalgic bunch. They brought me pictures of my dad's car from 1981 clear through the current DHL stuff."
Worsham claimed the number one qualifying position for the second year in a row, after notching a career-best run at last year's Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
"We talked about coming here last year and running that four flat," said Worsham. "It was our best run of the year by quite a bit [last year] so to come back here and do it again is pretty amazing. We've been running so great this year. It's not our first three-second run of the year, but to come here at Bristol and do it at this track, with these fans, at this altitude is pretty exciting."
Worsham placed ahead of Tim Wilkerson and Ron Capps with Robert Hight and Tommy Johnson Jr. rounding out Friday's top-five Funny Car qualifiers.
Brittany Force sits atop the dragster speed chart for the second time this season after rain prevented Friday's second round of Top Fuel qualifying.
Piloting her John Force Racing machine to a 3.828 second pass at 317.94 mph, the 2013 Rookie of the Year admits she was nervous pulling up to the line.
"I always feel more comfortable in the seat when you have back-to-back races," she said. "Having last weekend off, when I came out here one of my crew guys had said a few weekends ago, 'do you ever get nervous when you climb into one of these,' and on this first qualifying pass we went out I told him, 'you remember asking me if I was nervous? Well, I'm nervous now and I know it's because I've been out of the seat for a weekend.
"It's unfortunate with the rain. We were hoping to get another run in, but we might not be up here if that was the case. We get two more tomorrow, and just hoping we can improve and stay in the top half of the field."
Shane Gray's 6.644 second run at 207.88 mph led the Pro Stock category with Greenville, Tenn. native Allen Johnson claiming the second spot.
NHRA stars thunder through the valley at Bristol Dragway again tomorrow with Pro Stock rolling at 12:30 p.m. and Nitro qualifying starting at 1 p.m. Weekend seats still remain with single-day tickets starting at $50 for tomorrow's full day of racing or just $25 for Sunday's final rounds.
To purchase tickets or for more information on the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, call (855) 580-5525 or visit www.ThunderValleyTix.com.