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Worsham sets Funny Car record at Thunder Valley

June 13th, 2014 11:10 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Worsham sets Funny Car record at Thunder Valley

BRISTOL — Del Worsham got in the fastest NHRA Funny Car run in Bristol Dragway history just before the weather halted action Friday night at the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals.

Worsham’s Toyota Camry sped down the track with a record 3.992 elapsed time and 319.45 mph to break his record time set from last season. It shuffled up the field as none of the top eight qualifiers in the first session didn’t get to go down the track in the night session.

In other classes, Brittany Force was the provisional No. 1 in Top Fuel, which got only one qualifying session in, and Shane Gray topped Pro Class, which was able to get both rounds in.

If time Worsham’s holds up, it will be his 14th career No. 1 qualifying effort.

“We ran a four-(second) flat here last year and it was our best run of the year,” Worsham said. “To come back here and do this again, it’s pretty amazing. We’ve had some good runs this year and it’s not our first three-second run of the year. To come here at Bristol and do it in front of these fans, it’s pretty exciting.” 

He was surprised by the fast time and speed. His car never felt the least bit violent during the record run, very smooth as it went down the drag strip.

“The other three-second runs we made, something has happened to shake the tires and that kind of threw me off,” said Worsham, a former Top Fuel World Champion. “That run, we went straight down the right lane so smooth, it was clean. When they said I ran 3.99, I thought they were messing with me.”

Force went 3.828 seconds (317.94) to grab the top spot. She is looking for her second No. 1 qualifying award in three races after being the quickest at Topeka, Kansas. 

“Honestly, I didn’t feel it was going to be a great run,” Force said. “When they told me it was No. 1, I was shocked. It felt it shaking at 700-800 feet and I didn’t know if it was going to go up in tire smoke. But I hung in there, went all the way through the 1,000 feet and ran a .82 so I was excited about that. 

“It’s unfortunate with the rain. We were hoping to get another run in, but we might not be No. 1 if that were the case. We get two more (qualifying sessions) tomorrow. Hopefully, we can improve and stay in the top half of the field.”

Gray paced Pro Stock  with his run of 6.644 seconds (207.88 mph) in a Chevrolet Camaro set in the first session. The time even held up even once the track got cooler, although he thinks the time will be bettered in one of today’s sessions.

“I was really surprised the time held up,” Gray said. “I figured someone would run a .63 tonight, and I think there are cars capable of it in the noon session. There is still a .63 out there for somebody. There is still a .63 in my car if we just make a better run.”

Greeneville driver Allen Johnson was fourth in the first round of Pro Stock qualifying, going 6.675 seconds and 207.37 mph in his Dodge Dart. He moved up to second in the second qualifying session by hitting 6.657 and 206.73 mph.

Pro qualifying resumes today at noon with another afternoon session set for 2:30 p.m.

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