Neff, Worsham, Anderson, Tonglet Win at Route 66
Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson and defending Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion LE Tonglet also joined Worsham and Neff on the winner’s stage.
Funny Car points leader Mike Neff made it a clean sweep for the weekend, taking the no., 1 qualifier spot and then pulling off consistent runs to knock off Justin Schriefer, Bob Tasca III and “Fast” Jack Beckman to reach his seventh final round of season, facing Jeff Arend in the final.
Facing Arend in the final for the just the second time in his career, Neff pedaled his Ford Mustang to the victory after Arend went up in smoke at the 100-foot mark, posting a 4.246 at 293.22 mph for his fourth win of the season and the eighth overall for John Force Racing.
“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” said Neff. “We’ve been going to a lot of finals, and that’s like training. You get in a groove and now, everybody is feeling good.”
Neff was the only hope to nail down the 200th win for Ford as the sole Mustang to make it to the semi-finals, flanked by a Chevrolet, a Dodge and a Toyota.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Neff of the 200th victory. “Ford’s a great supporter of ours and they’ve helped us with a lot of this technology. It’s the finest American company there is in my opinion and I’m proud to represent them.
“To get that 200th win, that’s something that goes down in the record books. Something that’ll always be remembered. It’s just a huge honor for us at John Force Racing to be able to get that for them. I can’t thank them enough for all that they do.”
Making his 400th start in a Fuel car, Worsham bested Dom Lagana, Doug Kalitta and Antron Brown for his first final round matchup against Grubnic, who knocked off Rod Fuller, T.J. Zizzo and Shawn Langdon to advance to his 14th career final round.
In the final, it was all Worsham as he was first off the line and never trailed, posting a 3.978 at 299.40 mph over Grubnic’s 4.055, 294.50.
It was the 30th national event victory for Worsham and the third straight win for the Al-Anabi Racing team, who have now tallied wins in six of the season’s 11 races.
“What a day we had here,” said Worsham. “To win for the fifth time this year is like a dream come true. When the whole (switch from Funny Car to Top Fuel) was announced I had mixed emotions. It was (team owner) Sheikh Khalid’s call and now he looks like a genius. I just feel very lucky to be in this spot. I never expected that we’d be able to do so much so soon this year.”
In the Pro Stock class, top qualifier Greg Anderson scored his 67th National event win with a hole shot victory over Erica Enders in the final round.
Enders, looking to become the first woman to score a victory in the Pro Stock class, beat out former champions Warren Johnson, Mike Edwards and Jason Line to advance to just her fourth career final round and her first against Anderson.
Coming off victories against Steve Spiess, Rodger Brogdon and Shane Gray, Anderson was first off the line in the final and kept the power on to get the win light with a 6.670 at 207.18 mph over Ender’s 6.659 206.89.
“My boys saved me all day and then I got lucky and did something as a driver,” said Anderson. “At least for one weekend I held the girl (Enders) off. I was scared to death racing her in the final. Don’t get me wrong; it is going to happen this year. She is the real deal and she’s going to win many races. I just didn’t go in the record books as being the first one to lose a final to her.”
Taking out Angie Smith, David Hope and Matt Smith, Tonglet moved on to face Ellis, who eliminated Mike Berry, points leader Eddie Krawiec and Jim Underdahl for his first final round showing of the season.
In their first final round matchup, Tonglet got the jump at the line but Ellis battled back to keep it close before Tonglet powered past at get the win light with a run of 7.047 at 188.46 mph over Ellis’ 7.153, 185.49
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