Worsham, Hight, Gray, Savoie lead SuperNationals fields
Robert Hight raced to the qualifying lead in Funny Car Friday night at the NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock), and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took the provisional top spots in their categories at the eighth of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Hight, who is coming off his third win of the season two weeks ago in Topeka, drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a 4.090-second pass at 310.34 mph to become the provisional top qualifier in Funny Car. If it stands, it would be his first No. 1 qualifier of the season, 39th of his career, and second consecutive at Raceway Park.
“Jimmy Prock [crew chief] told me that we weren’t going to get crazy, but we were going to just try to get down the track because that’s what we’ve been lacking,” said Hight. “We hadn’t been consistent until Sunday in Topeka. We’ve had some good luck here in qualifying, but I’ve never won here, and this is one of them that you want to win. It’s as big as Gainesville and Indy because there’s so much history here.”
Points leader and Hight's teammate Mike Neff sits 14th, and defending event winner Bob Tasca III is third after two qualifying sessions.
In Top Fuel, Worsham drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.785 at 322.34 mph in the final qualifying session of the day to take the provisional No. 1 spot. If it stands, it would be Worsham’s second of the season and seventh of his career.
“When conditions like that come along, I’m glad that Alan Johnson is the tuner of my car because, man, what a job he and the team did,” said Worsham. “We smoked the tires the first run, and we smoked the tires the last run in Topeka, on E2, and you think they might be conservative, but a guy like Alan just went right out there for the throat. In the words of Alan, 'we went from the [outhouse] to the henhouse in one run.' ”
Defending event winner and world champion Larry Dixon will enter Saturday qualifying fourth in the field, and recent race winner Spencer Massey sits second.
In Pro Stock, Gray raced to the provisional top spot in his Service Central Pontiac GXP just one race after capturing his first win of the season. If his run of 6.510 at 212.46 mph stands, it would be his first No. 1 qualifier.
“Right now, I just think we are on a roll, but it’s like a roller coaster, and right now, we’re on the top of the hill,” said Gray. “A lot of guys have it better than we do. We’re just trying to get better each day.”
Rookie Savoie rode his White Alligator Racing Suzuki to the top of the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a run of 6.836 at 192.74 mph. If it stands, it would be the first of his career.
“After our loss in Atlanta, we stumbled on a couple of things that were not exactly right with the motorcycle,” said Savoie. “Mark [Peiser, crew chief] wanted to come to Englishtown and see what kind of progress we’ve made on the changes we’ve made. I feel very blessed to be here. This is my fourth race, and they’ve all been good. I don’t know if it will hold up, but it’s good for now.”
Melanie Troxel set a national record en-route to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position Friday for the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
Troxel drove her ProCare Rx ’53 Corvette to a record-setting run of 5.800-seconds at 258.71 mph to set the national record for both time and speed. If it stands, it would be Troxel’s first No. 1 qualifier of the season in the fifth event of the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
“The Corvette had itself figured out,” said Troxel. “Steve Petty [tuner] is doing a great job with that car. We’ve nicknamed it The Silver Bullet. It’s just flying down there all on its own in spite of anything I might be doing behind the wheel.”
Points leader Khalid Balooshi currently sits 13th in the field with a run of 6.030 at 240.04 mph, and Troxel’s teammate and car owner, Roger Burgess, sits 19th with a run of 6.348 at 191.51 mph.