KENT, Wash. (Aug. 6, 2016)
Funny Car proved to be the most exciting class to watch this weekend as the national elapsed time record was reset three times during Saturday qualifying. In Q4 Del Worsham managed to break his own national record that he set in Q3 with a blistering 3.832 @ 330.88 MPH. That was more than enough to gain him the number one qualifying spot going into Sunday’s final eliminations. This is Worsham’s second pole position in a row following one at last week’s event in Sonoma, California. It’s important to note that it is no longer required for drivers to backup their national records with another run, but the national record is not official until the end of the event.
Gary Densham had a scary moment in Q3 when his racecar went into the sand trap. Fortunately Densham walked away unhurt following the incident. Densham had a similar, near career-ending crash at the season opener in Pomona earlier this year. After talking with his team he later spoke about this week’s near miss blaming it on a “Pilot shoot that tangled and broke a break line.”
All eyes will be on John Force tomorrow as he looks to win the event in order sweep the Western Swing for the second time in his career. Force is the only driver throughout all professional classes left with the chance to do so.
Up until Q4, Steve Torrence and his Capco crew were still on their dominating qualifying streak. Having set the national elapsed time record in Sonoma last weekend, it looked like Torrence was on his way to his 9th number 1 qualifier of the 2016 season. That is until Tony Schumacher stepped in to take the green hat with a 3.686 @ 323.58 MPH. Schumacher was the only Top Fuel car to make it into the 3.60s this weekend. Until the Denver event, the 8-time world champion went winless for over a year. Despite missing his chance to sweep the Swing stemming from a loss last weekend in Sonoma, The U.S. Army driver looks like he has the racecar to pick up another Wally in tomorrow’s final eliminations.
Elite Motorsport’s Vincent Nobile managed to get the first pole position for the team this season with a 6.527 @ 211.49 MPH run. This marks Nobile’s first pole since Topeka, Kansas in 2014.
However, the marquee matchup for the first round of eliminations will be Erica Enders-Stevens and Alex Laughlin. Enders-Stevens is the reigning back-to-back world champion in the Pro Stock category, however, she and her team have had a difficult year so far getting acclimated to the Mopar program they are running. Alex has been racing in Pro Stock for just over a year, and recently claimed his first number 1 qualifier in Denver, Colorado. Erica sits 11th in the points, while Alex is 11 points in front of her in 10th. With only three races left before the Countdown to the Championship starts, it is crucial for the 2-time world champion to make up ground in the points if she would like to have a shot at a third world title.
Final Eliminations begin at 11:00 A.M. PST. Live TV coverage begins at 1:00 P.M. PST on Fox.