Archive for Del Worsham

NHRA: Kalitta’s legacy can be measured by 1,000

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by Martin Henderson

Has it been a year already?

It seems like yesterday that we were burying Scott Kalitta, acquiescing to the reality of auto racing. It’s a sport that is never completely safe, but shouldn’t be unnecessarily fatal. As followers of the sport, we agree to invest our feelings toward heroes that may not return to the trailer after the next round of competition.

Kalitta’s was the third NHRA professional fatality in five years when a series of events conspired to steal Connie Kalitta’s son from our presence. Top-fuel driver Darrell Russell (2004) and funny car driver Eric Medlen (2007) preceded Kalitta in death, tragically.

Kalitta’s was among the horrific crashes of the ages, a flaming fireball crashing into the end of the shutdown area at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., site of today’s United Association NHRA SuperNationals.

Doug Herbert likes to believe that “God takes over” in moments like those, grabbing the soul before any pain is felt. It’s a comforting thought, and I’m all for adopting it.

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NHRA: Johnson’s impact could snap a Coil

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , on May 17, 2009 by Martin Henderson

You could see Austin Coil bristle when the question was asked. A man of intense pride and accomplishment, perhaps the question was worded poorly, or the context misunderstood completely.

Whatever, there was a moment when slapping the reporter silly crossed his mind. He might never admit to it, but that’s not what his eyes said.

“I’ve won 16 championships,” said Coil, who won 14 since joining John Force to become the most dominant crew chief/driver combination in racing history. “How many has he won?”

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NHRA: Not exactly off to a Full Throttle start, but not exactly lacking storylines, either

Posted in Blog, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by Martin Henderson

The first  two days of the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Pomona weren’t exactly run at full throttle. New series presenting sponsor Full Throttle Energy Drink must see the irony: “Go Full Throttle or Go Home,” which pretty much summed up the fan experience as the rain poured on Pomona. There was no throttling, and everyone went home wet. That is, if they came out to the track at all.

But you had to like the drama Saturday in the first day of on-track activities. Although Antron Brown at first appeared to run the fastest 1,000-foot time in history, the story of the day was Larry Dixon’s failure to qualify in the debut of the Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing dragster.  With the team behind him that helped Tony Schumacher win his fifth consecutive title a year ago, Dixon’s debut was nothing short of disastrous, a full-throttle flameout. Lined up against Schumacher in the last pair of the day under threatening skies, Dixon encountered problems and coasted to the finish. He wasn’t going full throttle, and you can pretty much figure out what that meant.
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NHRA Funny Car preview: Expect the Hight of drama in this shootout

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2009 by Martin Henderson

Cruz Pedregon proved in 2008 that timing is everything. As two of the three North American racing series determine championships based on playoffs, the only thing that matters is making those playoffs.

That’s how Pedregon managed to win his first NHRA Powerade Funny Car title since 1992. He made the six-race playoffs, then won the last three races after winning only once in the previous 11 years.

The smart money in 2009 says the title will come down to a two-time champion and two-time runner-up, neither of whom finished in the Top 3 last season.

Tony Pedregon and Robert Hight.
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NHRA: With moment gone, is success Capped?

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2008 by Martin Henderson

You never know when your moment has passed forever. There’s always tomorrow. At least, that’s the hope.

For Ron Capps, tomorrow has not yet come.

The best NHRA funny car driver to not win a championship suffered through a Powerade Drag Racing season that was about as successful as John Edwards’ campaign, but without the revelations of adultery.

So, at least he has that going for him.
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