Taking full advantage of the stellar atmospheric conditions and the ample oxygen in the forested region near the Pacific Raceways in Seattle, reigning Funny Car world champion Del Worsham stormed to the quickest elapsed time in history and a new national record on Saturday during qualifying for the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals with stunning 3.832-second pass at 330 mph.
Worsham’s back-breaking lap was the culmination of a historic day of qualifying that saw a seesaw battle for the national record and the top slot on the eliminations ladder at the Western Swing finale. With the air temperature in the upper 60’s and the adjusted altitude in the neighborhood of 1,500 feet, Courtney Force fired the first shot in Saturday’s third session, bettering Matt Hagan’s existing national record of 3.862 with a 3.855 to take over the top spot (Jack Beckman, in the lane opposite of Courtney also bested it with a 3.861), only to see Worsham, Friday’s qualifying leader, snatch the pole and the record back with a 3.841.
While conditions were slightly less favorable in the fourth and final session, Worsham closed out the round with the incredible 3.832-second lap — a full three-hundredths of a second quicker than the national record going into Seattle — by way of a .855-second 60-foot and a 3.095 at a booming 282.90 mph at the 1/8-mile clocks. Only Ron Capps, who posted a career best 3.843, challenged Worsham in that final session.
“We just have an incredible team working well together,” said Worsham. “We have been running this new Bounty Hunter chassis since Denver and these team at the shop built an incredible piece. Nicky and Jon O, and the guys, I cannot say enough about what they are doing. I have to thank Toyota and TRD for their help too. It is an incredible honor to be driving this DHL Toyota Camry for Connie and this entire Kalitta Motorsports team and I am excited. Tomorrow is what matters though, and we look forward to accomplishing more then.”
While we’ll leave actual projections to the experts tuning these cars, it would be a safe bet — based on incremental numbers from pre-2008 — that today’s fuel Funny Cars would be covering the 1/4-mile in the mid-4.50s at speeds the NHRA doesn’t even want to think about. Impressive, to say the least.