Del Worsham upsets John Force to highlight finals of NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas


John Force could have closed the NHRA Funny Car points gap Matt Hagan has over him to just one point Sunday in the finals of the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, Del Worsham got in Force’s way, winning their final round battle at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In winning his first Funny Car race since 2009, Worsham (4.064 seconds at 318.39 mph), deprived Force of really tightening the gap on Hagan.

“I think we’ve been to probably four finals and this is the first time we’ve won with Kalitta Motorsports,” Worsham said in an NHRA media release.

Worsham was the 2011 Top Fuel champion.

“We’ve almost had lane choice and low elapsed time in all those finals and we didn’t bring out a big enough stick,” he said. “Today, the big bat was out.”

But all was not lost for Force, a record 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion. He was 41 points behind Hagan coming into Sunday’s four rounds of eliminations. Force left after the final round just 21 points behind Hagan, who won the 2011 Funny Car championship.

One race remains on the schedule, the season-ending World Finals at Pomona, California, Nov. 13-16.

In Top Fuel, seven-time Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher failed to clinch his eighth title when he was upset by Billy Torrence in the first round Sunday.

That opened the door for Spencer Massey (3.756 seconds at 330.88 mph) to earn his third win of the season and 17th of his career, defeating J.R. Todd in the final round.

Massey moves into second place in the standings, but he’s a nearly insurmountable 109 points behind Schumacher heading to Pomona in two weeks.

“The car started off running extremely well,” Massey said.  “We started running a new chassis this weekend and we wanted to see where it would lead us. It showed a lot of promise. For [crew chiefs] Phil Schuler and Todd Okahara and my entire team, we’ve been working so hard all season long to finally make good solid runs and be consistent on race day.”

In Pro Stock, Erica Enders-Stevens (6.587 seconds at 209.36 mph) earned her fifth win of the season and 11th of her career, defeating reigning champ Jeg Coughlin.

But more importantly, Enders-Stevens regained the Pro Stock points lead from Jason Line with the one race remaining. Enders-Stevens leads Line by a slim 17-point margin heading into Pomona. Line came into Sunday’s race with a 35-point lead on Enders-Stevens, who defeated him in Sunday’s semifinals.

Enders-Stevens is seeking to become the first female NHRA champion in Pro Stock history.

“I wanted to come in with a positive attitude,” she said. “When I walked in the gate on Thursday afternoon I had a good feeling.

“I decided I was going to give it to God, keep the faith, do my best and let him do the rest. That quick mental change made everything run so much smoother today.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines (6.965 seconds at 191.02 mph) took his sixth win and 38th of his career, parlaying a 25-point lead over teammate Eddie Krawiec before Sunday’s race into a massive 92-point edge after the win.

Hines already has his championship strategy in place for the season-ending race.

“I don’t want to play defense,” Hines said. “I’m going to go on the offense. I don’t want to give up any bonus points during qualifying. I want to keep it over 80 points so we can roll into Sunday with the championship basically mathematically locked up.”


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TOP FUEL: 1.  Spencer Massey; 2.  J.R. Todd; 3.  Billy Torrence; 4.  Leah Pritchett; 5.  Khalid alBalooshi; 6.  Richie Crampton; 7.  Shawn Langdon; 8.  Brittany Force; 9.  Tony Schumacher; 10.  Antron Brown; 11.  T.J. Zizzo; 12.  Larry Dixon; 13.  Doug Kalitta; 14.  Bob Vandergriff; 15.  Steve Torrence; 16.  Terry McMillen.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Del Worsham; 2.  John Force; 3.  Matt Hagan; 4.  Robert Hight; 5.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 6.  Ron Capps; 7.  Tim Wilkerson; 8.  Paul Lee; 9.  Alexis DeJoria; 10.  Courtney Force; 11.  Jack Beckman; 12.  Jon Capps; 13.  Bob Tasca III; 14.  Tony Pedregon; 15.  Terry Haddock; 16.  Jeff Arend.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 2.  Jeg Coughlin; 3.  Jason Line; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Greg Anderson; 6. Dave Connolly; 7.  Allen Johnson; 8.  Rodger Brogdon; 9.  Chris McGaha; 10.  Matt Hartford; 11.  V. Gaines; 12.  Aaron Stanfield; 13.  Jonathan Gray; 14.  Vincent Nobile; 15.  Larry Morgan; 16.  Jeff Isbell.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Andrew Hines; 2.  Matt Smith; 3.  Jerry Savoie; 4.  Katie Sullivan; 5.  Eddie Krawiec; 6. Hector Arana; 7.  Chaz Kennedy; 8.  Michael Ray; 9.  Jim Underdahl; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck; 11. John Hall; 12.  Adam Arana; 13.  Angie Smith; 14.  Shawn Gann; 15.  Steve Johnson; 16.  Hector Arana Jr.



Top Fuel — Spencer Massey, 3.756 seconds, 330.88 mph  def. J.R. Todd, 7.375 seconds, 87.51 mph.

Funny Car — Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.064, 318.39  def. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.104, 321.42.

Pro Stock — Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.587, 209.36  def. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.596, 209.14.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.955, 191.02  def. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.971, 192.11.

Pro Modified — Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.912, 242.63  def. Don Walsh, Camaro, DQ.




ROUND ONE — Khalid alBalooshi, 3.775, 320.74 def. Larry Dixon, 3.953, 242.23; Leah Pritchett, 3.793, 320.97 def. Antron Brown, 3.800, 319.90; Richie Crampton, 3.831, 270.43 def. Bob Vandergriff, 4.193, 203.28; J.R. Todd, 3.816, 290.82 def. T.J. Zizzo, 3.811, 322.88; Spencer Massey, 4.268, 245.72 def. Terry McMillen, 5.794, 113.32; Brittany Force, 3.789, 325.69 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.121, 251.63; Billy Torrence, 3.769, 329.10 def. Tony Schumacher, 3.774, 328.38; Shawn Langdon, 3.770, 318.92 def. Steve Torrence, 4.622, 185.46; QUARTERFINALS — Pritchett, 3.846, 321.42 def. Force, 8.961, 76.09; Todd, 3.777, 321.19 def. alBalooshi, 3.781, 319.37; B. Torrence, 3.808, 324.36 def. Crampton, 3.868, 293.09; Massey, 3.769, 326.24 def. Langdon, 4.501, 223.73. SEMIFINALS — Todd, 3.781, 323.43 def. B. Torrence, 3.796, 325.45; Massey, 3.775, 325.22 def. Pritchett, 3.803, 318.77. FINAL — Massey, 3.756, 330.88 def. Todd, 7.375, 87.51.


ROUND ONE — Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.110, 309.63 def. Jeff Arend, Dodge Charger, 12.355, 71.81; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.145, 313.00 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 10.046, 82.35; Paul Lee, Charger, 4.118, 306.88 def. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.148, 305.77; John Force, Mustang, 4.085, 318.54 def. Jon Capps, Chevy Impala, 4.299, 266.27; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.073, 314.24 def. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 12.197, 80.07; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.091, 315.64 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.210, 268.22; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.690, 209.26 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 8.387, 72.32; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.104, 310.70 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.088, 303.98; QUARTERFINALS — Worsham, 4.092, 315.19 def. R. Capps, 4.138, 315.71; Hight, 4.102, 313.88 def. Lee, 4.229, 264.80; J. Force, 4.069, 319.45 def. Wilkerson, 4.144, 308.00; Hagan, 4.064, 314.09 def. Johnson Jr., 4.115, 307.72; SEMIFINALS — J. Force, 4.069, 319.45 def. Hight, 4.130, 312.93; Worsham, 4.059, 315.71 def. Hagan, 4.091, 315.71; FINAL — Worsham, 4.064, 318.39 def. J. Force, 4.104, 321.42.


ROUND ONE — Rodger Brogdon, Chevy Camaro, broke def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, foul; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.641, 208.65 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.855, 198.35; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.608, 208.65 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.635, 208.01; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.609, 208.71 def. Matt Hartford, Dodge Avenger, 6.647, 209.04; Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.601, 209.07 def. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.647, 207.75; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.596, 208.91 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.670, 206.76; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.581, 209.79 def. Jeff Isbell, Camaro, 9.254, 99.91; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.592, 209.20 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 7.137, 161.88; QUARTERFINALS — Line, 6.629, 208.36 def. Connolly, 11.228, 79.50; Coughlin, 6.626, 208.14 def. Johnson, 13.414, 62.82; S. Gray, 6.611, 208.26 def. Anderson, 6.638, 208.55; Enders-Stevens, 6.583, 209.17 def. Brogdon, foul. SEMIFINALS — Coughlin, 6.605, 208.46 def. S. Gray, 6.647, 208.26; Enders-Stevens, 6.593, 209.20 def. Line, foul. FINAL — Enders-Stevens, 6.587, 209.36 def. Coughlin, 6.596, 209.14.


ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.932, 193.24 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, foul; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.970, 190.70 def. Angie Smith, Buell, foul; Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 6.968, 191.02 def. Adam Arana, Buell, 7.015, 191.65; Michael Ray, Buell, 6.951, 193.10 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.999, 189.44; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.888, 194.02 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, foul; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.979, 192.06 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.044, 190.67; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.936, 191.65 def. John Hall, Buell, 7.003, 190.08; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.947, 192.77 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.002, 189.23; QUARTERFINALS — Sullivan, 7.017, 188.94 def. Ray, broke; M. Smith, 6.936, 192.71 def. H. Arana, 6.979, 191.84; Hines, 6.947, 191.62 def. Kennedy, 6.999, 189.04; Savoie, 6.949, 191.43 def. Krawiec, 6.965, 190.40. SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.955, 191.24 def. Savoie, 7.007, 190.54; M. Smith, 6.977, 191.43 def. Sullivan, 12.042, 32.54. FINAL — Hines, 6.955, 191.02 def. M. Smith, 6.971, 192.11.



Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 2,501; 2.  Spencer Massey, 2,392; 3.  J.R. Todd, 2,389; 4.  Shawn Langdon, 2,367; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 2,366; 6.  Steve Torrence, 2,355; 7.  Antron Brown, 2,324; 8.  Khalid alBalooshi, 2,292; 9.  Brittany Force, 2,239; 10.  Richie Crampton, 2,238.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 2,510; 2.  John Force, 2,489; 3.  Courtney Force, 2,389; 4.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,362; 5.  Robert Hight, 2,360; 6.  Del Worsham, 2,341; 7.  Ron Capps, 2,313; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 2,300; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,259; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 2,206.

Pro Stock: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,513; 2.  Jason Line, 2,496; 3.  Dave Connolly, 2,429; 4.  Shane Gray, 2,402; 5.  (tie) Jeg Coughlin, 2,369; Allen Johnson, 2,369; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 2,328; 8.  Jonathan Gray, 2,312; 9.  V. Gaines, 2,238; 10.  Chris McGaha, 2,136.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Andrew Hines, 2,607; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,515; 3.  Matt Smith, 2,377; 4.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,348; 5.  Steve Johnson, 2,317; 6.  Scotty Pollacheck, 2,299; 7.  Hector Arana, 2,265; 8.  John Hall, 2,253; 9.  Angie Smith, 2,190; 10.  Michael Ray, 2,134.

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Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”