NHRA: Worsham, Connolly, Skillman and Savoie No. 1 qualifiers in Texas

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Del Worsham (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Top Fuel), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will go into Sunday’s final eliminations of the AAA NHRA FallNationals as the No. 1 qualifiers in their respective classes.

The fourth race in the Countdown to the Championship at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, the FallNationals are a pivotal race for those drivers who are not only in contention for the championship, but also those who are trying to stave off elimination.

Worsham was the only points leader in any of the four pro classes to qualify No. 1. His track record pass of 3.917 seconds at 323.58 mph held up during Saturday’s two additional rounds of qualifying.

It’s the first No. 1 qualifying spot for Worsham this season and the 17th of his career (10th in Funny Car). He’s already won two of the first three Countdown races (Charlotte and St. Louis).

“All weekend we’ve run well,” Worsham said in an NHRA media release. “Coming here and getting down the track all four runs definitely helped up the confidence.

“We’re looking good. We pretty much accomplished everything we needed to accomplish. As far as qualifying goes and getting ready, I’m feeling good about the car.”

Jack Beckman’s best run on Friday qualified him No. 2 (3.919 seconds at 323.97 mph), while defending Funny Car champ Matt Hagan qualified No. 3 (3.921 seconds at 323.42 mph).

In Top Fuel, Connolly set track records for elapsed time (3.744 seconds) and speed (329.18 mph) in a run on Friday that held up through Saturday’s additional rounds.

“When I was up here yesterday, I didn’t want to say anything about it and jinx anything,” Connolly said. “We had some overcast weather today, and the track has been incredible all weekend. … We’re really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Billy Torrence qualified No. 2 (3.746 at 327.27), followed by Brittany Force (3.749 at 326.71). Points leader Antron Brown, who has won the first three races in the Countdown in Top Fuel, is the No. 7 seed, while defending series champ Tony Stewart qualified eighth.

In Pro Stock, Skillman grabbed the No. 1 spot – his third of the season – during his first run on Saturday (6.471 seconds at 213.47 mph). Skillman, who earned his first career Pro Stock win at St. Louis last month, is looking for win No. 2 on Sunday.

“We started racing Pro Stock this year from scratch,” Skillman said. “It’s a credit to the Elite Motorsports team that we were able to learn how to work with each other as the season went along.”

Jason Line qualified No. 2 (6.471, 213.40), while Bo Butner will start Sunday in the No. 3 position (6.475, 213.23). Defending world champ and current points leader Erica Enders qualified No. 4, while Greg Anderson, who is second in points, qualified No. 5.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Savoie recorded the fastest two-wheel pass in Suzuki history (6.765 seconds at 197.74 mph). The Louisiana alligator farmer earned his second No. 1 qualifying spot of the season and his also seeking his third win of 2015.

“We went a 6.78 at Englishtown, and the conditions were better here than in Englishtown, but we weren’t expecting anything more than maybe a 6.79,” Savoie said. “We would have been plenty happy with that. But to run a 6.76, that was amazing. It’s something we’ve been chipping at over the past few months.”

Eddie Krawiec qualified No. 2 (6.816, 195.00), while Chip Ellis will start Sunday No. 3 (6.824, 195.17).

Eliminations begin at 11 am CT on Sunday.

SUNDAY’S FIRST ROUND PAIRINGS:

Top Fuel — 1. Dave Connolly, 3.744 seconds, 329.18 mph  vs. 16. Jenna Haddock, 3.955, 263.10; 2. Billy Torrence, 3.746, 327.27  vs. 15. Kebin Kinsley, 3.910, 258.67; 3. Brittany Force, 3.749, 326.71  vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 3.815, 319.22; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.754, 326.00  vs. 13. Troy Buff, 3.814, 313.37; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.756, 323.12  vs. 12. Larry Dixon, 3.805, 321.96; 6. Richie Crampton, 3.758, 324.75  vs. 11. Doug Kalitta, 3.796, 324.36; 7. Antron Brown, 3.760, 322.19  vs. 10. J.R. Todd, 3.785, 317.64; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.769, 324.75  vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.774, 322.65.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Shawn Reed, 3.986, 307.51; 18. Cory McClenathan, 4.672, 162.86; 19. Pat Dakin, 4.711, 163.69.

Funny Car — 1. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.917, 323.58  vs. 16. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.140, 304.53; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.919, 323.97  vs. 15. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.089, 303.50; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.921, 324.36  vs. 14. Blake Alexander, Charger, 4.081, 303.50; 4. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.941, 325.14  vs. 13. Cory Lee, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 4.076, 310.05; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.942, 324.67  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.029, 305.01; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.951, 321.27  vs. 11. Chad Head, Camry, 4.024, 314.02; 7. John Force, Camaro, 3.960, 320.28  vs. 10. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.018, 320.43; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.968, 320.13  vs. 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.969, 318.09.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Dave Richards, 4.217, 295.59; 18. Brian Stewart, 4.382, 206.57; 19. Todd Simpson, 4.778, 182.21; 20. Terry Haddock, 5.728, 196.16.

Pro Stock — 1. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.471, 213.47  vs. 16. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, 15.845, 210.67; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.471, 213.40  vs. 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.691, 208.26; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.475, 213.23  vs. 14. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.602, 209.10; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.480, 213.47  vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.543, 212.29; 5. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.484, 213.81  vs. 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.518, 212.90; 6. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.485, 212.76  vs. 11. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.514, 212.46; 7. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.486, 213.27  vs. 10. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.509, 211.89; 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.500, 213.33  vs. 9. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.507, 213.16.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.765, 197.74  vs. 16. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.985, 192.30; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.816, 195.00  vs. 15. Angie Smith, Victory, 6.967, 190.46; 3. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.824, 195.17  vs. 14. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.958, 189.23; 4. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.825, 194.94  vs. 13. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.925, 192.44; 5. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.832, 195.79  vs. 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.910, 196.36; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.841, 194.80  vs. 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.886, 194.13; 7. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.847, 195.87  vs. 10. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.870, 191.95; 8. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.849, 192.47  vs. 9. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.865, 194.83.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Redell Harris, 7.058, 186.36; 18. Lance Bonham, 7.188, 184.95; 19. David Barron, 18.983, 171.47.

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NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.