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									       22nd annual O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil, March 27-29, Houston

(Above) Most people expected Del Worsham and
the new Al-Anabi team to be among the
performance leaders in Funny Car; so far, they
have not disappointed. He was the only driver in the
4.0s on race day with an opening-round 4.08.
(Right) Several Pro Stock Motorcycle riders were in
the 6.8s, including three-time champ Andrew Hines,
who rode the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
V-Rod to a 6.889 in qualifying. (Far right) Almost
everyone in Pro Stock was quick in Houston, but
nobody ran quicker than former champ and current
points leader Jason Line, who guided his Summit
Racing Equipment Pontiac to a 6.544 in qualifying.

                                                                                                                    Class rookie Shawn

 TOP FUEL                                                 against Antron, and we got it, then Tony got me
                                                                                                                    Langdon’s John Stewart-
                                                                                                                    tuned Lucas Oil/Dixie
                                                                                                                    Chopper car was steady all
                                                                                                                    weekend. “We’re having
                                                                                                                    fun; the car’s getting down
 Cory McClenathan followed his Gainesville runner-        on a holeshot in the final. Today, we lived by the        there and doing it
 up as bridesmaid again, but he was happy,                sword and died by the sword.”                             consistently,” said Langdon.
 despite losing to his former crew chief, Mike                                                                      “I’m getting comfortable.
 Green, who now tunes for Tony Schumacher, who            Urs Erbacher experienced a massive blower and             I’m still learning a lot
 beat Cory Mac on a final-round holeshot. “It was         engine explosion while racing Larry Dixon in              every run and still trying a
                                        really            round one. Shrapnel cut the left rear tire, but the       little bit to catch up with
                                        weird             Swiss pilot expertly brought the car to a safe stop       the car, but I don’t get in
                                        having            with the help of the automatically deployed               the car as intimidated by it as I used to.”
                                        Mike              parachutes that are required under NHRA rules.
                                        coming            “The first thing I heard was the boom, and then           Texan Todd Simpson and father Dickie made a
                                        over to           the tire went, so I had my hands full at 270 mph,”        successful Top Fuel debut by qualifying their
                                        wish me           said Erbacher. “It was a good, hard test for my           Modular Systems dragster. Simpson competed in
                                        good luck,”       old heart, but it’s still working really good. I’m        Top Alcohol Funny Car from 1995 through 2003,
                                        he noted,         okay, and I think we can fix the car before Las           then moved to nitro Funny Car before stepping into
                                        “but we’ve        Vegas. We have a backup car, but this is a new            Top Fuel this season in a car purchased from Doug
                                        had two           chassis, so we’d like to fix it.”                         Foley and tuned by his brother, Byron, and father
 races in a row now where there’s only been one                                                                     with help from former Division 4 Top Alcohol
 guy who came away happier than me, and we’ll             Houston was good again to Joe Hartley, the surprise                             Funny Car champ Dal
 always take that. That’s the way you win                 runner-up at this event in 2007 who hadn’t won a                                Denton. They plan to run in
 championships.”                                          round this season entering this race but won two                                Madison and possibly Denver
                                                          here. The team windowed a couple of blocks in                                   later this year.
 McClenathan, who beat Antron Brown on a                  qualifying, so they sat out the final qualifying
 holeshot in the second round, attributed his             session to diagnose the malady. Hartley’s day ended                             The Simpsons ran IHRA
 inconsistent lights to a new throttle-pedal layout       in tire smoke in the semifinals against                                         Funny Car last year before
 he began using after red-lighting in Phoenix. “I         McClenathan.                                                                    the class was dropped and
 used to have a hoop at the top of the pedal, and                                                                                         may bring their Funny Car
 now I use a heel-cup design,” he said. “It takes         Hartley was a runner-up at this event in Top                                    to NHRA. Denton may drive
 some getting used to because I raced with the old        Alcohol Dragster in 1998, a year after his father,                              one of the two cars at select
 setup for 17 years. I knew I needed a good light         Allen, accomplished the feat.                                                   events.

      finals in the last eight years
      for Craig Treble at this event
   ✦ National DRAGSTER
                                          6     of the top 10 all-time Pro
                                                Stock speeds set at this event          8    Pro Stock drivers to
                                                                                             exceed 210 mph                      16       career No. 1s for Antron Brown,
                                                                                                                                          five in Top Fuel
                                                                                    For the third straight race, Kragen          ahead of me and we’d be safe, but by
                                                                                    O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals                the time I rolled into the lights, I
                                                                                    champ Doug Kalitta entered the final         was, ‘What, I’m 17th again? If this
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