Worsham caps "wild day" with provisional No. 1 spot
Reading, Friday: Del Worsham was quick to admit it was "one of the wildest, most nerve-wracking days of my life," but in the end he was all smiles. Due to arrive in Reading around noon, flying on a private plane with other racers, a series of delays (both in the air and on the ground) caused Worsham and his Checker, Schuck's, Kragen teammate, Jeff Arend, to actually arrive at Maple Grove Raceway at 3:45, with only about 15 minutes to spare before the first session. For the first time in Worsham's career, a crew member (Warren Bryning) actually sat in the car and hit the throttle to warm it up, but Worsham then calmly went out and posted a solid 4.936 in Q1, which was good enough for the No. 6 spot after that first session.
After warming the car up himself, while also finding his missing iPhone before Q2, Worsham and his father made the conscious decision to aim for a home run on Friday night. They connected, driving a 4.800 down the track, which exactly matched the time posted by Jack Beckman. Worsham, however, ran 323.97 mph on his lap, to Beckman's 322.81, and on the basis of having the faster speed, he claimed the top spot after Friday qualifying.
"I'll tell you right now, I've never had a day like this," Worsham said. "We were up at 3:15 this morning, but we were a little late taking off, it was a little farther away than we thought, and we actually couldn't land at the Reading Airport, because this particular plane needs a longer runway than they have here, so we had to land in Allentown, which added about an hour to the drive. Then, we got caught in traffic, we missed a turn, and we chewed all our fingernails off. It was crazy, but we made it and both teams did a great job getting the cars warmed up. All they needed was the two drivers.
"Once I got here, I changed shoes and found my Apple iPhone in one of them. My wife, Connie, bought me the iPhone about four weeks ago, but I lost track of it after Sonoma. I knew it was here somewhere, so once we actually made it to the track and I stuck my foot in my shoe and found my iPhone, I thought this was actually going to be a good day. On the last run, we knew we were risking quite a bit, basically swinging for the fences, but we had a good handle on what the track would hold and we went for it. The car ran flawlessly, right down the middle, and although we had to wait for a couple of pairs to see if it would hold, it sure felt good to make that lap.
"You know, the car has been running pretty well since Englishtown, but we just haven't had much to show for the better performance. We could easily have a couple of wins under our belt right now, just out of the last six or seven races, but it is what it is and we can't change that, so we're not crying about it. We'll just do our best to stay near the top of the field here, and then we'll focus on round one on Sunday. Right now, that's all we can do. But right now, I'm also saying it turned into a pretty great day."
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