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Pole ends Worsham’s drought

A second day of high temperatures dulled performances in the premier professional categories of the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, but it didn’t impede Del Worsham from jumping from sixth to the top qualifying spot in Funny Car.

Worsham claimed the pole, his first since 2007, with a run of 4.187 seconds at 297.75 mph.

Top runs by Antron Brown in Top Fuel and Mike Edwards in Pro Stock held up from Friday’s qualifying.

The high of 84 degrees at Las Vegas Motor Speedway combined with a sunny day to cook the racing surface to 123 degrees.

The hot track had the most impact on Funny Car and Top Fuel results.

"It’s been a frustrating year," Worsham said. "When the track’s been above 100 degrees, we’ve just had a heck of a time getting down the track.

"(Crew chief) Dickie Venables, based on past performance, has just been great in those conditions, so he’s been very frustrated."

Worsham’s Al-Anabi Racing team was one of six in Top Fuel and Funny Car to use a new model Goodyear rear slick.

Championship eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. today in the sixth of 23 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events.

■ EARLY OPENING — Spectator gates will open at 6:45 a.m. today to allow ticketed spectators to attend the live "NHRA Race Day" show on ESPN2 (31). Pro eliminations will air on the network taped delayed at 4 p.m.

■ FOUR-WIDE TO RETURN — NHRA president Tom Compton announced Saturday that the controversial four-wide format will return in 2011 at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

However, plans for adding two lanes to the Las Vegas dragstrip have been curtailed, according to LVMS president Chris Powell. Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns the tracks at Charlotte and Las Vegas.

Compton met with members of the Professional Racers Owners Organization on Saturday morning. The group had voted 60-2 during the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals three weeks ago not to participate in another championship points-pay event when four lanes are used.

Drivers and team owners will compete at the event, according to Compton.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.

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