WORSHAM, FORCE EXCHANGE WORDS FOLLOWING FIRST ROUND RACE
Tempers flared in the Bristol Dragway shutdown area during first round Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
In a close race, John Force defeated Del Worsham, and shortly after the Funny Cars crossed the finish line, the 16-time champion's Camaro darted over into Worsham's lane. There was no contact between the race cars, but upon exiting his car, Worsham was not shy about voicing his displeasure.
"I'm the one who had the problem," Worsham said. "He made a great run, and he beat me. I am cool with that. I got beat. When you lose, and see a bunch of celebrating and everyone is excited when a guy crossed over into your lane but not only bumped cones, but also went into your lane and his parachutes come out in front of you, I just don't like that.
"We've talked about it for years, how there should be boundaries beyond 1,000 foot. You have to stay in your lane. He put me in danger to make sure he won. He put himself in danger, too. He didn't know where he was. He could have run into me. It's one thing to bump a cone; it's another to bring your car into the other guy's lane."
Force believes Worsham was well within his rights to say what was on his mind.
"Worsham's a really good racer," Force said. "He didn't say another thing wrong. He's an honest guy; the one guy I listen to. I got over on the centerline and had to get out of it to keep from getting the cone. I cleared it, but when I went by I went over in the other lane. I hit my parachutes, and I guess they went in his face.
"I'm fighting out here to survive, and so is he. If he said it, he's the real deal, and if he said it he believes it happened. That don't make it right. I love Del Worsham. If I did something, I apologize."
Worsham had put the incident behind him by the time he returned to his pit area.
"Maybe I will be the one who does it next week; I don't know," Worsham said. "Hard racing. John Force is a great guy and a great competitor. We fought it out, side by side race, and I lost. Maybe it was all a heat of the moment thing; no one likes to lose.
"I just didn't appreciate that big blue car in my lane, and definitely didn't appreciate the parachutes in front of my windshield. Whether it was close or not, or it was me [thinking they were.
"Luckily I get my parachutes out on time and get stopped. Had I have missed the parachutes, it could have been the Frank Pedregon 2000 race with Scotty Cannon incident all over again."