News Ticker

Focused Worsham Aiming for New Houston Highlights

Share

DelWorsham & Fink Racing

2018 Toyota Camry Nitro Funny Car

Pre-Event Report
Date: April 20-22, 2018
Race: NHRA SpringNationals
Location: Royal Purple Raceway

Del Worsham

Del Worsham

HOUSTON (April 18, 2018) — Del Worsham has plenty of solid history and fond memories from Royal Purple Raceway (the facility formerly known as Houston Raceway Park) which he built over the course of an illustrious career that is closing in on being three decades long. He’s won there, he’s had important associate sponsors from the area, and he’s made plenty of friends in and around Houston. When the NHRA Mello Yello tour descends on the track this weekend, for the 2018 NHRA SpringNationals, Worsham is laser focused on adding to the significant list of accomplishments in which Houston has played a major role.

Worsham’s career featured an initial period of six years without major sponsorship. To stay out on the road, he and his father Chuck built a strong coalition of associate partners, including a Houston-based truck and car customizing firm known as Texas Stagecoach. Frank Gilchrist, the owner of Texas Stagecoach, and his family quickly became close friends with the Worshams. They remain close to this day.

From 1997 through 2008, Worsham landed and developed a strong primary sponsorship with auto parts retailer CSK Auto. In 2009 and 2010, he drove a Funny Car for Al Anabi Racing. In 2011, he remained with Al Anabi but shifted to a Top Fuel Dragster, in which he won his first NHRA world championship. After a year as a crew chief, he returned to Funny Car racing with Kalitta Motorsports in 2013 and, in 2015, he added the title “NHRA Funny Car World Champion” to his resume, making him one of just three drivers to ever win the crown in both nitro classes. In 2017, Worsham went “full circle” and returned to his family racing organization, with this father Chuck. Now, in 2018, Worsham will again compete at Houston in his Worsham & Fink Toyota Camry Funny Car, aiming to add to his impressive list of credentials while making more fond Houston memories.

“The city of Houston and the Houston track both mean a lot to me and my dad,” he said. “Frank Gilchrist was a big part of keeping us going through the 1990s until we landed and then built up the CSK deal. He and his family are still among our dearest friends, and always will be. Whether it was winning rounds or having dinner at Lupe Tortilla, we always enjoyed our time in Houston. It’s like a second home to us, in a lot of ways.

“After I won two races as a rookie in 1991, we went through a drought all the way until 1999, when we won in Seattle. That was big, but it was kind of a finesse win on a hot and tricky track. We didn’t win in 2000, but in 2001 we came back to Houston and just dominated. We qualified No. 1 and powered through three good teams to make the final, where we beat John Force. That win, where we truly were the best team in the race, changed my life. It got us going and we started winning more, and then it got to where we were winning a lot. We weren’t underdogs anymore. I also won at Houston in 2008, our last year with CSK, and then again in 2011, on my way to the Top Fuel championship, but that win in 2001 was the one that changed everything.”

Worsham will admit that his return to the family team makes him an underdog once again, but at the two most recent NHRA national events he’s looked a lot more like his championship self. In Gainesville and Las Vegas he was fast, consistent, and easily capable of winning rounds or the race. In Vegas, at the 4-Wide event, he was inched out in the second round when the slowest car in his group, driven by JR Todd, slapped a double hole-shot on Worsham and John Force to move on to the finals. Once there, Todd sealed the deal and won the race.

“We were so close to winning the whole thing in Vegas, and it was frustrating, but it was also a huge confidence boost because we were so consistent and so capable,” Worsham said. “I didn’t really see it as losing on a double hole-shot, because my reaction time was pretty standard and it wasn’t like I blinked or was way late. I saw it as really just JR earning the double hole-shot over two good drivers. He earned it.

“Once some time had passed and I could look at both the good and bad parts, it got me pretty fired up to realize how close we were to maybe winning that race. The guy that beat us won it, and we were running right with all the other fastest cars there. It was kind of a ‘so close but yet so far’ deal, in that regard. We haven’t won yet, since we put the band back together, and there would be no better place to do it than Houston. I can say this; I wouldn’t be surprised or shocked if we did win this weekend. We’re sure going to try.”

Good friends and big race wins that changed careers and helped win a championship are things Houston is made of in Del Worsham’s mind. Earning another trophy and creating a new set of memories would be the perfect addition to the scrapbook.fox sportsTelevision coverage for the 2018 NHRA SpringNationals
All times Eastern

Friday qualifying: 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm on FS1
Sunday qualifying recap: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm on FS1
Eliminations: 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on FS1 (LIVE COVERAGE)

Worsham & Fink Racing
2018 Toyota Camry Nitro Funny Car
Driver: Del Worsham
2011 Top Fuel World Champion
2015 Funny Car World Champion

Car Photo Credit:  AutoImagery via Worsham and Fink Racing,  Driver photo courtesy of NHRA

Share