NHRA: Worsham Looking To Add To Stellar Windy City Resume

RaceChaser Staff Featured, NHRA 0 Comments

Del Worsham is chasing his first win of the season this weekend at Route 66 Raceway. (NHRA photo)

JOLIET, Ill. – There is something about Route 66 Raceway that brings out the best in Del Worsham.

After a week off and confident that a frustrating stretch is behind him, the Funny Car standout hopes his good history with Chicago continues at this weekend’s 20th annual Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by K&N.

Worsham, a former Top Fuel world champion, has posted four victories (three in Funny Car, one in Top Fuel) at the state-of-the-art facility, tied with Auto Club Raceway at Pomona as the most successful track in his long and storied career.

Sitting outside the top 10 and looking to get his 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on track in his 10,000-horsepower Lucas Oil Toyota Camry, Route 66 Raceway might provide the perfect backdrop for Worsham’s turnaround.

“It’s a cool place and I just love it,” said Worsham, who has 39 career wins, 31 of which have come in Funny Car. “There’s a cool presence when you race there. You can tell they care about this track. It’s one place that really stands out when it comes to ownership and management. Even going back to the very first event there in 1998 when I was runner-up, I’ve had tons of success there. For whatever reason, this facility seems to match up well with us.”

The 2017 season hasn’t featured quite the amount of success Worsham was hoping for when he returned to his family racing team with his father, Chuck Worsham. He has scored just three round wins and currently sits in 11th, five points back of Cruz Pedregon.

Worsham fell in the first round at the final three races of a rigorous four-race stretch, but a solid test session in Norwalk following that event and a week off before Chicago has both he and his team reinvigorated heading into the second half of the season.

“We made big improvements staying after in Norwalk and we all felt good about it,” Worsham said. “Coming back, you can definitely see a change in everyone’s attitude. Luckily, we’ve all hung in there and everybody is excited to be (in Chicago). We’ve got a chance of making the Countdown and that’s something we would love to do. Hopefully with athe rest and some of the added performance we found in Norwalk, we can put ourselves in a good position.”

For Worsham to inch into the top 10, he knows that first-round losses must be kept to a minimum from here on out. That’s difficult in a loaded Funny Car class topped by points leader and reigning world champ Ron Capps, who has five wins this year, but one area of focus for Worsham is helping himself.

That hasn’t happened as much as he would have liked through the first 12 races and remains a major point of focus heading to Route 66 Raceway, where he last won in 2011.

“We still need to try and do as well as we can, run as hard as we can to try to win and win all the rounds that we should win,” Worsham said. “We have to be able to capitalize on mistakes and be there to take advantage. That’s kind of been my goal the whole season, but we ran into some roadblocks. Some of those races we should have won and we can’t give those away. Hopefully starting (in Chicago) we can take advantage of those.”

CREDIT: NHRA Communications

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