Virginia NHRA Nationals
Worsham pride, CSK legacy, keys to Richmond approach
All of those feelings only made it harder to accept the fate which befell him at the most recent race on the tour, in
"Much of it is just simple pride, both in terms of how I feel about this team and how the crew feels about their work," Worsham said. "We have always taken a great deal of pride in how we approach things, and how we perform. We're also proud of how we handle adversity, and how we bounce back. Nobody was happy about
"The other part is just the end of the CSK story, and the legacy we want to leave. We're not losing a sponsor in the classic sense, as if they just dropped us and went on to something different, we're losing CSK in total. It's been 12 great years with them, and the words 'Checker, Schuck's, Kragen' are part of my everyday vocabulary, so it's really tough to see the deal go away, and to see the company be acquired. Pretty soon, we'll all just be a part of history, I guess, but for right now we have three races left together, and you know what I'd like to do for all of our friends over there."
Since signing his first deal with CSK Auto prior to the 1997 season, Worsham has delivered the goods on many levels. His popularity among the company's 12,000 employees was never questioned, and always stood as a rallying point for all CSK associates who rooted for their team, and their driver. His 20 race victories (and a Skoal Showdown win) since the inception of the sponsorship were enough to keep any marketing or sales partner motivated, while they allowed Worsham to create new inroads of awareness and loyalty with retail customers throughout the company's territory. In all, it was a classic case of a "mutually beneficial" program, and it now has but three races left to run.
"We had great hopes when we signed this deal for 1997, but none of us really knew what was possible or where it all might lead," Worsham said. "We just decided to do the best we could, and to do all we could to help the people at CSK get behind us. What it turned into was a gigantic family, and there are literally thousands of CSK employees who I've met over the years, and you could always tell that they felt like they were part of this. I think that has been the best part of the whole deal; just meeting all those people and seeing what this team meant to them. Many of them have already moved on, but we're still connected by the last 12 years, so I'd really like to give them something to stand up and cheer about.
"To do that, we're going to have to be stellar this weekend. The Countdown deal is in full swing, and the top teams are all bunched-up in the points trying to track down Tim Wilkerson, so the intensity level is going to be huge. There's so much at stake for all of those teams, but there's a lot at stake for us, too. For us, it's just more personal and not really about points or round wins at all. This is just for us, and for this big CSK family, and we just want to finish strong. Nothing would be better, for anyone who ever said 'Checker, Schuck's, Kragen' as fast as they could, or who ever rooted for or supported this team."
It begins Friday, at
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