Worsham returns to earth, lands in Reading
Reading, prerace: It was a weekend he'll never forget, a truly "once in a lifetime" series of events which delivered Del Worsham to the pinnacle of the drag racing world. His Skoal Showdown victory, coupled with his Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win, bumped the Checker, Schuck's, Kragen driver into a new tax bracket and into the record books, but all of that is now nothing more than history.
Worsham and his red CSK team will enter this weekend's event in Reading the same way they've arrived for every race this year. They'll focus on getting qualified, they'll aim for a top-half slot on the ladder, and they'll hope to win round one. The twin wins in Indy, after all, offer no headstart or guarantee at the next event. Here, Worsham again becomes just another driver trying to maximize his results.
"It was an amazing weekend in Indy, obviously unlike anything I've ever experienced," Worsham said. "And fortunately, we actually got to soak it all in for a few days with the next weekend off. Now, though, it's race week and we're heading for Reading. We start with nothing, and have to earn it all. Well, actually, we'll start with a big POWERade flag in our pit, showing everyone we won the last race, but that won't earn us any free points in Reading.
"Looking back over the year, I know it's easy to say it was mostly a big disappointment, but the more I look at the numbers the less Indy surprises me. We've run well, all year. Look at our qualifying positions, where we've only been in the bottom half of the field three times all year, and the last time was at Columbus back in May. We're running well, we just finally put it all together at Indy. I guess we picked a good time to get our act together."
Keeping that act together might be on the agenda, if certain historic trends manifest themselves, or it could be a huge challenge if one analyzes other moments in Worsham's history. On one hand, Worsham has shown a tendency to get hot and stay hot, as he did twice in 2004 with a pair of back-to-back wins and an amazing streak of 15 round wins at the final five races. Resting in the opposing palm is the fact he has never won in Reading. Maple Grove Raceway is on the ever-shrinking list of tracks at which Worsham is winless, along with Brainerd, Memphis, Las Vegas, and Topeka.
"Well, then this is as good a week as any to erase Reading from the list," Worsham stated. "Seriously, though, we've never gotten the results we've wanted in Reading, and we've had a few spectacular failures there. There are a couple of photographers who can testify to that point, because they got some incredible pictures of us blowing stuff up at Maple Grove Raceway.
"The forecast looks really good as of now, but in eastern Pennsylvania your forecast is accurate for about an hour in the best of times, and right now there's a hurricane spinning around out in the Atlantic, so there's no telling what we're in for. If it stays cool and dry, the numbers will be big. Reading has great air, and if the conditions are good people really fly there. We'll be ready for that, and we'll be ready for whatever Mother Nature and Maple Grove conspire to throw at us. Whatever it is, we'll try to react and run better than the next guy."
If it's time to "stay hot," running better than the next guy will be Worsham's forte'. In Indy, he ran better than the next guy for seven consecutive eliminations laps, and usually ran better than anyone still competing. But that was Indy, and this is Reading.
"One thing I really believe in is momentum," Worsham said. "It's a weird thing, absolutely impossible to put your finger on, but it's very real. When you have it, you feel it and things start to come to you. It could be as simple as the fact other teams start to press when they see you're hot. When you don't have momentum, you keep losing by a thousandth, like we did earlier in the year. We have momentum, and we have confidence, so I'm ready to go."And ready to knock Reading off that list.
Return to Team Reports Archive
Return to the Home Page