YPSILANTI, Mich. (November 22, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports announces today the departure of 2015 NHRA Funny Car Champion Del Worsham. Worsham will remain a valuable part of the NHRA community as he rejoins his family-owned Funny Car team.
“It was a hard decision to leave a championship-caliber team such as Kalitta Motorsports,” said Worsham. “However, there is so much unfinished business with my family’s team and I felt now is the time to do it. I am excited to see what the future holds. I cannot thank Connie Kalitta enough for giving me a shot in Scott’s car, and helping me achieve one of my ultimate goals: a Funny Car championship. I also want to thank Jim O (Oberhofer), Jon O (Oberhofer), Nicky Boninfante, the ‘YellaFellas’ and my Kalitta Motorsports teammates.”
“I walked away from one of the best rides in 2011 after I won the Top Fuel championship, and I feel the same way now. The time is just right and I know this is the right decision for me and my family.”
After claiming his 2011 Top Fuel Championship with Al-Anabi Racing, Worsham joined Team Kalitta as crew chief for Alexis DeJoria’s rookie NHRA Funny Car season. In 2013, Worsham moved back to the driver’s seat as driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Last season, Worsham delivered Connie Kalitta his first Funny Car championship as an owner. From 2013 through 2016, Worsham claimed six victories, 10 additional final round appearances, eight No.1 qualifiers and 120 round wins.
“Del has been a big part of the Kalitta Motorsports family for many years and we are sad to see him go,” said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “He gave Connie his first Funny Car championship and has been a valuable asset for DHL, Toyota and our entire group of supporters. We wish him the best of success in his next endeavors.”
The new driver for the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car has already been selected and will be announced at a later date.
LOS ANGELES (November 14, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports founder and owner Connie Kalitta was honored last night at the season-ending Mello Yello Awards banquet with NHRA's Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the first time in NHRA history that this award has been given.
Kalitta's honor received the first standing ovation of the evening as NHRA President Peter Clifford addressed the crowd with some of Kalitta's incredible achievements. A video tribute followed with all four of Kalitta's current full-time drivers: Alexis DeJoria, Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd and Del Worsham, team Vice-President of Operations Jim Oberhofer, NHRA legends Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen, and rival team owners John Force and Don Schumacher speaking on what Kalitta meant to the sport and how far reaching his impact has truly been.
Escorted to the stage by Oberhofer, nephew Doug Kalitta and grandson Corey Kalitta, son of the late Scott Kalitta, Connie Kalitta received his one-of-a-kind trophy and made remarks.
"I am not usually at a loss for words," said Kalitta. "Thank you for this. I appreciate everything that each of you said in that piece. I am honored to receive such an award."
Kalitta, known as “The Bounty Hunter” as a driver, was the first racer to reach the 200 mph mark at an NHRA sanctioned event. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992 and won the U.S. Nationals in 1994. On NHRA’s 50th anniversary in 2001, he was named one of the NHRA’s Top 50 Drivers.
His team, Kalitta Motorsports, ended 2016 with their most successful season on record as Team Kalitta's four full-time teams earned a combined 131 round wins. Kalitta will continue to have a major part of the NHRA for many years to come as his team expands to six entries beginning in the 2017 season with rookie driver Troy Coughlin Jr. and veteran Paul Lee joining Team Kalitta on a part-time basis to compete alongside DeJoria, Kalitta, Todd and Worsham.
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Leah Pritchett (122)
2. Doug Kalitta (105)
3. Antron Brown (79)
4. Tony Schumacher (70)
5. Brittany Force (57)
6. Troy Coughlin Jr. (54)
7. Steve Torrence (53)
8. Terry McMillen (48)
9. Shawn Reed (32)
9. Scott Palmer (32)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Matt Hagan (119)
2. Courtney Force (99)
3. John Force (80)
4. Ron Capps (77)
5. Jack Beckman (53)
6. J.R. Todd (52)
6. Del Worsham (52)
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (52)
9. Robert Hight (36)
10. Alexis DeJoria (35)