Milestone man: Fresh off new NHRA ET record, Del Worsham to make 500th career start

(Photos courtesy Kalitta Racing)
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Milestones just seem to keep coming Del Worsham’s way.

At the most recent NHRA national event in Seattle nearly two weeks ago, the defending Funny Car champion broke the national elapsed time record in his class, covering the 1,000-foot drag strip in a blistering 3.832 seconds.

“Setting the national record was really cool,” Worsham told “It is exciting for Kalitta Motorsports and the entire DHL Toyota team to have the success that we are having.”

But Worsham isn’t resting on the laurels of his new record – he wants to reset it yet again.

“There is more and the record will be reset soon by someone, hopefully us,” he said.

Now, Worsham is set for his next major milestone. When he lines up for the first round of eliminations Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota, Worsham will make the 500th start of his drag racing career (combined between Funny Car and Top Fuel).

NHRA Drag Racing

“It’s feels good,” Worsham said. “When I started, it never entered my mind or was a thought that I could be able to hit 500 career starts.”

When Worsham won the Funny Car championship last season, he moved into very exclusive company, becoming only the third driver in NHRA history to win both a Funny Car and Top Fuel championship (Worsham won the latter in 2011).

The only other two drivers to achieve that rare feat are now-retired drag racing heavyweights: Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi.

Worsham has done and seen a lot in his lengthy drag racing career. Since earning NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in 1991, he’s amassed an impressive resume:

* 38 wins (30 in Funny Car, which ranks him in the top-10 all-time; he also has eight Top Fuel wins)

* Has reached 63 final rounds (52 in Funny Car, 11 in Top Fuel)

* Final round winning percentage: 60.3 percent overall, 57.7 percent in Funny Car

* Has qualified No. 1 20 times (13 Funny Car, 7 Top Fuel)

* 545 round wins (13th all-time)

* Still holds the record as the youngest driver to win a Funny Car race (21 years, 2 months – 1991 Atlanta)

Now, Worsham is ready to chase yet another milestone: his second straight Funny Car title and third championship overall. It all starts with the six-race Countdown to the Championship after the upcoming U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

Speaking of which, Worsham is looking to repeat, if not surpass, yet another milestone he set in last year’s Countdown: winning four of the playoffs’ six races to win the championship.

“Being two races out from the Countdown, I feel like our team is starting to get a pretty good handle on the current setup,” Worsham said. “I feel like we have a shot at the title.

“There is also a lot of racing to be done and we learned last year: getting hot in September, October and November is where the Mello Yello Championship is won.”

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”