NHRA: Del Worsham leaves Kalitta Motorsports for his family team

Photo: Kalitta Motorsports
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Del Worsham has left Kalitta Motorsports and will rejoin his family-run team for 2017.

A release with full details is below:

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.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”