Timing unusual for Del Worsham’s departure from Team Kalitta to return to family team

Photo courtesy Gary Nastase
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Just over a week after finishing seventh in the 2016 NHRA Funny Car standings, Del Worsham surprised not only his team, Kalitta Motorsports, but the entire drag racing world when he announced Tuesday he was leaving and rejoining his family’s Funny Car race team for 2017.

Worsham’s departure caught everyone by surprise.

Worsham’s status with his family team – whether to continue racing or become a crew chief or an administrator – is unclear. He left Al-Anabi Racing after winning the 2011 Top Fuel championship and became a crew chief in 2012 for Team Kalitta.

By becoming only the third driver in NHRA history to win both Top Fuel and Funny Car championships, Worsham’s racing days could be over.

Then again, maybe not.

“It was a hard decision to leave a championship-caliber team such as Kalitta Motorsports,” Worsham said in a statement, acknowledging that he became the first driver to earn a championship for Kalitta, who has been drag racing for over 50 years. “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 (the late Scott Kalitta, who was killed in a crash in 2008) 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.”

The parting was amicable.

“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.”

Typically, teams or drivers announce they will split ties generally late in the season. But it’s rare to have last year’s champion call it quits nine days after the 2016 season ended.

During his driving tenure for Team Kalitta, Worsham compiled six wins, 10 runner-ups and eight No. 1 qualifiers.

Worsham will have to look for a new sponsor for his family operation, as DHL – which had been with Kalitta for several years – will remain with the organization going forward in 2017, a team spokesman told NBCSports.com.

As for potential replacements, Team Kalitta has reportedly made its decision, but is not ready to announce it yet. It’s possible that Team Kalitta could shift current Top Fuel driver J.R. Todd to Funny Car to fill Worsham’s spot.

Another possibility – particularly if the Todd from Top Fuel to Funny Car move occurs – is to bring in former three-time champion Larry Dixon to drive Todd’s Top Fueler in 2017. Dixon already has plans to return to competition next season, but with a solid team like Kalitta and strong sponsorship, he could be a perfect fit.

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Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”