Del Worsham ends retirement

Updated: November 27, 2012, 6:10 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

Del Worsham, who retired after winning the 2011 NHRA Top Fuel championship, is returning to the driver's seat in 2013.

Worsham will take over as the driver of the DHL Toyota Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports, team officials announced Tuesday.

Worsham, 42, raced full time in Funny Car for 15 consecutive seasons (1996-2010), finishing as the championship runner-up in 2004. But he moved to a Top Fuel dragster in 2011 and won the title for Al Anabi Racing.

"I'm ready to get back in the seat," Worsham said. "It's only been a year, so maybe it won't take long to knock the rust off."

Worsham worked this year as the crew chief for 2012 Funny Car rookie Alexis DeJoria in the Tequila Patrón Toyota, one of two Funny Cars for legendary team owner Connie Kalitta.

Tommy DeLago will replace Worsham as DeJoria's crew chief next season. DeLago, 43, guided Matt Hagan to the 2011 Funny Car title at Don Schumacher Racing.

"Working for Connie is the best job in drag racing," DeLago said. "He's a pioneer in the sport. He's always more than willing to try new things. That's one of the things I admire most about him."

Glen Huszar, who was an integral part of DeLago's success with Hagan, also joins Kalitta Motorsports as co-crew chief on the DeJoria's car.

Worsham replaces Jeff Arend as the driver of the DHL Funny Car. Arend took over for Scott Kalitta (Connie's son) after Scott was killed in a crash in 2008.

Worsham, a resident of Villa Park, Calif., is No. 8 on the NHRA's all-time Funny Car win list with 25 victories.

"This really is a dream come true for me and my family," Worsham said. "Connie and everyone at Kalitta Motorsports have been our friends for years. To be able to continue racing with them is truly an honor. Scott (Kalitta) and I were good friends, and I'm humbled to be taking over the controls of his race car. The DHL Funny Car will always be Scott's car."

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter