NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car driver Del Worsham planned to sit out this weekend's Nitro Blast-Off Preseason Test Session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The nitro veteran was resigned to stay at home in Orange, Calif., and work on his cars.  That is, until recent developments changed the game plan.

"At the end of last season, we went through quite a few changes around here," Worsham said. "We downsized from two Checker, Schuck's, Kragen-sponsored Funny Cars to one, we retained only two of our red team crew members from the '07 season, and we hired two new guys who are making their pro debuts. Over the winter, we've been building a new car, making all the changes that kept coming in the chassis and safety areas, and doing all we can to have our ducks all lined up for (the 2008 season-opener in) Pomona. With all of that, and since it's usually pretty chilly this time of year in Las Vegas, I just had it in my head that we weren't going. All along we've been planning to go to the Phoenix test session, the next weekend, but because it was such a strange off-season with so many changes, I just thought our work needed to get done more than we needed to pack up and move over to Vegas for this first weekend.

"Then, as everyone knows, the news of the Torco situation hit the internet last week, and in the aftermath of that we made a decision to make another big change. We added two very good crew members from one of the teams (formerly sponsored by Torco) that was parked, so now we have four guys who have never worked with each other before, as well as the two carry-over guys, Ryan McGilvry and Matt Madden, who were only with us one year. In the end, what these guys all wanted was some real practice, some real spring training. They want to fire up the car, put it on the track, work together at the startling line and then service it between runs - and we can't (duplicate) that here at the shop. We're not going to Vegas to prove anything on the track. We're really going over there to practice, to start to turn these individual guys into a team, and to begin the process of getting in 'game shape' under real conditions."

By hiring two new crew members from a now-parked team, Worsham also added some much-needed depth to what had been a young squad. He will now have six full-time crew members working on his car, in addition to himself, his father Chuck, and former CSK blue team co-crew chief Marc Denner, who was the sole blue team member retained after that team was mothballed in November.

"Before the new additions this week, we had enough people to service the car, but really just at the minimum," Worsham said. "There was no getting around the fact that Marc and I felt like we were going to be very hands-on this year, and we still will be because it's my goal to be more in touch with what's happening on the race car, but now we've brought in some more experience and the best thing we can do is get them out there and let them race. We're not going over there with a real aggressive agenda, and I can't even say what time, or what day, we'll tow up for our first lap, but we'll be there and we'll be working as a team, on a Funny Car, at the race track. It's spring training, and that's good for all of us. And now that we've made the decision, we're all pretty much itching to go."

Worsham's team will be joined by a number of other participants, including NHRA Funny Car pilot Gary Densham and NHRA Top Fuel Dragster drivers Larry Dixon, David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta.  A large number of Pro Street, nostalgia and alcohol teams also are expected for the preseason test session.  For more information, please contact The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's office at (702) 632-821 3or visit www.LVMS.com. 

Nitro Blast-Off Schedule:

Thursday, Jan. 17
Credential sales and pit parking - 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18-Sunday, Jan. 20
Credential sales and tech inspection - 7 a.m.
Sportsman and E.T. time trials - 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Professional and Semi-Professional time trials - 9 a.m.-5 p.m.