Arend will drive Funny car for Worsham in St. Louis
Worsham Racing's popular Murray's
Discount Auto-sponsored "Madman Murray" car will make a surprise appearance at
this weekend's O'Reilly Midwest Nationals near St. Louis, with veteran Funny Car
driver Jeff Arend at the controls. The Worsham organization will operate the
additional car at the event, while Del Worsham and Phil Burkart will drive their
standard red and blue Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Monte Carlos, respectively.
The Murray's car is also scheduled to appear in both Memphis and Indianapolis
later in the year, with Burkart driving.
"We have the equipment, we had a good driver at our disposal, and we
have enough additional crew guys to do this for one race without a lot
of extra effort," Worsham said. "So, we got with CSK and discussed the
idea with them, and the consensus was to do this with the Murray's body
on the car. This way, we're able to give the latest addition to the
CSK family of stores some additional exposure, while we also get to
provide the St. Louis fans with a chance see this great car. With our
midwestern shop in Auburn, Ind. being right on the way from
Englishtown, it wasn't that difficult of a project to take on. We just
stopped here on the way, and got to work on it."
Arend, a long-time competitor and one-time winner on the NHRA tour, has
been friends with Worsham since he made his debut in 1995, though this
will mark the first time he has driven a Worsham-owned car. For
Worsham, finding a driver for this project was the easy part. Knowing
his hard working team would all contribute to making it happen was the
"I've known Jeff for a lot of years, and he's turned himself into a
very good Funny Car driver," Worsham said. "We were talking in
Englishtown and formulated this entire idea in less than an hour, from
Jeff driving the car, to who would work on it, and how we would set it
up at the track. All of the guys have pitched in to make this happen,
because we're going to run the Murray's team out of what is normally
our hospitality and parts trailer. It's a former blue team trailer, so
it was originally designed to run a car out of, we just hadn't been
using it for that lately. We had to remove all the hospitality stuff,
which included huge rolls of plastic flooring, as well as a bunch of
tables, chairs, and umbrellas, and when we were done removing all of
that, we put a race car and extra parts back in. Instant racing rig,
ready to go.
"A project like this is one that really makes me proud of quickly we
can react around here, and how great the people are who work for us.
On very short notice, every crew guy immediately jumped in on this
project and it was impressive to watch. All of the guys got involved,
worked together on it, and made it happen. After the race in St.
Louis, we'll do it all again in reverse, since this trailer has to go
back to being the anchor for our hospitality area throughout the
Arend is known as a dedicated racer who works hard to consistently find
a way to get on the race track, so he should have no problem fitting in
with Worsham and Burkart, two drivers who have set a standard for hard
work and perseverance.
"Del and Phil are just like me, they love to race and they'll do
whatever it takes," Arend said. " To me, this was a complete
no-brainer. When Del Worsham calls and asks if you want to drive one
of his cars, you don't hesitate, you don't think about it overnight,
you just say yes, as fast as you can. This will be great for me, great
for CSK Auto, and great for Murray's Discount Auto. If we can go out
there and win some rounds, I think this will be a pretty nice story.
"Another part of the natural fit for me is just how much I like these
guys. I've had the utmost respect for Del, Phil, and everyone on the
Worsham team for a long time, and it will be both a pleasure and an
honor to be their teammate in St. Louis. Del and I don't live too far
apart, and our families get together from time to time. We go way back
and we've been friends for a long time. Phil is also a great guy and a
real friend. We email each other almost every day. To me, this will
be like joining up with a couple of good buddies, to drive a fast car
with a big 'Madman' on the hood. What more could you want?"