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Mon, 19 Sep 2005, 02:19 PM

Worsham "Getting Nostalgic"
Courtesy of Bob Wilber

Bringing Newly Completed "Blue Max" Funny Car to Dallas

ORANGE, Calif. -- Del Worsham lives, eats, breathes, and most likely dreams drag racing. In what little spare time his hectic racing life allows, he usually keeps his hands dirty by embarking on pet projects, including the building of his now-famous "Mega-Rita" nitro-powered margarita mixer, as well as the construction of an alcohol Funny Car his crew members were allowed to drive, and the complete interior build-out of his team's new shop in California. Now, it's time to get nostalgic.

Worsham will bring a recently completed 1977 Mustang II Blue Max nostalgia Funny Car to this weekend's NHRA event at the Texas Motorplex, and he plans to do more than just display the car. Under the watchful eyes of legendary Blue Max driver Raymond Beadle, who will be in attendance with original Blue Max owner Harry Schmidt, as well as team members Fred Miller and Dale Emery, Worsham plans to make a couple of exhibition laps down the Motorplex quarter-mile in the beautiful new "old" car. Built by Worsham, his father Chuck, and the Checker, Schuck's, Kragen crew over the past year, the replica of one of drag racing's most historic cars was painstakingly recreated, including a stunning paint job provided by Paintin' Place and striping and airbrush work from Signs By Kelly and Kenny Youngblood.

"The car is absolutely gorgeous," Worsham said. "It's easily one of the nicest paint jobs I've ever seen, and after Paintin' Place got done, the guys from Kelly did all the outlining and striping, and Youngblood went to work airbrushing and hand-lettering the car. The Blue Max logo is done old-school, hand-applied in gold leaf. It was like watching the masters at work to see this body come to life. It takes your breath away."

The seed for this idea was planted more than two years ago when Chuck Worsham was assisting a friend, nostalgia racer Nate Bugg, on the "Lil Nate" nostalgia flopper. Looking for a fun new side project, the younger Worsham told his father he wanted to build a similar car, but the body could only be fashioned after one particular historic racing vehicle, Raymond Beadle's Blue Max. Before they could proceed, of course, Worsham needed to find a rare '77 Mustang Funny Car body, and it was Bugg who returned the favor to the Worshams by locating the historic piece.

"When I decided I wanted to do this, there was absolutely no question it would be a replica of Beadle's Blue Max," Del Worsham said. "It's my favorite car of all time, and I think it's one of the most famous and most popular Funny Cars to ever compete. I knew we needed a real 1977 Mustang II body and I wasn't sure how hard it was going to be to find one, but once Nate landed this one for us, it was on. The body is 30 years old but it's in good shape. It was actually found at a swap meet in Riverside. Once we got the process in motion, I talked to Fred Miller and he immediately got Raymond Beadle's blessing. That was key, as I wanted this to be something Raymond would be proud of.

"We started picking away at it over the past year, putting a chassis together and ordering parts. Finally, we learned that Raymond was planning on attending the Dallas event to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Motorplex, and that gave us a target date. We got the car finished, and we're bringing it with us. I have no idea what it's going to be like to drive it, but I'm so excited to get in there and light it up I can't sleep."

Beadle, who drove the original Blue Max from 1975 to 1986, is understandably excited to the see the Worshams' recreation of his legendary fuel coupe.

"First of all, when I heard that Del and Chuck Worsham wanted to do this project it really excited me," Beadle said. "Other people have approached me over the years, with ideas about bringing the Blue Max back, but when I heard it was the Worshams I knew it would be a first class deal. I know Del loved the Blue Max when he was kid, and I've seen how they carry themselves and run their NHRA operation, so I'm really looking forward to this.

"I can't wait to get to the Motorplex. It will be great to see what the Worshams have done, and it will be great to see my guys again. It will be like old times. I guess that's what this whole nostalgia thing is all about, and I think it's a great thing."

Worsham plans to fit the exhibition runs into his racing schedule on both Friday and Saturday at this weekend's NHRA national event.

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