LAS VEGAS, Nev. (April 12, 2015) – J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil/Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, and Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, earned semi-final finishes this weekend at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Todd, who was celebrating his one-year anniversary with Kalitta Motorsports, had a great Friday qualifying session. He guided the Red Line Oil team to the top spot with an elapsed time of 3.758 seconds. Saturday saw Las Vegas heat pick up, and Todd’s number would not be beat. It was his eighth career no. 1 qualifier, second consecutive and fifth in the past 11 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
Todd drew Steve Faria in the first round. Faria put up career best numbers, but they could not compete with the speed of the Red Line Oil/Kalitta Air Top Fuel Dragster which ran a 3.825 seconds at over 320 mph. Dom Lagana was Todd’s second round opponent, but Todd was able to overcome that challenge as well to advance to his twenty-third career semi-final or better finish. The final four pairing put Todd against a fellow Road to the Future winner, Richie Crampton.
Todd and Crampton raced a great race with solid reaction and elapsed times but Crampton got to finish line just eleven thousandths of a second before the Red Line Oil/Kalitta Air Top Fuel Dragster.
“The Red Line Oil guys definitely did a good job this weekend,” said Todd. “The performance is definitely back, but I need to do a better job driving. Rounds like that are tough for me.”
Todd’s success this weekend advanced him one position in the point standings to ninth, while expanding his lead over eleventh to nearly two rounds.
DeJoria returned to the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals as the defending event champion. A small fire in the Patron trailer was not enough to keep the Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar-led crew down. The team laid down four consistent passes in qualifying. The quickest run, a 4.037 second pass at 308 mph, placed DeJoria fourth in the qualifying order. The Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car also ran the best pass on Saturday’s qualifying session to prove that they would be one of the teams that would challenge for the trophy on Sunday.
In a highly anticipated matchup, DeJoria drew fellow female competitor, Courtney Force, in round one. She recorded a solid reaction time and defeated Force with a 4.115 second pass. That meant that she gave up lane choice to her teammate, Del Worsham, in round two. However, both lanes would prove to be difficult for the Team Kalitta teammates as both of the Toyota Camry Funny Cars smoked the tires about halfway down the track. DeJoria was able to get her Camry to corporate quicker, and that led her to victory over her teammate. Although she succumbed to tire smoke again in her sixteenth career semi-final or better finish, it was a successful weekend for the Patrón team which moved up several spots in the point standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, came into Las Vegas with a very consistent race car. Although he had yet to pick up an event win, the DHL team was leading the point standings coming into the event. Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante tuned the Toyota Camry Funny Car to a solid 4.048 second pass at 316.52 mph to earn bonus points and another top five starting position. Worsham drew fellow Toyota Racing driver Tony Pedregon in round one. The DHL “Yella Fellas” gave Worsham a solid and clean 4.11 pass to advance him to face his teammate in round two. In a dual tire-pedaling run, DeJoria just got by Worsham.
“Tough loss, the DHL Camry has not smoked the tires much this year and I never felt like the car calmed down enough for me to be able to get back on it,” said Worsham. “The DHL Toyota Camry is still running well and we are looking forward to Houston.”
The DHL team leaves The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in second in the points, less than a round out of the top spot.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, started another race from the top half of the field. His Friday evening efforts of 3.793 seconds at over 315 mph placed him sixth overall for Sunday’s eliminations. For his efforts, he drew Don Schumacher Racing driver Spencer Massey. Kalitta’s 3.807 second pass would have been good enough to defeat nearly ever other winner in the class in the first session, but Spencer Massey. His slightly quicker 3.796 second run moved Massey past the driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster.
“Unfortunately, we just drew the wrong opponent on Sunday,” said Kalitta. “My Mac Tools group laid down a solid number, but it wasn’t enough. We learned a lot about the heat this weekend, and look forward to using that information in Houston in a couple weeks.”
It was just Kalitta’s second first round defeat this season, and his consistency allowed the Mac Tools team to retain a position in the top ten of the point standings.
After five races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have advanced to three final rounds and earned two no.1 qualifying positions. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has next weekend off. Our next race takes us down to Texas for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Houston from April 24-26.
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Red Line Oi/Kalitta Air Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 1 Qualifier (3.758 sec., 324.83 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Faria - 3.825 sec., 320.81 mph to 3.957 sec., 307.02 mph
E2: Todd defeated Lagana - 3.916 sec., 308.64 mph to 9.168 sec., 73.27 mph
E3: Todd defeated by Crampton - 3.837 sec., 321.73 mph to 3.828 sec., 318.32 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 4 Qualifier (4.037 sec., 308.78 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated C. Force - 4.115 sec., 301.40 mph to 4.165 sec., 304.12 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated Worsham - 5.852 sec., 239.06 mph to 5.885 sec., 160.61 mph
E3: DeJoria defeated by J. Force - 4.165 sec., 312.35 mph to 12.689 sec., 70.85 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 5 Qualifier (4.048 sec., 316.52 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated T. Pedregon - 4.110 sec., 312.71 mph to 4.211 sec., 291.95mph and 8.579 sec., 80.65 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by DeJoria - 5.885 sec., 160.61 mph to 5.852 sec., 239.06 mph and broke.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 6 Qualifier (3.793 sec., 317.94 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Massey - 3.807 sec., 322.65 mph to 3.796 sec., 328.78 mph
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (385)
2. Tony Schumacher (375)
3. Shawn Langdon (370)
4. Spencer Massey (358)
5. Richie Crampton (349)
6. Steve Torrence (273)
7. Doug Kalitta (272)
8. Larry Dixon (263)
9. J.R. Todd (261)
10. Clay Millican (241)
1. Matt Hagan (369)
2. Del Worsham (360)
3. Robert Hight (323)
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (316)
5. Ron Capps (313)
6. John Force (287)
7. Alexis DeJoria (271)
8. Cruz Pedregon (257)
9. John Hale (256)
10. Jack Beckman (249)