Kalitta Motorsports News

POMONA, Calif. (November 15, 2015) - Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, is your 2015 NHRA Mello Yello World Champion and winner of the final race of the year: the Auto Club Finals.

He secured the championship by defeating Jack Beckman in the semi-final round of the Auto Club Finals. In a weekend with record-breaking runs, Worsham came out on top, earning Kalitta Motorsports their first Funny Car championship.

This championship makes Worsham the third driver to win a championship in Top Fuel and Funny Car, while delivering Kalitta Motorsports their first title since the late Scott Kalitta won in back-to-back years in 1994 and 1995 in the Top Fuel class.

This was Toyota’s first Funny Car championship since 2008 and only second overall; and with family and friends around, the championship win became very special for Worsham.

“It is an amazing feeling. I have been here before, not that did me any good up there,” said Worsham. “It felt like it was 25 years ago, and I was making my first run. The team has been behind me, regardless of the situation. We are racing for Scott, Connie and the entire Kalitta Motorsports family. My teammates, sponsors, DHL, Toyota, Red Line, thank you for your support. Nicky Boninfante, Jon Oberhofer, Dave Boyer and the entire DHL team, the job they have did has been incredible. They have not made a mistake since September.”

This team means so much to team owner Connie Kalitta, as it was driven by the late Scott Kalitta. “Everytime I get inside this DHL Toyota Camry I see his (Scott Kalitta’s) name. I hop in and think about Scott, and his sons: Colin and Corey,” said Worsham.

Worsham was stout throughout qualifying. He earned two bonus points and started third. The DHL team was able to pick up round wins over former champions Tony Pedregon and Robert Hight securing the crucial matchup in the semi-finals with Beckman.
The winner of the pairing would win the championship. Beckman and Worsham were the class of the field the entire Countdown and that followed in the Auto Club Finals.

They left side-by-side, but Beckman had to pedal, while the DHL Toyota Camry was true down the track. His 3.92 second run was more than enough to beat Beckman’s 4.088 giving the title to Worsham.

However, the DHL Yella Fellas did not settle. Worsham ran a 3.908 to defeat Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round to earn his fourth win on the season.

That completed what was a storybook season for Worsham and the entire DHL team.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, had another solid run in his new chassis. They were solid in qualifying, making it down the track each time. However, they never ran the big number forcing the Mac Tools team to start from the bottom half of the ladder.

However, Jim Oberhofer was ready for the challenge. In the top battle in the Top Fuel class in round one, Kalitta was able to steer his way past a tire smoking Tony Schumacher to gain a spot in points and begin his charge for the Auto Club Finals trophy.

The second round saw Kalitta earn another round win. He took on Billy Torrence, who was stout the whole weekend.The semi-finals did not go Kalitta’s way, but the excitement of Worsham’s win resonated throughout.

“I am so proud to be a part of Kalitta Motorsports,” said Kalitta. “This team rallied and was the one to beat throughout the Countdown. I could not be more proud to be the driver of this Mac Tools ride and I look forward to 2016.”

Kalitta ends the season in fifth in the standings.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, had been solid throughout qualifying the past few races, but struggled at the Auto Club Finals. Her qualifying pass of 3.987 seconds was only under power for 900 feet. However, that pass stuck inside the top half and gave her lane choice over Courtney Force in first round.

In what has become the norm recently, DeJoria turned on a stellar light in the first round giving her the advantage over Force as they left the tree. It was a close race, but DeJoria won to earn her sixth countdown round win, which is a career best. Although she fell in second round, DeJoria was proud of her team’s efforts.

“Well, we did not get wins this season, but with that being said, I am still impressed with my team’s ability to still be in the top ten,” said DeJoria. “We only dropped one spot. We are sitting in eighth. I am proud of the progress that we have made with all the different changes that we have made to the car that changes the way that it drives. It has been a very long test session for me this year, but we went more rounds in the Countdown this year than last year. We have been in the threes a lot this year; we made three-second runs numerous times. That was really exciting for me. I am looking forward to next season. Thank you to all of my sponsors: Patrón, Toyota, Mac Tools, Red Line Oil, Kalitta Motorsports and everyone that supports this team on a day-to-day basis. I love you so much; thank you for everything. I’m so incredibly proud of the DHL team. They’ve worked so hard this year, and they deserve that championship. I am so incredibly proud of them.”

DeJoria finished the season in eighth in the standings.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster, hurt several parts in qualifying but was able to set solid elapsed times each time. Todd and his Optima Batteries team continued to improve with each session finally resetting his own career-best MPH in the final qualifying effort with a 331.61 MPH pass. His elapsed time, a 3.732 second run, placed Todd in the fourth position for the final race day of the year.

Todd’s first round opponent, Troy Buff, was extremely consistent in qualifying setting up an intriguing matchup in round one. Todd was once again stellar on the tree and his 3.778 second run was easily able to get the round win. Although the Optima Batteries team lost another engine in that session, the crew was able to get the machine ready for their second round opponent, Richie Crampton. Todd and team had another solid run, a 3.732, but it was not enough as Crampton was able to just get around him at the top end.

“We had better runs this weekend, but hurt a lot of parts,” said Todd. “We are going to go in the offseason and try to learn a ton and be prepared for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season. I could not be more proud to be a part of this team and cannot wait to celebrate with the DHL boys tonight.”

Todd completes his second season with Kalitta Motorsports in the ninth position in the standings.

After the completion of the 2015 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta is the Funny Car World Champions. Our nitro race cars won eight events, advanced to 14 final rounds and earned four no.1 qualifying positions.

Del Worsham Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 3 Qualifier (3.896 sec., 326.32 mph) ***NEW CAREER BEST ET***

E1: Worsham defeated T. Pedregon - 4.039 sec., 300.93 mph to 4.432 sec., 227.61 mph

E2: Worsham defeated Hight - 3.896 sec., 328.30 mph to 5.255 sec., 150.85 mph

E3: Worsham defeated Beckman - 3.928 sec., 327.35 mph to 4.088 sec., 324.83 mph

Final: Worsham defeated Johnson Jr. - 3.908 sec., 328.14 mph to 4.023 sec., 305.42 mph

Doug Kalitta Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 10 Qualifier (3.771 sec., 319.82 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Schumacher - 3.783 sec., 274.33 mph to 5.732 sec., 118.11 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated B. Torrence - 3.747 sec., 323.66 mph to 7.079 sec., 83.84 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Langdon - 3.774 sec., 322.73 mph to 3.786 sec., 317.94 mph

Alexis DeJoria Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 8 Qualifier (3.987 sec., 318.02 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated C. Force - 3.978 sec., 323.66 mph to 3.986 sec., 325.14 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated by Capps - 3.955 sec., 325.14 mph to 3.885 sec., 326.87 mph

J.R. Todd Driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 4 Qualifier (3.732 sec., 331.61 mph) ***NEW CAREER BEST MPH***

E1: Todd defeated Buff - 3.778 sec., 329.91 mph to 3.845 sec., 311.92 mph

E2: Todd defeated by Crampton - 3.739 sec., 328.22 mph to 3.718 sec., 320.20 mph

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2015) – Kalitta Motorsports, the nitro-fueled, four-car NHRA drag racing team based in Ypsilanti, Mich., has completed qualifying for the Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Results and quotes follow.

Del Worsham Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

Q1: 6.915 sec., 94.20 mph
Q2: 3.974 sec., 324.05 mph
Q3: 3.941 sec., 323.89 mph (Two bonus points for the second best run of the session.)
Q4: 3.896 sec., 326.32 mph (One bonus points for the best run of the session.)

No. 3 Qualifier

Alexis DeJoria Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:

Q1: 5.107 sec., 146.97 mph
Q2: 3.987 sec., 318.02 mph
Q3: 4.391 sec., 200.95 mph
Q4: 7.761 sec., 89.48 mph

No. 8 Qualifier

J.R. Todd Driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster:

Q1: 3.946 sec., 270.43 mph
Q2: 3.846 sec., 273.77 mph
Q3: 3.764 sec., 330.80 mph (Two bonus points for the second best run of the session.)
Q4: 3.732 sec., 331.61 mph (One bonus point for the third best run of the session.)

No. 4 Qualifier

Note: Todds 331.61 MPH in the final qualifying round reset his career best.

Doug Kalitta Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:

Q1: 3.801 sec., 320.20 mph
Q2: 3.771 sec., 319.82 mph
Q3: 3.845 sec., 316.67 mph
Q4: 3.772 sec., 322.34 mph

No. 10 Qualifier

First Round Competition:

3) Del Worsham v. 14) Tony Pedregon

8) Alexis DeJoria v. 9) Courtney Force

4) J.R. Todd v. 13) Troy Buff

10) Doug Kalitta v. 7) Tony Schumacher


Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: Great qualify effort for the DHL Toyota team. We have the Camry running strong and I am proud of our effort. We will go into tomorrow and lay it all out on the line.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car: It has not been the best qualifying session for us, but remarkably, in q2, shutting it off at 900 feet, we still ran a .98, so that puts in the field at the eighth position which is amazing. We are just going to go out there and do our best. It is the last race of the season, we want to win. We definitely would like to go out with a win, but we have to remember to enjoy ourselves as well, because it is a really tough deal out there right now. I wish the best to our teammates tomorrow. We are going to do our best to win the race tomorrow and be a good blocker for Del.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: The Mac Tools ride was definitely consistent this weekend and we improved almost every session. A tough draw in round one, but after the Vegas results we are convinced we have a hot rod that will be one to beat tomorrow.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster: Great qualifying effort for the Optima Batteries team. We hurt some parts, but the car ran really well today with some big MPHs. We are ready for tomorrow and are focused on ending the season strong.

ESPN TV Schedule:

11/15 Qualifications - 2:30 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. EST (ESPN2)

11/15 Qualifications - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST (ESPN2)

11/15 Eliminations - 9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. EST (ESPN2)

Times and dates subject to change.

Event Schedule:

Sundays eliminations begin at 11:00 p.m. PST.

Times and dates subject to change.


POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2015) – The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season comes to a close this weekend as Team Kalitta moves to the Auto Club Finals looking to finish the Countdown strong by continuing the run of success the team has experienced in the last five events.

Through the 18 regular season events, Kalitta Motorsports tallied three victories, but proved to be more than ready for the Countdown for the Championship once it began. Team Kalitta is tied for best among all NHRA nitro teams with four total victories in the five countdown events and is on pace for the best Countdown run of the team’s history.

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and current Funny Car points leader, plans on making the 2015 season even more memorable for the Kalitta Motorsports team.

He has already clinched the best points finish ever for a Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car team, but is looking to achieve even more. Worsham, who lives less than an hour from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, has led the championship points after every Countdown event. The DHL team comes into the weekend 38 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Jack Beckman, for the Funny Car championship. Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps are also still mathematically alive for the title.

With two pro titles already clinched, Worsham knows many eyes will be on him and his DHL team as they try to clinch Kalitta Motorsports’ first title since the late Scott Kalitta’s back-to-back Top Fuel championships in the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

“Obviously it is a big weekend,” said Worsham. “I am so proud of my DHL guys; they have stayed focused and consistent throughout the entire countdown run. The finals are here and we plan on doing everything we can to achieve this title for the entire Kalitta Motorsports family.”

Worsham was in a very similar situation during his 2011 Top Fuel Championship. Worsham came into the weekend trailing Spencer Massey by two points, and drove a clutch race defeating Massey in a winner-take-all round that gave Worsham the Auto Club Finals Wally and the Championship trophy.

That win is one of three race wins for Worsham at Pomona. He also has earned Funny Car victories in 2001 and 2003 and is one of four drivers to own Top Fuel and Funny Car Wallys. Earlier this season, Worsham qualified among the top half of the Funny Car field and earned round wins over Chad Head and Courtney Force to earn a semi-final finish.

Fans can spend time with Worsham in many different unique opportunities this weekend. The inaugural Kalitta Softball Classic takes place this weekend at Big League Dreams in Chino Hills on Thursday at 5pm. Worsham will play on the Funny Car team which will be led by captain, Tommy DeLago. Alexis DeJoria and the DHL and Patrón crews will complete the roster. They will face Top Fuel captain Jim Oberhofer, Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd and the Mac Tools and Optima Batteries groups in the inter-team battle of Top Fuel versus Funny Car.

Once the Auto Club Finals weekend begins, fans can meet Worsham at the Mello Yello Powerhouse and Toyota Pit Pass displays.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, rebounded in a big way at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas.

Coming into the race weekend in the tenth position in the point standings, Kalitta earned his third victory of the season by defeating a tire smoking Larry Dixon in the final round. Kalitta’s three victories are the most he has recorded in one season since he earned five in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006.

However, this win did not come easily. After struggling on the first day of qualifying, Kalitta’s crew chief, Jim Oberhofer, made a tough decision to switch chassis. The Mac Tools crew worked tirelessly to switch out all the components to the new chassis, which had not seen the track since Pomona earlier this season. Saturday saw the new machine make two consistent runs, but Kalitta was only able to earn the 13th starting position.

The 13th position proved lucky for Kalitta as the new pipe got better with each run. Kalitta defeated four Countdown drivers on the day: Steve Torrence, Richie Crampton, Antron Brown and Dixon. His run versus Brown proved to be the closest finish of the season for the Top Fuel ranks as Kalitta defeated the newly crowned champion by less than three inches.

The win moved Kalitta from tenth to sixth in the standings, less than one round from a return to the top five. He won at Pomona in 2009 and has advanced to the finals at the track four times since 2010.

“It was great to get a win for Mac Tools and all the distributors in Las Vegas,” said Kalitta. “We want to continue to work on this new chassis and learn so we can be prepared for the 2016 season.”

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, is on track for her career-best Countdown effort. DeJoria earned her fifth Countdown round win by defeating NHRA legend John Force in the first round of the Toyota Nationals, matching DeJoria’s total from last season.

DeJoria ended with a strong effort at last year’s Auto Club Finals. She earned her third career no.1 qualifier and defeated Gary Densham and Robert Hight to earn a semi-final finish. Pomona is a special place for DeJoria as she became the first female in NHRA history to run a sub-four second pass during the spring event in 2014.

She also has the potential to achieve a new career high in the point standings. She sits just two rounds behind Force for seventh and three rounds back from Hight for sixth.

“It’s been a turbulent season up to this point,” said DeJoria. “We have had some very great runs and round wins, plus we are in the top ten no matter what. This weekend will be about finishing well and hopefully going up in points. And I’ll do my best to not only win but be one hell of a blocker for Del!”

DeJoria will be signing autographs at the Toyota Pit Pass display and Patrón merchandise hauler.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster, finishes his first complete season for Kalitta Motorsports this weekend.

One of his eight career victories came at Pomona when he claimed his fourth career win at the Winternationals in 2007. He defeated future teammate Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinals, before talking down friend Brandon Bernstein in the final round.

Todd, who will finish among the top ten drivers for the second consecutive year and fourth year overall, has struggled in recent weeks, but is feeling optimistic going into the weekend.

“It has been a tough couple races for the Optima Batteries guys,” said Todd. “We want to end the season on a high note and then begin work on how we can get better for next season.”

Last season, Todd finished the season strong with a top five qualifying effort and a semi-final finish after defeating Bob Vandergriff and Steve Torrence in the first two rounds.

Two more round wins in this year’s edition of the Auto Club Finals could be big for Todd as he sits just 40 points from seventh in the standings.

Todd will meet fans at various stops this weekend including sessions at the Top Eliminator Club. He will also join his teammate, Doug Kalitta, at the SealMaster display on Saturday.

Tommy DeLago and Jim Oberhofer

YPSILANTI, Mich. (November 4, 2015) - For years, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series drivers, crew members and fans have argued over what is the best nitro class: Top Fuel or Funny Car. Team Kalitta looks to settle the long-running argument through the first annual Kalitta Softball Classic on Thursday, November 12 at Big League Dreams in Chino Hills, Calif.

Fans are encouraged to come and pack the stands. Playing to our own heritage, Team Kalitta will play on the replica Detroit Tigers field with the game running from 5-7pm. There is a three dollar charge to enter the facility.

Leading the charge are two well-respected men each representing their own class.

Jim Oberhofer, a 30-year veteran of Kalitta Motorsports, has risen from crew member to the Vice President of Operations role. His passion continues to lie with Top Fuel racing as he has led Doug Kalitta to five victories and 13 final round appearances in the last two seasons. The crew chief on the Mac Tools dragster will be the captain of the Top Fuel team which will include J.R. Todd and members of the Mac Tools crew and Todds team, which has been sponsored this season by Optima Batteries, Red Line Oil and SealMaster.

Tommy DeLago will be his fiercest rival as the leader of the Funny Car charge. DeLago, the 2011 Funny Car Champion crew chief, was the first person to tune a driver to a sub 4.0 second run. His team will consist of the current Funny Car points leader, Del Worsham, and DeLagos driver, Alexis DeJoria, and members of the DHL and Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio crews.

Team Kalitta has had a record-breaking season, and I could not think of a better way to end this effort then letting our outstanding employees have a great time playing Americas favorite pastime. It is going to be a great way to end this outstanding year, said Oberhofer.

Fans and family that cannot attend can follow along on Team Kalittas Instagram, Periscope and Twitter social media channels and show their support of either team by using the hashtags: #KalittaSoftballTF or #KalittaSoftballFC. Followers will be able to vote on polls, cheer on the teams and see live action.

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NHRA Next Event Pomona 2016

Feb. 11-14  
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona • Pomona, CA

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