NORWALK, Ohio (June 24, 2016) - Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, and Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, claimed the preliminary no.1 qualifying spots after the first day of qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk Ohio.
If the times hold till tomorrow, this would be the first all-Team Kalitta pole sweep since 2014 at a place that Kalitta Motorsports calls home.
Doug Kalitta started his mission for a Norwalk repeat very strongly. His 3.777 was the third-best pass of the first session, and his 325 MPH speed was class-best.
That allowed Kalitta to be the last driver to see the quick Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park surface. Jim Oberhofer loaded the Mac Tools machine up on mean, and it delivered a track record 3.719 second run. His 327.51 MPH was also the best of the Top Fuel class.
“The Mac Tools Toyota team is very proud of that run,” said Kalitta. “It left hard. It was just one of those Friday night runs that you dream about having. The Mac Tools dragster was pulling and running strong and it made it to the finish line. Very proud of Jim, Troy and all of the Mac Tools guys. We get a lot of support from our Kalitta family at this track. They are rooting us on. It paid off for us last year, and we definitely are looking for the repeat.”
This would be Kalitta’s 46th career no.1 qualifier. It would be his second straight in Norwalk and his third this season.
Worsham was solid in the first session to give tuners Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante a very solid baseline to go into the evening session. His 3.959 elapsed time slotted him amongst the top five of the round.
However, the DHL team saved the best for last. With two pairs of Funny Cars behind them, the DHL Toyota Camry came to the line and unloaded a beast of a run that would not be touched. Worsham reset his career-best lap with the 3.875 second pass, which also claimed the Norwalk track record. Worsham also reigned in the MPH category, recording a 328.70 MPH run.
“It is the best run DHL Toyota Camry team and I have ever made,” said Worsham. “It is a great, great run. We have been really good in qualifying the past couple years here in Norwalk, but haven't got a win. I would like nothing more than to come out here on Sunday and get our first win of the year. It is awesome that we are so close to Kalitta Motorsports home and to claim the top spot with my teammate, Doug. This place means a lot to the Kalitta family and we love to run well here.”
If the run holds, it will be his 18th career Funny Car no.1 qualifier and second in three seasons at Summit Motorsports Park. The final two qualifying passes take place at 1:15pm and 4:00pm tomorrow.
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NORWALK, Ohio (June 21, 2016) - Kalitta Motorsports’ drivers Doug Kalitta, Del Worsham and J.R. Todd preview the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. This is the 12th race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.
Repeat-minded Kalitta focused on the ultimate prize
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, heads just down the street to Norwalk after earning his class-best eighth semi-final or better in 11 events in Bristol just days ago.
He started among the top two for the seventh time this season and was able to defeat foes Kyle Wurtzel and Pat Dakin to extend his points lead over Antron Brown to nearly three rounds of racing. With a return to the winner’s circle on his mind, Kalitta would like a repeat of the run he had last season at Summit Raceway Park.
Kalitta started his weekend by earning his second Norwalk pole in the last three events. Sunday came and Jim Oberhofer’s tune-up was on point in the first three rounds to defeat Chris Karamesines, Steve Torrence and Clay Millican. The final round did not come easy, as the Mac Tools team was forced to change engines multiple times after finding problems in the pits. They made no excuses, completed each change in time to bring the Mac Tools machine to the line and give Kalitta his first home track win. Kalitta was able to celebrate the victory with his family, including his mom.
“This race is very special to the Kalitta family,” said Kalitta, who also reached the Norwalk final in 2013. “We are based less than two hours down the road, and a lot of our friends and family make it a point to attend this race weekend. Mac Tools is also headquartered not far from the Norwalk, and the Bader family always puts on a first class event. The Mac Tools team is ready to race and our plan is to defend.”
Kalitta’s eighth semi-final or better gives him one more than his entire last season total. His Top Fuel-best 25 round wins are just five behind his complete season effort from one year ago.
In sponsor's backyard, Todd desires his first Norwalk win
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, had another tough early draw in Bristol. Despite earning qualifying bonus points on Saturday, the Friday evening session set the field giving Todd a ninth starting position and a tough first round opponent. Todd did his job at the tree, with a class-best reaction time among full-time drivers, but his SealMaster ride dropped a cylinder early leading to a much-to-soon defeat.
Norwalk marks the halfway mark on the 2016 season, and Todd has shown improvement as he is two spots higher in the standings than he was at this point last season. Now Todd is looking for that breakthrough win, and Norwalk seems like the perfect spot.
Todd’s primary sponsorship deal with SealMaster began in Norwalk one season ago. Todd started the weekend with a early run at the pole and earning qualifying bonus points. SealMaster, based in nearby Sandusky, Ohio, took a two-race trial run with Todd in 2015 and elected to expand the relationship to a full-time one in 2016. Now on his return to Norwalk, Todd knows the pressure is on to perform.
"For our SealMaster team, Norwalk is a big event because it's right in our sponsor's backyard,” Todd said. “It also is pretty much a home event for Kalitta Motorsports, so a lot of the team members’ families come out and support us. As for me, I've been racing at Norwalk since I was a kid (racing) junior dragsters, so I've known the Bader family for a while now. I believe going to the final round in Atlanta was a big step for us and showed that our relatively new team was, and is, plenty capable of winning. The run we made first round in Englishtown showed that we are going in the right direction with the power level and that has me excited.”
Todd looks to make this weekend a bright spot for the SealMaster and ThorWorks employees, who just days ago experienced a massive fire at the ThorSport Racing shop. They vowed to keep racing strong, and Todd brings that same mentality to this weekend’s event.
Worsham is history-minded heading to Norwalk
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, drew another great Camry, driven by his teammate Alexis DeJoria, in the second round of the Thunder Valley Nationals. Although he wasn’t able to come away with the win, he did advance out of the first round for the sixth time straight time and ninth overall, which ranks among the best in the Funny Car class.
Reigning Funny Car World Champion Worsham is a two-time finalist this season, and nearly reached the finals in Norwalk last season. Starting fourth, Worsham defeated Jeff Diehl and DeJoria in the first two rounds and led Courtney Force before losing traction in the semi-finals.
Worsham could also break history in Norwalk. He won this event in Top Fuel in 2011 on his way to the title. With a victory this weekend, Worsham would become the first driver in Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park history with wins in both nitro classes.
“Norwalk is one the best places to race on the circuit,” said Worsham. “The Bader family does such an incredible job. This race means a lot to Kalitta Motorsports as a team and one I would like to win. We were able to get the Top Fuel trophy and to add the Funny Car Norwalk trophy and ice cream scoop to my collection with these DHL guys would be very special.”
Worsham remained in the top five in the standings leaving Bristol, and is within a round of rejoining the top four.
About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta is the home of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car World Champion, Del Worsham. He drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, Rob Flynn on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster and Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Optima Batteries, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.
BRISTOL, Tennessee (June 19, 2016)— Alexis DeJoria raced her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry to a semifinal finish at the 16th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee this weekend.
After qualifying tenth, DeJoria drew fellow Toyota Racing driver Chad Head in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday afternoon. Head was no match for Team Patrón as DeJoria’s quick reaction time coupled with a 4.026-second run ensured Team Patrón’s advance into round two.
The quarterfinals found DeJoria battling it out with her Kalitta Motorsports teammate, Del Worsham. DeJoria had the starting line advantage for the second time in the day and easily defeated a tire-smoking Worsham, ending the reigning Funny Car champion’s day.
After setting off the round two win light, the thrash was on back in the Patrón pits as DeJoria and her team worked to prepare for their semifinal matchup with Tommy Johnson Jr.
“We had a broken strut and some other things that definitely demanded more work out of our team. Luckily we had the DHL team come over and help us,” said DeJoria, who raced to her first Funny Car final at the picturesque Bristol track during her rookie season in 2012.
“We were down two crewmembers so I was pulling four jobs this weekend. Not only driving, packing my parachutes and filling my fresh air bottle like I normally do, but I was also doing Eddie and Jesse’s jobs on the body, checking all of the nuts and bolts and making sure the body stayed together well,” said the four-time Funny Car winner.
Once the Patrón Toyota Camry was re-assembled and race-ready, it was time to race Johnson Jr. for a spot in the final round. Once again, DeJoria was quick off of the starting line, but mechanical malfunctions hindered Team Patrón’s performance, and would allow Johnson Jr. the round win.
“We dropped a cylinder at the hit, which shoved me over a little bit, but I was able to hold onto it and keep it down there until finally the blower belt shredded and flew off of the car. Obviously that was the end of our day,” DeJoria explained.
“Overall we had a good weekend,” she added. “We hadn’t gotten past the first round in a couple of races, so to make it past first round, and past second round and into the semifinals was really great for our team. Our next race is in a couple of days, and I’m pretty excited to get back into my Patrón Toyota Camry.”
Although the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team was unable to move up from tenth in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship standings, they managed to widen the gap between them and the No. 11 ranked driver and close in on the ninth.
Team Patrón leaves Bristol Dragway with 588 points and will compete next at the 10th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio on June 24-26. Prior to the race, DeJoria will join her Kalitta Motorsports teammates at a fan appearance at Cedar Point, June 23. For more information, please visit www.alexisdejoria.com, Follow Us on Twitter, Instagram and Periscope @ADRnhra, or Like Us on Facebook: Alexis DeJoria.
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Points Standing:
588 points, ranked 10th
BRISTOL, Tennessee (June 19, 2016) - Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, returned to the semi-finals in Bristol, his eighth semi-final or better in 11 events this season.
For the first time since Topeka, Kalitta reached the top two in qualifying, earning his seventh such start of the young season. His 3.767 was recorded early in the Bristol evening session and it held on top till the last pair hit the track, when Steve Torrence was able to just sneak by.
Kalitta's second starting postition gave him the 15th qualified Kyle Wurtzel as his first opponent. Kalitta hit the throttle first and was able to guide his Mac Tools machine down the track to an outstanding run. His 3.783 second pass was low of the round, while his 329.34 MPH was a new Bristol Dragway track record.
The pass moved him to round two where he would come up against the upset-minded Pat Dakin. Dakin, who defeated Clay Millican in the first round, lit the tires almost instantly giving the round win to the Mac Tools driver.
Kalitta's eighth semi-final of the season dealt him a foe of Shawn Langdon. The Mac Tools dragster smoked the tires very quickly on the run. Kalitta pedaled, but could not catch back up to Langdon ending his Father's Day early.
"My Mac Tools guys worked very hard this weekend and we nearly came out on top," said Kalitta. "We wanted the win, but we will head to Norwalk and look to defend our title at the Summit Nationals next weekend.
Kalitta retains the top spot in the standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, was the man to beat in qualifying. In the first pass, Worsham was a tearing down the track before becoming a victim of a NHRA timing malfunction. However, Worsham and the DHL team did not get down. They drove down the track with force laying down a new Bristol Dragway MPH record at more than 329 mph. His elapsed time, 3.888, gave him the second starting spot. His combined weekend qualifying efforts yielded five bonus points.
Worsham's first foe was John Hale. Worsham was on it on the starting line and continued to stretch the lead all the way down the track to move out of the first round for the ninth time in 11 events.
Next up, an intramural battle with his teammate Alexis DeJoria. Worsham and DeJoria were close at the tree, but the DHL Toyota was up in smoke almost immediately yielding the round win to his teammate.
"After our Friday and Saturday success, we were looking for more than just a second round defeat," said Worsham. "We have another shot at it next weekend, and the DHL team looks forward to the challenge."
Worsham retains his top five points placement.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, started and closed the qualifying portion of his weekend with good runs. The first pass, a 3.852, ranked among the top five, but the SealMaster crew saved the best for last. The tuning duo of Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn guided Todd to a 3.825 second pass. That gave Todd two bonus points and the ninth starting spot.
Todd and his opponent, Tony Schumacher, were the last to see the tree in Top Fuel, but Todd was prepared. Flynn guided Todd to the line and Todd delivered an .047 light, which ranked first among full-time Top Fuel competitors in round one and easily better than his opponent. However, the SealMaster dragster dropped a cylinder almost immediately which ended his Bristol weekend much too early.
"We have made some serious progress on our hot weather setup," said Todd. "Never like to lose early in the day, but we are excited to be headed to Norwalk, which means a lot to the Kalitta team, and where SealMaster is based."
Todd slips one spot to seventh in the point standings.
Through eleven events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns four wins, nine final round appearances and three no.1 qualifiers. Next weekend, Team Kalitta heads to our home race, the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 2 Qualifier (3.767 sec., 323.97 mph)
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 2 Qualifier (3.888 sec., 329.42 mph) **TRACK RECORD MPH***
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 9 Qualifier (3.825 sec., 319.60 mph)
Alexis DeJoria: Driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car
No. 10 Alexis DeJoria vs. No. 7 Chad Head (LC)
Quotable: Alexis DeJoria, Driver
We struggled here a little bit in qualifying. We didn’t have the runs to make it into the top half of the field. Thankfully in our last qualifying session we managed to get our Patrón Toyota Camry down that troublesome right lane, so we definitely feel better about going into tomorrow. We’ve done well at this track in the past, so hopefully Lady Luck will be on our side tomorrow because we definitely need to go some rounds on race day.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Q1: 4.490 sec. at 176.07 MPH
Q2: 3.767 sec. at 323.97 MPH
Q3: 4.071 sec. at 226.39 MPH
Q4: 3.888 sec. at 320.66 MPH
Bonus Points: 2 pts. (Second best of the second session)
Starting Position: 2nd
First Round Matchup: Kyle Wurtzel
Quotable: "My Mac Tools guys have really been on their game this weekend. We had an issue with our first qualifying pass and they found it quickly, and then went out and almost helped me get my first Bristol pole. We are excited to go racing in Thunder Valley tomorrow and see what we can make happen."
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster
Q1: 3.852 sec. at 315.64 MPH
Q2: 7.238 sec. at 88.49 MPH
Q3: 9.623 sec. at 92.78 MPH
Q4: 3.825 sec. at 319.60 MPH
Bonus Points: 2 pts. (Second best of the final session)
Starting Position: 9th
First Round Matchup: Tony Schumacher
Quotable: "Very nice way to end the qualifying portion of our weekend. Unfortunately, the SealMaster team did not have a good run in the session that ended up setting the field, so we are lower in the order than we would have liked. However, after that pass, I am confident in our chances."
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car
Q1: No Time, Timing Malfunction
Q2: 3.888 sec. at 329.42 MPH
Q3: 3.998 sec. at 314.68 MPH
Q4: 5.976 sec. at 118.27 MPH
Bonus Points: 5 pts. (Second best in the second session, best in the third session)
Starting Position: 2nd
First Round Matchup: John Hale
Quotable: "Great to run those numbers today in the conditions that we are going to see tomorrow. The DHL Toyota is running strong. We have Andy and Shaggy here this weekend from Toyota and they said we could run a 3.98 and it ran pretty darn close. This team is running really well and that gives me a ton of confidence going into raceday."
Notes: Worsham's 329.42 MPH from his second qualifying pass reset the Bristol Dragway Funny Car track record.
#NHRAonFOX Telecast information:
6/19 Race (FS1) - 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm (ET)
All times are EST.
BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 15, 2016) - Kalitta Motorsports drivers' Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd and Del Worsham preview the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee. This is the 11th race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.
Kalitta makes plan for latest Bristol trimuph
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, earned his class-best ninth first round win in the first ten events last weekend in Englishtown, however, after being stopped in the second round, the points leader is ready for a return to Thunder Valley.
Kalitta and his Mac Tools team have been on an incredible streak. Englishtown saw Kalitta score his Top Fuel-leading 23rd round win, something he did not achieve till the Countdown for the Championship last season. However, Kalitta would like nothing more than to begin another winning run at Bristol Dragway.
The current Bristol event debuted in 2001, and Kalitta forever scripted his name in the Thunder Valley Nationals record book as the inaugural Top Fuel winner. He has gone on to add two other wins in 2005 and 2006. Combine that with three other final round appearances, Kalitta has been in the finals six times in the first 15 Thunder Valley events.
“Bristol is a very fun place to race,” said Kalitta. “It was special to win the first race here, and it would be great to add another Thunder Valley trophy to our collection. The Mac Tools team continues to run strong and I know my guys are ready for another long Sunday.”
If Kalitta would claim the pole this weekend, it would be his first at Thunder Valley. Bristol is one of just two tracks that Kalitta has yet to claim a no.1 qualifier (Charlotte).
After stellar first round win, Todd is ready for a run at the trophy
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, had the car to beat in the first round of Englishtown. Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn tuned Todd up to a class-best 3.754 second lap, easily the best run of the round and what ended up being the low pass of the day. However, after joining the majority of the field in tire smoke in round two, Todd is ready for a return to the track.
The driver of the SealMaster entry picked up one spot in the standings to sixth, but for a return to the top five, Todd knows he has to avoid an early exit.
Todd has shown strength since joining Kalitta Motorsports in Thunder Valley. In his 2014 debut, Todd qualified second and last season, he nearly earned his first Bristol final round appearance by defeating Brittany Force and Tony Schumacher in the first two rounds.
“Even though we just departed Englishtown, the SealMaster team and I are ready to be back on track,” said Todd. “We had a strong run in Bristol last season, and I would love to go two rounds further. It is a very cool race because it is run on Father’s Day and to win with my family around would be very neat.”
Worsham wants to turn Thunder Valley qualifying success into a win
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, continued his run of strong runs at the NHRA Summernationals just days ago. With his fourth consecutive semi-final finish or better in Englishtown, Worsham used his strong performance to return to the top five in the point standings.
Worsham has earned first round victories in eight of the first ten events and is on current streak of back-to-back semi-final finishes. However, Worsham is still chasing that first win of the season.
Bristol may be the perfect place to earn that victory. Since joining Kalitta Motorsports, Worsham has an average starting position of second with two poles. Despite that Friday and Saturday success, Worsham is looking for his first Thunder Valley final round since his win in 2009.
With his daughter’s graduating to high school this weekend, the Father’s Day event promises to be a special event for Worsham.
“We are gaining on it,” said Worsham. “The DHL team is focused and the Thunder Valley Nationals would be a perfect place to get our first win of the season. Team Kalitta and I have both had some success here in the Funny Cars and I know we have the car to cross the finish line in first.”
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Doug Kalitta (926)
2. Antron Brown (873)
3. Steve Torrence (846)
4. Brittany Force (754)
5. Tony Schumacher (695)
6. Shawn Langdon (575)
7. J.R. Todd (562)
8. Clay Millican (540)
9. Richie Crampton (535)
10. Leah Pritchett (412)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (841)
2. Jack Beckman (786)
3. Courtney Force (741)
4. Matt Hagan (730)
5. Del Worsham (701)
6. Tim Wilkerson (691)
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (655)
8. Robert Hight (643)
9. John Force (615)
10. Alexis DeJoria (588)