Kalitta Motorsports News
SONOMA, Calif. (August 2, 2015) – J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster, advanced to his third semi-final finish of the season today at the Sonoma Nationals.
Todd proved he was a contender in qualifying. He earned bonus points in three of the four sessions in a variety of conditions. His best run on Friday evening, a 3.724, earned him the third starting position. His speed, 328.30 mph, reset his career-best mark.
The first opponent for Todd was rookie Jenna Haddock. Haddock got down the track in the conditions similar to what they were racing in, so the Red Line Oil team was not taking her lightly. Both teams saw their tires smoke and Haddock was able to grab the lead just prior to her car going silent allowing Todd to move on to round two.
Clay Millican would be the next foe in a critical match-up. Millican came into the weekend in 11th in the point standings, chasing Todd for a Countdown spot. However, the pressure did not phase Todd or the Red Line Oil team. Todd laid down the second-best reaction time in the session, while the team gave him the best run to allow him to move past Millican.
Todd would have lane choice over Dave Connolly in the semi-finals. For the third consecutive run, Todd beat his opponent off of the starting line, but a dropped cylinder at the 1.5 second mark meant the end for Todd’s day.
“It would have nice to win the race. We could have made a big move in points,” said Todd. “But a solid day; glad we could do well in Red Line Oil’s backyard in our first race back with them in a long time. The car seems like it turned the corner this weekend and I’m looking forward to making it to Seattle and hitting the gas again.”
The semi-final finish allowed Todd to move to ninth in the standings, less than one round out of seventh.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, had a great Friday and Saturday. Tommy DeLago’s tune-up decisions were on-point, especially in their Friday evening effort. The 3.974 second run at 320.13 mph gave DeJoria new career-best numbers. While that was her best pass, DeJoria’s Toyota Camry went down the track in all four sessions to really give the team some great data heading into Sunday’s Sonoma Nationals.
Fellow Toyota Racing driver Cruz Pedregon would be first up. DeJoria watched as several pairs in front of her struggled to make it down Sonoma’s tricky conditions. However, DeJoria was prepared. She stepped to the line and delivered a .048 reaction time, which was by far the best in the nitro classes in the first session. The next closest was three hundredths behind. However, despite DeJoria’s efforts; it was not meant to be. Her Toyota Camry rattled the tires and one parachute deployed allowing Pedregon to sneak by.
“I know the entire team is pretty bummed right now,” said DeJoria. “We did really well in qualifying, but today featured tricky conditions. I was really stoked about my light. I was ready for that round, but we will move to the next race, do our best and see what happens.”
DeJoria retained her top ten points position. She holds over 50 points over the 11th position in the standings.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, ran into troubles in the first day of qualifying. A dropped cylinder in the first run led to a slower than normal elapsed time, while Mac Tools team fell to tire smoke in the lone Sonoma evening session. However, they bounced back in a big way on Saturday running two great passes to solidify the set-up for Sunday’s conditions. Sunday’s weather forecast looked similar to what Saturday offered, so the Mac Tools team felt confident heading into raceday.
The first round draw for Kalitta was Clay Millican, who is fighting for a spot in the countdown. Millican, who ran his career-best in qualifying, started sixth. Kalitta laid down a solid 3.782 pass, but Millican laid down another career best number to get around Kalitta at the top end.
“We had another good pass in the first session, but unfortunately it was not enough,” said Kalitta. “It never feels good to go out in the first round in back-to-back races, but the Mac Tools guys will rebound and move past this and head to Seattle, where we look forward to attempting to defend our title from last season.”
Despite the first round loss, Kalitta retains the fourth position in the point standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, ran solidly throughout qualifying. Although they did not make it down to a three-second pass, Worsham’s Camry was consistent running four passes all between 4.00 seconds and 4.11 seconds. Those marks gave him a top ten starting position, as he slotted in ninth and drew friend Chad Head in round one.
Head, one of Worsham’s most frequent competitors this season, was the eighth qualifier and their match-up was the last one down the track in nitro qualifying. They both drove to one of the best side-by-side runs of the session, but Worsham reached the finish line in second. His 4.065 second run would have gave him the round win in five of the seven other pairings, but today proved not to be his day.
“Another great run that was just not good enough,” said Worsham. “I hate it for these DHL Toyota guys; they are working hard. We are going to finish off this swing and hope that we can finally get some round wins in Seattle.”
Worsham departs Sonoma Valley solidly inside the top ten of the point standings in sixth.
After 15 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won two events, advanced to six final rounds and earned three no.1 qualifying positions. Tomorrow, Team Kalitta begins their trek to the final stop of the Western Swing, Seattle, for the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
SONOMA, Calif. (August 1, 2015) – Kalitta Motorsports, the nitro-fueled, four-car NHRA drag racing team based in Ypsilanti, Mich., has completed qualifying for the Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Results and quotes follow.
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster:
Q1: 3.766 sec., 326.16 mph (One bonus point for the third best run of the session.)
Q2: 3.724 sec., 328.30 mph (One bonus point for the third best run of the session.)
328.30 mph is J.R. Todd’s career best speed
Q3: 5.102 sec., 140.81 mph
Q4: 3.791 sec., 323.04 mph (One bonus point for the third best run of the session.)
No. 3 Qualifier
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
Q1: 3.913 sec., 269.19 mph
Q2: 7.548 sec., 87.22 mph
Q3: 3.825 sec., 323.12 mph
Q4: 3.812 sec., 315.12 mph
No. 11 Qualifier
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
Q1: 4.036 sec., 310.91 mph
Q2: 3.974 sec., 320.13 mph
3.974 seconds and 320.13 mph are career-best numbers for Alexis DeJoria.
Q2: 4.123 sec., 307.09 mph
Q4: 4.093 sec., 307.93 mph
No. 6 Qualifier
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
Q1: 4.071 sec., 314.24 mph
Q2: 4.027 sec., 320.43 mph
Q3: 4.086 sec., 310.27 mph (Two bonus points for the second best run of the session.)
Q4: 4.104 sec., 307.86 mph
No. 8 Qualifier
First Round Competition:
3) J.R. Todd v. 14) Jenna Haddock
11) Doug Kalitta v. 6) Clay Millican
6) Alexis DeJoria v. 11) Cruz Pedregon
8) Del Worsham v. 9) Chad Head
J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster: “Basically our season started this weekend. We have put the past behind us. The Red Line Oil car is running really well this weekend and hopefully the run we made in Q4 will get us set-up well for tomorrow.”
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: “It was great to get some consistency back in the Mac Tools dragster today. Tough first round match-up with Clay in the morning, but we will approach it with what we learned today and hopefully are able to get around him.”
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car: “We just ran four solid runs this weekend. We have the consistency and also ran our best elapsed time and speed to date. This weekend has really started off amazing and I am excited to go into raceday tomorrow and see what happens.”
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: “It was great to have our friend, Frank Bradley out this weekend with his wife. Our DHL Toyota Camry has ran well. Not excited to have to race Chad in the morning, but that is how this works and we will do our best to be prepared.”
SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2015) – Doug Kalitta, driver of Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, has established a track record at the picturesque Sonoma Raceway that is unchallenged in the competitive NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel class.
The 2008 inductee of the Sonoma Raceway Hall of Fame, Kalitta earned his first career No.1 qualifier and took that all the way to victory in his rookie season of 1998, which led to his selection as the AAA Road to the Future winner. However, that is only the beginning of Kalitta’s Sonoma success. He would start his career 3-for-3 in wine country earning wins in 1999 and 2000, and would follow that with two more victories in back-to-back fashion in 2004 and 2005. Combine that with an additional Top Fuel final round appearance and three more no.1 qualifiers, Kalitta is near the top of everyone’s list of a team to watch in Sonoma.
“It is always incredible to go back to a track with so much great history for me and the team,” said Kalitta. “However, it has been a while since I have won at this great facility, and I would like nothing better than to earn another Wally for Mac Tools and all of our great partners.”
Kalitta turns to the second stop at the Western Swing coming off a rare first round loss in Denver, however, the Mac Tools team continued to hold a top five points position for the third consecutive event.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, has her own run of success at Sonoma Raceway.
In just three starts, DeJoria has earned five round wins and has advanced out of the first round in every season. Guided by now teammate, Del Worsham, she earned her first round win in California by defeating John Force Racing’s Mike Neff in 2012. Tommy DeLago took over the tuning duties in 2013 and guided her to back-to-back semi-final finishes defeating former champions Matt Hagan, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon in the process.
DeJoria is coming off of her best career start to the Western Swing. Last weekend in Denver, she advanced to her fourth semi-final finish of the season defeating fellow top ten contenders Courtney Force and Tim Wilkerson in the first two rounds. Those round wins moved her up one spot in points to ninth, and helped her grow her advantage over 11th to nearly three rounds.
“Coming off a great race weekend with another semi-final finish, I am excited to go back to a track where I have such a great history,” said DeJoria. “Hopefully, we can take the next step and move into the finals and pick up the win.”
J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster, has fond memories of his first Western Swing. 2006’s Road to the Future winner, Todd picked up two wins in just three events including the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. On that day, he qualified in the sixth position and defeated Tony Schumacher in the final round to earn his second career victory.
This season will be his fifth career start in the valley, and he has had a run of success. Three of his first four starts saw him advance out of the first round and a 2008 start saw Todd also start from the first spot.
His 2006 victory was special for Todd, as he shared the winner’s circle with his friend, the late Eric Medlen. Todd will continue to honor his legacy this weekend as a featured driver at the Eric Medlen Nitro Night on Thursday which raises money for charity in his honor.
“Sonoma is one of my favorite races on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season,” said Todd. “I was able to share a win there with Eric and now it is nice that we are able to go back and celebrate his life.”
Todd returns to the Red Line Oil colors this weekend. This is the seventh time this season that Todd has paraded the red, white and blue scheme. The Red Line Oil scheme is scheduled to run three more times this season, including next weekend in Seattle.
Last weekend, Todd earned his tenth round win on the season and the first for primary sponsor, SealMaster, as he defeated former champion Antron Brown in the first round. It was his first career round win over Brown, and allowed him to gain a couple points over Clay Millican, who runs 11th in the standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, is looking for a rebound race as he suffered his first round one loss in six events in Denver. Last season the Western Swing was not kind to the DHL team, and Worsham is looking to put a stop to that run this weekend.
Although the recent races have not been kind, Worsham has done well at this event. 2001 saw Worsham celebrating the win, and he got close again in 2007 as he returned to the final round. His lone Top Fuel start at Sonoma Raceway in 2011 saw him advance to the semi-finals and he was able to guide teammate Alexis DeJoria to her first round win in Sonoma in 2012.
Even with the round one loss, Worsham is still one of just three drivers to maintain a position among the top five throughout the season and the only driver has done that without the joy of victory. With just one Traxxas Shootout position available, Worsham plans on ending that run and finishing where he knows this team belongs: the Winner’s Circle.
“The DHL team has been great in the heat this season,” said Worsham. “It looks like it will be a great weather weekend, and with those temperatures promising to reach the nineties, I am confident that our tune-up will be solid and we can get the first win checked off.”
Sonoma is big weekend for Worsham’s manufacturer, Toyota. The California-based company will have their Toyota PitPass display at the track throughout the weekend. Fans can meet Worsham, DeJoria and the rest of the Toyota drivers on both Friday and Saturday.
MORRISON, Colo. (July 26, 2015) – Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, advanced to her fourth semi-final or better on the season today at Bandimere Speedway for the Mile High Nationals.
DeJoria’s Camry was a top half car throughout qualifying running two solid passes on Friday to secure her position. Her best was a 4.077 second run in the second attempt at the track which would end up placing her in the seventh position on the run order.
In what was labeled as the ESPN Marquee Matchup in the first round, DeJoria took on Courtney Force. Coming into this weekend, DeJoria and Force found themselves locked in a tight battle for the 10th position in the point standings. The ladies watched many cars struggle with the track temperatures and altitude before stepping to the line. However, the race was over before it even began. Force turned on the red-light and DeJoria advanced to the second round where Tommy DeLago tuned her Camry up and DeJoria earned her first round victory over the no. 2 qualified Tim Wilkerson. DeJoria was a little early on the tree in the semi-final against the car that ran the best in the previous session, Jack Beckman, to end her day.
DeJoria gained one spot in the point standings to rank ninth overall.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, struggled early in qualifying, but finally had all the pieces come together in the final opportunity. Sitting on the bump spot, Todd drove his way to a 3.884 second pass that nearly placed him among the top half of the field. His reward for the improvement? Antron Brown as a first opponent.
Brown waited as the SealMaster team had a little difficulty getting the machine started, but that was the only moment they were behind. Todd beat Brown off the line and to the finish line. A 3.968 elapsed time gave him lane choice over Larry Dixon in the second round.
Again, Todd had a consistent light and continued to lead Dixon through the 330-foot line, however, the SealMaster machine began losing power and Dixon was able to drive around to move to the semi-finals.
“The unique Denver conditions really made it difficult to start the car this weekend,” said Todd. “Wish we could have done better for SealMaster, but we will get the car put back together and move to Sonoma and plan for more success there.”
Todd slipped to the tenth in the standings, but slightly extended his advantage over 11th position.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, started the Mile High Nationals weekend very strong. Jim Oberhofer had a handle on the tune-up from the moment the Mac Tools dragster hit the high altitude of Bandimere Speedway. In the first qualifying session, Kalitta’s 3.828 second run was second best and earned him two more bonus points. From there, the Mac Tools continued their consistency by laying down four sub four second runs in the tricky conditions. He would earn the fifth starting position and draw Richie Crampton in the first session.
The match-up of two top five drivers in the point standings was highly anticipated matchup in the first round. Conditions proved very tough as several drivers experienced tire smoke and Kalitta and Crampton suffered the same fate. Their tires lit up at about the same time and Crampton’s car maintained just a little more momentum to be able to sneak past the Mac Tools team.
“You never like to go out in the first round,” said Kalitta. “We are hopefully getting that all out of our system prior to the Countdown. I look forward heading to Sonoma with the Mac Tools team and hopefully pick-up on some of our prior success.”
Kalitta departs the mountain in the fourth position in the point standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, has had a solid car throughout the season’s first 13 events. However, the unique conditions of this event are like nothing that the team has experienced in the first half of the season or will experience going forward.
The team had rough start in the first round of qualifying before picking it up in the second opportunity. A 4.143 second run solidified Worsham’s qualifying spot, and then the DHL Toyota Racing team picked up another qualifying bonus point in the third session but was unable to move into the top half of the field seeding himself in 11th.
Another marquee pairing in the first round featured Worsham and the points leader, Matt Hagan, and in a tight race Hagan defeated Worsham by mere inches.
“Another close race that just did not end up the way the DHL Toyota Camry team wanted,” said Worsham. “We are looking forward to going to Sonoma and hopefully pick up where we left off in the normal conditions.”
Worsham retained his top five points placement heading into Sonoma Valley.
After 14 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won two events, advanced to six final rounds and earned three no.1 qualifying positions. Team Kalitta will spend Monday servicing the cars before making their way to the second stop on the annual Western Swing, the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 7 Qualifier (4.077 sec., 306.26 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated C. Force - 4.330 sec., 271.52 mph to foul
E2: DeJoria defeated Wilkerson - 4.248 sec., 292.84 mph to 4.427 sec., 254.23 mph
E3: DeJoria defeated by Beckman - Foul to 4.184 sec., 295.40 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 9 Qualifier (3.884 sec., 312.28 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Brown - 3.968 sec., 305.56 mph to 3.991 sec., 302.89 mph
E2: Todd defeated by Dixon - 4.080 sec., 259.26 mph to 3.974 sec., 300.86 mph
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 5 Qualifier (3.828 sec., 317.34 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Crampton - 4.242 sec., 256.70 mph to 4.193 sec., 254.90 mph;
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 11 Qualifier (4.143 sec., 295.53 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated by Hagan - 4.221 sec., 292.39 mph to 4.235 sec., 303.71 mph