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Kalitta Motorsports News

Sealmaster TF Dragster

POMONA, Calif. (February 14, 2016) - Team Kalitta had an incredible start to the new 2016 NHRA Mello Yello season as they advanced Del Worsham and Doug Kalitta to the final round and moved all four drivers out of the first round of the Circle K Winternationals earlier today.

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, came off a championship effort last season, and knew every other team would be after him to start the season. Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante worked tirelessly in the offseason to prepare. It showed. Worsham was one of two machines to earn bonus points in both of the first two qualifying sessions setting up the DHL team to prepare for race conditions on Saturday.

With an unexpected late session, Worsham’s DHL Toyota Camry was able to improve and run their best in the last effort. Their 3.943 second run was good enough for the fifth starting position and a first round date with Cruz Pedregon.

The first round pairing was unexpectedly difficult. Pedregon smoked the tires early, but Worsham also was forced to lift down track leading to a 4.391 second pass. That would give up lane choice to his teammate Alexis DeJoria in the round of eight. However, Worsham and the DHL ‘Yella Fellas’ were back to their traditional passes in round two. Running a 3.981 seconds, Worsham was able to defeat the tire smoking DeJoria, with a class-best reaction time.

That lap gave Worsham lane choice over John Force in the semi-final round. Force had a slight starting line advantage, but Worsham’s DHL Toyota Camry had the finish line advantage. His 3.978 second pass earned him the round win over Force’s 4.033 pass.

That moved Worsham moved to his third Winternationals final round against friend Ron Capps. Capps just edged Worsham at the starting line and was able to hold that advantage down the track.

“Frustrating way to end a solid weekend,” said Worsham. “We definitely wanted that win. However, the DHL Toyota Camry team is strong and we are prepared. This is a long season, and we look forward to the next opportunity in Phoenix.

Worsham sits in second in the standings after one event.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, was able to achieve a top 12 starting spot on day one, but Jim Oberhofer was not going to stop there. In the late session, Kalitta ran straight from the 11th spot to the top with 3.713 second run. That run stayed at the top spot until a late hero run by Steve Torrence pushed Kalitta to the second starting position for the first round.

Kalitta’s first pairing would put him against the Steve Palmer, who also participates in boat drag racing, in addition to the NHRA variety. Palmer was no match for Kalitta as he drove the Mac Tools machine to a weekend best 328.22 MPH and a round one win. The second round saw the pairings of the tool cars as Antron Brown set in the other lane. Kalitta was prepared and the Mac Tools machine ran better and defeated the Brown’s championship machine in a nail-biting finish setting up an all Team Kalitta match-up in the semi-finals. Kalitta earned lane choice over his teammate J.R. Todd as the Team Kalitta cars were the first pair ever shown live on the new Fox Sports broadcast.

Kalitta had a stellar light and a stellar pass. His 3.731 second run gave him lane choice over the no.1 qualifier Steve Torrence in the final round.

Kalitta moved to his fifth Winternationals final round, already owning one Wally which he picked up in 2009. Despite having the starting line advantage, the Mac Tools team came up just short at the finish line.

“We brought out a new Mac Tools chassis this weekend and we are pleased with the results,” said Kalitta. “However, when you get that close, you always want to win and we came up short today.”

Kalitta is second in the standings leaving the Winternationals.

J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, learned a lot through testing and came to Pomona confident that the team was going to have a good weekend. Friday was a bit of a struggle, but once Saturday hit the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster team was ready to go. The Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn lead team started Saturday with a clean 3.84 second pass to solidify the team’s spot in the field and then reached the 3.7-second range for the first time in the final qualifying run to move Todd to a near top ten

The first opponent was Brittany Force. Force was stout throughout qualifying and earned lane choice, however, Todd and the entire SealMaster team was unfazed. Although Force was quicker on the track, Todd was several hundredths quicker on the tree earning the first holeshot win of the new NHRA season. His second round opponent was Terry McMillen, who upset Tony Schumacher in the first round. Todd slowly pulled further ahead of McMillen as the drivers moved down the track to move to the final four of Top Fuel for the first time at the Winternationals since his victory in 2007. The semi-finals pairing was an all Team Kalitta pairing as Todd faced his teammate Doug Kalitta. Todd was ready at the tree with a sub .050 light, but tire smoke down track ended the day for the SealMaster team.

“My SealMaster guys worked hard this weekend,” said Todd. “We made large gains and improvements throughout the day and had a successful effort to start the season. The SealMaster Toyota team is pleased but not satisfied and looks forward to our next race in Phoenix.”

Todd leaves Pomona in the fourth position in the standings.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, celebrated to start the weekend as she hit the milestone 100th career event. That celebration carried over to the track as DeJoria’s new look green Camry was solid throughout qualifying. Her best pass in qualifying was the last one, as Tommy DeLago-tuned the Camry up on mean and gave DeJoria a new career-best elapsed time. The 3.942 second pass reset her best from last season in Brainerd, and was the second consecutive Pomona event where she has reset portions of her career-best records. At the World Finals in November, DeJoria reached new highs in speed, reaching over 325 MPH.

DeJoria faced a new opponent in the first round. Seeded fourth, DeJoria faced newcomer Jim Campbell, who was making his first career start. DeJoria beat Campbell off the line and was strong to finish line running a 3.968 second pass to give her lane choice over her teammate Del Worsham in the second round. In the intermural battle, Worsham reached the finish line first, but DeJoria has a strong start to the new season as she leaves race one in the seventh position in the standings.

After one week off, Team Kalitta returns to Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix for the CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals from February 26-28.

Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 5 Qualifier (3.943 sec., 322.27 mph)

E1: Worsham defeated C. Pedregon - 4.391 sec., 213.70 mph to 5.333 sec., 134.97 mph
E2: Worsham defeated DeJoria - 3.981 sec., 322.04 mph to 4.164 sec., 246.93 mph
E3: Worsham defeated J. Force - 3.978 sec., 321.81 mph to 4.033 sec., 315.71 mph
Final: Worsham defeated by Capps - 3.962 sec., 324.36 mph to 3.981 sec., 324.28 mph

Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 2 Qualifier (3.713 sec., 324.51 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Palmer - 3.724 sec., 328.22 mph to 4.205 sec., 248.29 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated Brown - 3.785 sec., 323.97 mph to 3.803 sec., 317.72 mph
E3: Kalitta defeated Todd - 3.731 sec., 318.77 mph to 4.620 sec., 167.74 mph
Final: Kalitta defeated by Torrence - 3.753 sec., 324.36 mph to 3.735 sec., 326.48 mph

J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 11 Qualifier (3.792 sec., 320.28 mph)

E1: Todd defeated B.Force - 3.766 sec., 325.45 mph to 3.756 sec., 320.05 mph (Holeshot win - Todd .063 light, Force .092 light)
E2: Todd defeated McMillen - 3.797 sec., 323.89 mph to 4.007 sec., 291.13 mph
E3: Todd defeated by Kalitta - 4.620 sec., 167.74 mph to 3.731 sec., 318.77 mph

Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 4 Qualifier (3.942 sec., 324.59 mph) **NEW CAREER BEST ET**

E1: DeJoria defeated Campbell - 3.968 sec., 323.04 mph to 4.048 sec., 307.09 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated by Worsham - 4.164 sec., 246.93 mph to 3.981 sec., 322.04 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:

Alexis DeJoria

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports, the nitro-fueled, four-car NHRA drag racing team based in Ypsilanti, Mich., has completed qualifying for the Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Results and quotes follow.

Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:

Q1: 6.463 sec., 116.71 mph
Q2: 3.817 sec., 321.27 mph
Q3: 3.843 sec., 292.83 mph
Q4: 3.713 sec., 324.51 mph (Two bonus points for the second quickest run of the session.)
No. 2 Qualifier

J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:

Q1: 4.655 sec., 163.29 mph
Q2: 3.846 sec., 273.77 mph
Q3: 3.864 sec., 319.14 mph
Q4: 3.792 sec., 320.28 mph
No. 11 Qualifier

Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car:

Q1: 4.029 sec., 316.97 mph
Q2: 4.043 sec., 316.60 mph
Q3: 4.161 sec., 246.82 mph
Q4: 3.942 sec., 324.59 mph
(The 3.942 second run was DeJoria’s career quickest pass.)
No. 4 Qualifier

Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

Q1: 3.973 sec., 321.12 mph (One bonus point for the third quickest run of the session.)
Q2: 3.950 sec., 323.04 mph (Two bonus points for the second quickest run of the session.)
Q3: 5.158 sec., 144.74 mph
Q4: 3.943 sec., 322.27 mph
No. 5 Qualifier

First Round Competition:
2) Doug Kalitta v. 15) Scott Palmer
11) J.R. Todd v. 6) Brittany Force
4) Alexis DeJoria v. 13) Jim Campbell
5) Del Worsham v. 12) Cruz Pedregon

Quotables:
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: “A great way to end the day,” said Kalitta. “We are proud to have this in-house Mac Tools machine running sharp and we are looking forward to the first round of eliminations at the Winternationals.”

J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster: “We have been struggling a bit, so to end qualifying strong is great going into raceday,” said Todd. “We had a lot of great people out from SealMaster today, including Duke and Rhonda Thorson. I cannot say how thrilled I am to represent them and SealMaster. We hope to take this very cool looking machine several rounds tomorrow.”

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: “Not what we were looking for late,” said Worsham. “However, the DHL Toyota was consistent all weekend. Jon O, Nicky and the entire DHL team will look over the data tonight and I know we will be ready to go tomorrow.”

FOX Sports TV Schedule:
2/13 Qualifications - 1:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m. EST (FS1)
2/14 Eliminations - 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EST (FS1)

Doug Kalitta

Kalitta Motorsports, the defending 2015 NHRA Funny Car champions, preview the Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. This is the first race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.

Worsham relishes opportunity to defend title

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, returns to Auto Club Raceway for the first time a Funny Car Champion. One of just three drivers to claim a title in both nitro classes, Worsham looks forward to the chance to defend his championship.

His 2015 run to the title was like none other before him. Worsham earned victories in four of the six Countdown for the Championship events, a first for the Funny Car class. In addition, Worsham and his DHL ‘Yella Fellas’ are the only team to run four consecutive three-second passes on raceday. They achieved that distinction in their second of back-to-back wins to start their title surge in St. Louis.

At the last race in Pomona, Worsham ran well throughout qualifying. He once-again reset his career-best elapsed time and MPH in qualifying, running multiple laps below the 3.90 second range. Sunday came and the DHL team defeated their two closest pursuers for the title, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr., in the final two rounds to claim the championship and the event victory.

“It has been an incredible off season and we have enjoyed the chance to celebrate the title,” said Worsham. “However, even in celebration, my DHL Toyota guys were hard at work. I am excited for the opportunity to defend this title and look forward to racing in my backyard to start off the new season.”

His four late season victories moved him to 38 overall which places him into the top 20 of NHRA history, while the 30 wins in the Funny Car class puts him in a tie for seventh with one of Worsham’s childhood heroes, Kenny Bernstein.

While Worsham is a three-time Auto Club World Finals winner (2003, 2011, 2015), he is searching for his first Winternationals trophy at the track that is just 30 minutes from his home base. Twice he has come close: coming up just short in finals against John Force in 1993 and 2002. This race is definitely one that Worsham would like to cross off his list and show his competition that he is hungry to defend his title.

Kalitta ready to hit the career pinnacle

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, continued his career resurgence in 2015 and begins the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello season ready for more.

Kalitta, who is coming off his 18th straight top ten points finish, earned his most victories in one year since the 2006 season. The 2015 wins were special. Kalitta stopped Tony Schumacher in Houston to help NHRA start the Top Fuel season with six different drivers winning in the first six events. Next up, a dominant performance at Kalitta Motorsports’ home track in Norwalk, Ohio. Starting from the no.1 spot, Kalitta’s Mac Tools ride was consistent throughout race day and reached the winner’s circle after having to change the engine three times before the last pass during a quick live TV turn-around schedule. The final win of the season, Las Vegas’s fall event, saw Kalitta take the special Breast Cancer Awareness Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster to the finish line. That race was not without its struggles either as a Saturday morning chassis change yielded a bottom-half qualifying effort. Kalitta dug out of that early hole to become the lowest qualifier to win a Top Fuel race last season.

Often regarded as the best Top Fuel driver without a title on his resume, Kalitta has reeled off his best three-season run since the early 2000s with three straight top five points finishes. However, there is only one goal this season and that involves a speech at the championship banquet at the end of the season.

Kalitta’s team received an in-house chassis in the offseason and worked through the new parts at the inaugural Nitro Spring Training in Phoenix. In addition, the Mac Tools team experiences the addition of manufacturer support for the first time with backing from Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

“I am excited to get this season started,” said Kalitta. “I think the Mac Tools team has everything in place for a great complete season. I am ready to get to Pomona and see what we have.”

Kalitta is the 2009 Circle K Winternationals winner and has earned the no.1 starting spot at this event four times, most recently in 2014.

Todd has fresh outlook for 2016

For J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, it would probably be easier to talk about what did not change versus what did.

Todd has a new co-crew chief in Rob Flynn. Flynn has tuned drivers to victories in four NHRA classes, and comes over from Dote Racing where he led Leah Pritchett to career-best numbers in the 2015 season.

Todd has a new primary sponsor in SealMaster. After running six different schemes in the 2015 season, Todd will have one for 2016 as Kalitta partner SealMaster jumps from two primary events to entire season in 2016.

He also has new manufacturer support with Toyota and several new crew members. However, even with all the changes, Todd is excited to have stability with Kalitta Motorsports. For the first time in his career, he will begin his third season with the same team.

Since joining Kalitta Motorsports in the 2014 season, Todd has achieved an average of a round win per race but with all of the changes and upgrades in the offseason he is looking for more. He is coming off a season where he earned another victory. The Seattle win completed a personal career Western Swing sweep, but the ninth place points finish was disappointing. The new season gives Todd and the SealMaster team a fresh start and they are ready to take advantage.

“Kalitta Motorsports has really put forth a ton of new resources in the off season to really strength my chances at the title, so to say I am thrilled to start the new season would be an understatement,” said Todd. “The new SealMaster machine looks sharp and fast, and with the Toyota and TRD support, I could not be more confident to head into the new season.”

Todd earned his fourth career victory and his first career points lead at this event in 2007. He is competing in his second Circle K Winternationals with Kalitta Motorsports.

DeJoria’s new look leads kicks off historic race

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, starts 2016 with a huge accomplishment.

DeJoria will earn begin her 100th race weekend in Pomona where she officially shows off her new look. Her first 99 starts, all with Kalitta Motorsports, have yielded three wins, including a coveted U.S. Nationals trophy and two consecutive Countdown for the Championship appearances. In 2015, DeJoria began the countdown in the tenth position and made a two spot improvement achieving her career high in Countdown round wins.

The 2014 Auto Club Finals no. 1 qualifier comes into Pomona looking for her first career Winternationals final round appearance. With family and friends making plans to attend this career weekend, this season’s race in Pomona could prove to be very special for DeJoria.

Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports: For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online - Website: www.teamkalitta.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/KalittaMotorsports Twitter: www.twitter.com/TeamKalitta YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/TeamKalitta Instagram: www.instagram.com/TeamKalitta

YPSILANTI, Mich. (February 3, 2016) - Kalitta Motorsports is proud to announce a new partnership with Racing Electronics. Racing Electronics joins Kalitta Motorsports as an associate level partner for all four of Kalitta Motorsports’ championship-caliber NHRA teams.

Racing Electronics will provide two-way radio communication equipment and accessories for the Mac Tools and SealMaster Top Fuel dragsters driven by Doug Kalitta and J.R. Todd, in addition, to the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Del Worsham and the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry entry of Alexis DeJoria.

In 1989, Racing Electronics first established their in-car race communications products at the urging of many teams and have become the premier communications supplier for the NHRA, NASCAR and INDYCAR racing series.

“Being involved with NHRA for many years has allowed us the opportunity to develop and test our equipment in some of the harshest environments known to motorsports,” said Kevin Hughes, Director of Motorsports Communications Services, Racing Electronics. “It is truly an honor to now be associated with the Kalitta organization with regard to their legendary status in the industry. We are looking forward to a long term technical partnership, with many wins and championships to come!”

Kalitta Motorsports plans to utilize this new partnership not only to communicate solid lap times, but also to help lessen oil downs and drastic part failures.

“Communication with our drivers is extremely important, but we can use this new Racing Electronic system with so many other facets of our day,” said Jim Oberhofer, crew chief on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta and Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “We can communicate with our crew that is back in the pit area and with the drivers to let them know if we see problems that could cause oil downs. With the new era of live television on FOX, the less oil downs we can have the better the show is going to be for the fans.”

Kalitta Motorsports will put the Racing Equipment equipment to the test as it starts its chase for a Top Fuel and Funny Car title at the Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., February 12-14.

Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports: For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online - Website: www.teamkalitta.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/KalittaMotorsports Twitter: www.twitter.com/TeamKalitta YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/TeamKalitta Instagram: www.instagram.com/TeamKalitta

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Funny Car Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Funny Car

1 Jack Beckman 220
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 175
3 John Force 173
4 Matt Hagan 129
5 Ron Capps 128
6 Tim Wilkerson 107
7 Robert Hight 100
8 Alexis DeJoria 99
9 Bob Tasca III 87
10 J.R. Todd 65
10 Paul Lee 65

 

Top Fuel Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Top Fuel

1 Doug Kalitta 212
2 Brittany Force 153
3 Leah Pruett 137
4 Austin Prock 131
5 Steve Torrence 121
6 Justin Ashley 108
7 Antron Brown 103
8 Shawn Langdon 91
9 Clay Millican 85
10 Shawn Reed 83

 

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