Kalitta Motorsports News

Grant Enfinger (left), driver of the No. 98 RideTV Toyota Tundra and Ben Rhodes (right), driver of the No. 27 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing.

CHARLOTTE, NC. (April 13, 2017) – Kalitta Motorsports and Troy Coughlin Jr., driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, are pleased to welcome NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and ThorSport Racing drivers Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes to the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals. The drivers will join Coughlin Jr. in participating in the SealMaster Track Walk prior to the beginning of the NHRA race action. 

SealMaster, the most trusted name in pavement maintenance for more than 40 years, is a sister company with ThorSport Racing. SealMaster has been a valued partner with Kalitta Motorsports for many seasons and has served as a full-season primary sponsor for the past two years. This year, they support Auto Club Road to the Future contender Coughlin Jr. in his rookie nitro season.

“It is awesome to see great drivers from other forms of motorsports come and check out drag racing,” said Coughlin Jr., who is currently eighth in the point standings. “SealMaster is such an important part of my team, and the sport as a whole with their backing of the Track Walk. It is means a lot that these guys take out time in their schedule to come to zMax!” 

ThorSport Racing is the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team with over 900 starts. Rhodes is a former K&N Pro Series East Champion and Rookie of the Year, who is in his second full-time Truck Series-season with ThorSport Racing. The Louisville, KY native is currently sixth in the point standings after three starts this season. 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Grant Enfinger, is already a winner at the Truck Series level. The Alabama native won his first Truck Series race at Talladega (Ala.)Superspeedway in 2016 running a limited schedule. Enfinger is currently eighth in the series standings following the first three events of the season.

“It’s become a special tradition to get ThorSport Racing’s NASCAR Truck Series drivers and fans together with Kalitta Motorsports’ and NHRA fans at the 4-Wides for the SealMaster Track Walk and finals,” said SealMaster Franchise Director Rick Simon. “It’s always a great time when ThorSport Racing and Kalitta Motorsports host one another.”

Track Walk
SealMaster driver Troy Coughlin Jr. participating in the Gainesville Track Walk with his sister Paige Coughlin, father Troy Coughlin Sr. and niece Carly Coughlin. 

  Team Kalitta announces immediate expansion with Global Electronic Technology-sponsored dragster for former Champion Langdon

YPSILANTI, Mich. (April 6, 2017) - Kalitta is pleased to announce an expansion to a third full-time Top Fuel dragster team beginning with the NHRA Mello Yello Series’ next event in Houston. The machine will be backed by Global Electronic Technology with 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon as the driver. 

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to drive the Global Electronic Technology dragster,” said the 34-year-old Langdon. “It is awesome to see new companies like Global Electronic Technology come in to drag racing and I am excited to be a part of it.” 

“It’s been a tough year so far with me sitting on the sidelines. It has been the first time since my rookie year in 2009 that I haven’t been able to attend the NHRA races,” Langdon continued. “I cannot thank Connie and Jim O enough for the opportunity. Kalitta has top quality cars that contend for wins and championships, so I feel that this partnership will work well. I also want to thank Don (Schumacher) and everybody at Don Schumacher Racing for bringing me in when I didn’t have a ride and making me feel like part of the family. We did everything we could to find adequate funding, and I want to thank Don for keeping me on the payroll throughout the process of trying to find sponsorship.”

“My focus is to contend for a championship. We are seven rounds out of the top ten and we have 14 races to catch up and I am confident in my chances with the group that Kalitta is putting behind me.”

Langdon is renowned for his excellent driving capabilities and his successes in many forms of drag racing. Like new teammate J.R. Todd, Langdon began his career in the Junior Drag Racing program capturing a national title in 1997 and a division title in 1999. Before beginning his nitro career, he continued his career with championship wins in the Super Comp division in back-to-back seasons in 2007 and 2008. Since joining the Top Fuel ranks in 2009, Langdon has captured the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship to go along with 14 race wins in 25 final round appearances. The Mira Loma, Calif. native has eight consecutive Countdown to the Championship finishes and claimed the Traxxas Shootout $100,000 bonus in 2013.

The addition of Langdon is made possible due to an agreement with Global Electronic Technology, the fastest name in credit card processing. Global Electronic Technology is scheduled to be the primary sponsor on Langdon’s machine for 19 of the remaining 20 events this season. 

“Samantha and I are honored to join one of the top teams in NHRA racing,” said Steve Bryson, Global Electronic Technology Founder and CEO.  “We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to  Connie Kalitta, Jim Oberhofer, Rob Flynn and Shawn Langdon for helping make this come true.  We are very excited to join a family like Kalitta and start at the top!  See you in Baytown, Texas for the debut of the Kalitta/Global dragster.”

Based in Torrance, CA, Global Electronic Technology has over a quarter century of expertise in the payment processing industry. The Global Electronic Technology team is committed to setting the standard by delivering the most advanced technological packages in the payment processing industry, which makes our team one of the most knowledgeable in the world. Global Electronic Technology first joined Kalitta Motorsports in the offseason as a major associate partner on the Mac Tools’ Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta. 

“All of Kalitta Motorsports is excited to represent Global Electronic Technology in this capacity,” said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations for Kalitta Motorsports. “Steve and Samantha Bryson have been truly unbelievable to work with and their excitement for the sport of drag racing is infectious. I am also thrilled to be able to welcome Shawn Langdon to the Kalitta Motorsports team. Drivers with his record do not become available often, and we are excited to be able to have him join our organization.”

With the addition of Langdon’s team, the Team Kalitta crew chiefs will make a few changes. All three Top Fuel teams will continue to share information and data with the focus on winning races and championships. Jim Oberhofer will now be the lead tuner on both the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster with driver Doug Kalitta and the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster with Troy Coughlin Jr. He will continue to team with Troy Fasching on the Mac Tools ride and will work with Glen Huszar and Nick Casertano on the SealMaster team. The Global Electronic Technology team will be led by NHRA’s only Lifetime Achievement honoree Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn. 

The new look five-team effort with Top Fuel drivers Coughlin Jr., Kalitta and Langdon and Funny Car drivers Alexis DeJoria and J.R. Todd will make its official debut in qualifying for the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston April 21-23. 

INDIANAPOLIS (April 4, 2017) –  Just days after Global Rallycross driver Alex Keyes experienced nitro for the first time, J.R. Todd completed the crossover as he stepped behind the wheel of Keyes' WIX Filters machine this morning.

At a closed test session in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Raceway, Keyes drove Todd around the prepped track before turning over the wheel completely to Todd. The NHRA veteran made two three-lap segments and was completely blown away. 

"It is pretty cool to be driving around here where we typically park our 18-wheelers when we are here racing," said Todd, driver of the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports. "It gives you a new respect for what these guys do. You are shifting gears going all the way around the course, it is a lot of fun. It is easy to go as fast as you can on the straightaways, but then you got get on the brakes to get on the corners that are always coming up. Huge thanks to Alex and the WIX Filters team for having me out." 

Blown away could also discribe Keyes' experience as he stood behind a 10,000-horsepower nitro-burning machine just days ago as Todd qualified for the Las Vegas Nationals on Friday.

"It was so sweet. I have seen NHRA on TV and I know they are fast, but it just does not do them justice," said Keyes, driver of the WIX Filters GRC Lite for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. "First off, I did not know that they ran on nitro, so I was crying a little bit. Then got to the starting line and wasn't anticipating it and I jumped. After that, I got to watch about 10 runs. When you know its coming it is sweet. You feel it through your chest and it is definitely a cool experience." 

Both are making plans to attend the other's actual events this season. Currently, Todd sits 10th in the NHRA point standings after four of 24 events, while Keyes will make his 2017 debut at the GRC season opener in Memphis at the end of the month. 
On Friday, Alex Keyes joined J.R. Todd at qualifying for the Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Gary Nastase)
Keyes said he jumped the first time he experienced nitro. (Photo: Gary Nastase)
Todd strapping aboard the WIX Filters GRC Lite machine. (Photo: Kalitta Motorsports)
WIX Filters drivers Keyes and Todd have completed the crossover and are new fans of each other's racing disciplines. (Photo: Kalitta Motorsports)

Doug Kalitta

Kalitta earns second consecutive semi-final result

Race Recap: After earning a semi-final finish at the Gatornationals, Kalitta and the Mac Tools team turned to Las Vegas where he had seen much success. However, the talented driver was still searching for his first spring Vegas win to add to his two Toyota Nationals triumphs.

Kalitta failed to make a clean pass on Friday, but the Mac Tools team more than made up for it on Saturday. They earned five of the possible six bonus points with two solid passes. The best, a 3.758, moved him all the way to third overall.

Up first was part-time driver Steve Chrisman. The Mac Tools dragster got the jump at the line and ran clean down the Strip, laying down the best run of the first session of Top Fuel.

The quarter-final draw was Clay Millican. Kalitta was on his game on the starting line as he had the best reaction time of the class in the round with a .050 in his way to another round win over a tire-smoking Millican.

The Mac Tools driver's day would end in the semi-finals in a close race with Tony Schumacher. Kalitta again earned the starting line advantage, but trailed at the finish line stripe by four thousandths of a second.

Qualified: No. 3 (3.758 sec., 318.69 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Chrisman - 3.743 sec., 326.40 mph to 4.104 sec., 248.48 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated Millican - 3.778 sec., 106.24 mph to 4.913 sec., 153.51 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Schumacher - 3.782 sec., 326.87 mph to 3.775 sec., 320.97 mph

Quotable: “Great effort by the Mac Tools Toyota team this weekend. We definitely want to get our first win of the season soon, so to not achieve that stinks. However, I am very confident in my Mac Tools guys and I know it is coming soon."

Point Standings: Fourth (-81); trails Antron Brown by 23 points for third; leads Steve Torrence by 30 for sixth

Troy Coughlin Jr

Coughlin Jr. suffers tough first round defeat

Race Recap: The SealMaster team and driver Troy Coughlin Jr. earned his fourth consecutive strong qualifying start to his rookie season. However, with issues down track, Coughlin Jr. was unable to earn his third career round win.

With a 3.790 second effort in the final round of qualifying, Coughlin Jr. started in the top half for the fourth consecutive time to start his nitro career. The SealMaster team was seeded seventh overall and a first-ever matchup with Terry McMillen.

McMillen and Coughlin Jr. left side-by-side, but Coughlin Jr. began pulling away. However, the SealMaster ride began to smoke the tires and the parachutes deployed. McMillen was also experiencing issues, but was able to his machine hooked back up. The two were separated by mere inches at the finish line, but McMillen was running over 70 mph faster, which allowed him to drive by.

Qualified: No. 7 (3.790 sec., 310.27 mph)

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by McMillen - 4.230 sec., 194.32 mph to 4.227 sec., 269.03 mph

Quotable: “I am bummed for the SealMaster Toyota guys. Just a lot of work goes into this, and having races and rounds like these is tough. I am continuing to grow and move forward. The expectations are high and something that is definitely attainable."

Point Standings: Eighth (-206); trails Clay Millican by 11 points for seventh, leads Terry McMillen by 12 points for ninth

JR Todd

Todd dealt an early loss

Race Recap: The DHL team were dealt a losing hand in the first round of Vegas Nationals eliminations earlier today.

After facing extremely treacherous track conditions at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Todd's DHL Camry was able to make two clean passes in qualifying. They opened the weekend with a solid 3.949 second run, and then closed Saturday with a better 3.936 second effort. That pass tied his teammate, Alexis DeJoria, and forced the second first round draw between the two in the first four events of the 2017 season.

Todd and DeJoria were the final pair of nitro machines to make it to the line. The duo left together, but for the second consecutive event, Todd's DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car fell to immediate tire smoke. Todd pedaled, but was unable to catch DeJoria, who was one of the few to make a clean pass to open eliminations.

Qualified: No. 9 (3.936 sec., 324.67 mph)

E1: Todd defeated by DeJoria - 9.752 sec., 77.54 mph to 4.054 sec., 320.97 mph

Quotable: "Unfortunately, a very quick way to end our Vegas trip. That was not what we were looking for with this DHL Toyota team in round one, but we will continue to get after it with this time off. I know we will be ready when the series hits our next race in Houston."

Point Standings: 10th (-198); trails Jim Campbell by 10 points for ninth; leads Tim Wilkerson by 15 points for 11th

Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria takes Vegas round win

Race Recap: The defending event champion, Alexis DeJoria and her Tequila Patrón team, started qualifying strong. Her 3.936 second qualifying effort just missed achieving bonus points and slotted her amongst the top half of the field for the second time this season. However, the draw was an unfortunate one, as DeJoria drew her teammate, J.R. Todd, in the first round for the second time in four events. She was able to drive around a tire-smoking Todd in the opening stanza with a solid pass, but her title defense ended in the second round with a red light start against veteran Gary Densham.

Qualified: No. 8 (3.936 sec., 327.27 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated Todd - 4.054 sec., 320.97 mph to 9.752 sec., 77.54 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated by Densham - Foul to 4.551 sec., 190.73 mph

Point Standings: 12th (-214); trails Tim Wilkerson by one point for 11th, leads Del Worsham by seven points for 13th

Doug Kalitta 

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 4.020 sec. at 223.25 MPH
Q2: 7.503 sec. at 115.54 MPH
Q3: 3.765 sec. at 319.60 MPH
Q4: 3.758 sec. at 318.69 MPH

Bonus Points: 5 pts. (Best of the third session, second-best of the final session)
Starting Position: 3rd
First Round Matchup: Steve Chrisman
Quotable: "Great finish today by the Mac Tools boys! This machine was strong all day, and that gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow."

Tory Coughlin

Troy Coughlin Jr., driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 3.804 sec. at 292.08 MPH
Q2: 11.131 sec. at 86.31 MPH
Q3: 4.335 sec. at 183.39 MPH
Q4: 3.790 sec. at 318.69 MPH

Starting Position: 7th
First Round Matchup: Terry McMillen
Quotable: "Stoked to finish the session with our best run of the weekend. I know the SealMaster Toyota guys will be ready for tomorrow. We have a lot of people here, and we want to run strong for them and all of our great supporters"

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J.R. Todd, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car

Q1: 3.949 sec. at 318.84 MPH
Q2: 7.877 sec. at 75.41 MPH
Q3: 11.393 sec. at 69.76 MPH
Q4: 3.936 sec. at 324.67 MPH

Starting Position: 9th
First Round Matchup: Alexis DeJoria
Quotable: "The track was very tricky. Not a lot of teams were making it down this weekend. We backed the DHL Toyota down to make it the last session. It was a good run, but we want to run a little quicker. We have to run Alexis in the morning, so we have to perform strong. The plan is to go out and race the track tomorrow and hopefully turn on four win lights."

Alexis Dejoria

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car

Q1: 3.936 sec. at 327.27 MPH
Q2: 7.769 sec. at 80.01 MPH
Q3: 12.742 sec. at 72.03 MPH
Q4: 5.656 sec. at 124.45 MPH

Starting Position: 8th
First Round Matchup: J.R. Todd

Doug Kalitta 

Kalitta looking for first Vegas spring race win

Las Vegas Highlights: Two wins (Fall 2015, Fall 2004); Four finals (Spring 2014, Fall 2007, Spring 2005, Spring 2003); Two no.1 qualifiers (Spring 2005, Spring 2003)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified second; Semi-finalist (Defeated Ike Maier in the first round and Leah Pritchett in the quarter-finals, lost to Antron Brown in the semi-finals)

2016 Las Vegas Nationals Recap: Qualified second; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Steve Faria in the first round, lost to Dave Connolly in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: "The Mac Tools team had a solid Gatornationals, but I would really love to pick up that first win of the season this weekend in Las Vegas. The Mac Tools Toyota dragster has performed strong here in the past, and I am confident in our chances."

Career Stats: 437 starts, 594 round wins (10th all-time), 42 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel), 88 finals, 47 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)

2017 Season Stats: One final (Pomona-I); 5 round wins; fourth in the standings

2016 Season Stats: Four wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka, Pomona-II); Four no.1 qualifiers (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk, Charlotte-II); Two finals (Pomona-I, Charlotte-II); 44 round wins; second in the final standings

Noteworthy: With a win, Kalitta would pass Bob Glidden for ninth all-time in total round wins; Could become the ninth driver to hit 600 round wins this season; also will reach 1,000 career rounds competed early this year (currently at 989)

Troy Coughlin JR

Coughlin Jr. planning for strong Vegas debut

Noteworthy: National event win at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Super Comp in 2009 (first career national event win); Fourth career pro event; a leading candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former Pro Stock champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified sixth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Pat Dakin in the first round, lost to Antron Brown in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: "The learning continues and what better place to get back on track than Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The SealMaster Toyota dragster is fresh and ready to go thanks to my guys."

2017 Season Stats: Three starts; Two round wins; seventh in the point standings

Career Info: Five national event wins (Three in Super Gas, Two in Super Comp); 2013 Division III Super Gas Champion; 2015 NHRA Pro Mod Rookie of the Year


Last fall's finalist, Todd desires Vegas trophy

Las Vegas Highlights: Three finals (Fall 2016, Fall 2014, Fall 2006); Two No.1 Qualifiers (Spring 2015, Fall 2014)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified seventh; First round defeat (Lost to Jonnie Lindberg in the first round)

2016 Las Vegas Nationals Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified ninth; Semi-finalist (Defeated Tony Schumacher in the first round and Steve Chrisman in the quarter-finals, lost to Troy Buff in the semi-finals)

Quotable: "Team Kalitta machines always run well in Las Vegas and we hope to keep the trend going with the DHL Toyota Camry."

Career Stats: 151 starts, 151 round wins, 9 wins, 19 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 3 starts, 2 round wins)

2017 Season Stats: Three starts; Two round wins; Ninth in the point standings

2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Three finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago); One no.1 qualifier (Pomona-II); 37 round wins; fourth in the finals standings

Noteworthy: Attempting to become the 16th driver in NHRA history with a Top Fuel and Funny Car win; DHL celebrating 10th season of NHRA sponsorship

Media Availability & Special Guest: On Thursday, Todd will be a part of the Las Vegas pre-race Press Conference at Joe's Seafood, Steak and Stone Crab. On Friday, Todd will welcome GRC star Alex Keyes to Las Vegas. Todd and Keyes are participating in a crossover event with Todd making laps in a GRC machine the following Tuesday.

 Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria Las Vegas pre-race notes

Las Vegas Highlights: Reigning event champion; Two wins (Spring 2016, Spring 2014)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified 11th; First round defeat (Lost to Ron Capps in the first round)

2016 Las Vegas Nationals Recap: Qualified sixth; Event Winner (Defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round, Robert Hight in the quarter-finals, John Force in the semi-final and Del Worsham in the final )

Career Stats: 119 starts, 82 round wins, 4 wins, 7 finals, 4 no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: Three starts; 12th in the point standings

2016 Season Stats: One win (Las Vegas-I); One semi-final (Bristol); One No. 1 qualifier (Charlotte-I); 13 round wins; 10th in the final standings

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Mello Yello Championship Points

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Antron Brown (1513)
2. Steve Torrence (1482)
3. Leah Pritchett (1453)
4. Tony Schumacher (1121)
5. Brittany Force (1052) 
6. Doug Kalitta (1038)
7. Clay Millican (1014)
8. Terry McMillen (722)
9. Scott Palmer (649)
10. Troy Coughlin Jr. (576)
11. Shawn Langdon (568)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (1383)
2. Robert Hight (1247)
3. Matt Hagan (1214)
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1180 or 1200)
5. Jack Beckman (1160)
6. Courtney Force (1012)
7. John Force (954)
8. Tim Wilkerson (792)
9. J.R. Todd (788)
10. Alexis DeJoria (664)