BRAINERD, Minn. (August 19, 2016) – Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, claimed the third consecutive provisional pole for the Brainerd Nationals earlier today.
Worsham continued his run of stellar passes in the first qualifying session. Crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante provided the tune-up for the 3.856 second lap, besting the field by over four hundredths and setting a new track record. The evening session saw Worsham run another solid number, a 3.872, which allowed Worsham to claim five of the six possible bonus points for the first day of the Brainerd Nationals.
"That 3.856 was a great pass for the conditions," said Worsham. "Nicky, Jon O and all of the DHL Toyota guys are doing a great job."
"I am not sure if that is going to hold or not. Conditions look good for tomorrow, so we could see some changes."
Those passes allowed Worsham to clinch a milestone: his 500th career race-day start. He is only the third active driver to have reached that mark.
If the run holds, Worsham will earn the no.1 qualifier for the third consecutive race for the first time in his career. It would be his 21st pole of his career and 14th in Funny Car. This would be his second Brainerd pole; Worsham earned his first career no.1 qualifier at Brainerd International Raceway in 1991.
Worsham's Funny Car teammate, Alexis DeJoria, is not in attendance due to injuries suffered at the Toyota Sonoma Nationals last month. The Kalitta Top Fuel dragsters of J.R. Todd and Doug Kalitta both made two passes on Fri
Todd is currently slotted sixth with Kalitta in seventh in the Top Fuel field.
Kalitta plans to lay down fast times in Brainerd
Brainerd Highlights: Two wins (2005, 2003); Two finals (2014, 2000); Three poles (2010, 2004, 2002)
2015 Brainerd Event Recap: Qualified third; Quarter-Final finish (beat Wayne Newby in the first round, lost to Brittany Force in the quarter-finals)
Previous Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified seventh; First round defeat (lost to Richie Crampton in the first round)
Quotable: “Brainerd was extremely fast last season, and the conditions look like they are going to give us opportunity to go fast again this weekend. I am excited to get back in the seat of the Mac Tools Toyota machine and see what we can do.”
Career Stats: 426 starts, 575 round wins (11th all-time), 41 wins (Fourth all-time in Top Fuel), 85 finals, 46 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)
2016 Season Stats: Three wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka); Three poles (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk), One final (Pomona), 30 round wins
Point Standings: Second (-100); trails first-place Antron Brown by 100 points, leads third-place Steve Torrence by 24 points
Noteworthy: has won his first round pairing in 13 of 16 events this season; 10 semi-final or better finishes in 16 events this season; matched season round win total from 2015; clinched NHRA Countdown for the Championship slot in Sonoma, his 19th consecutive top ten finish
Top Fuel's best in the last five races.
Todd desires first Brainerd crown
Highlights: Only Top Fuel driver to advance to the semi-finals or better on every Western Swing event; 14 round wins in the last five events to lead the Top Fuel class
2015 Brainerd Event Recap: Qualified tenth; First round defeat (lost to Antron Brown in the first round)
Previous Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified third; Semi-Final finish (Defeated Troy Buff in the first round and Shawn Langdon in the second round, lost to Steve Torrence in the semi-finals)
Quotable: “We had a great Western Swing with this SealMaster team and have a lot of momentum heading into Brainerd. I feel like we have a good handle on the SealMaster dragster and I look forward to run this weekend and hopefully have our consistently strong runs continue.”
Career Stats: 140 starts, 136 round wins, 9 wins, 17 finals, 8 no.1 qualifiers
2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Three finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago); 24 round wins
Point Standings: Sixth (-341); trails fifth-place Tony Schumacher by 76 points, leads seventh-place Shawn Langdon by 72 points
Noteworthy: Reset his career-best ET in Seattle with a 3.698 second pass (previous best was set in Brainerd last season); Won at least one race on the Western Swing for the third consecutive season; semi-final finish or better the last five events; has won more round wins in the first 16 races of 2016 (24) then the entire 2015 season (20); clinched NHRA Countdown for the Championship slot in Seattle
Worsham looks to hit huge milestone
Highlights: One Brainerd pole (1991); upon earning a qualified spot in the field, Worsham will make his 500th career raceday start; reset NHRA National Record Elapsed Time at the last race
2015 Brainerd Event Recap: Qualified eighth; First round defeat (lost to Matt Hagan in the first round)
Previous Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified first (track-record elapsed time; career-best elapsed-time; National Record ET); In finals, to be run in Brainerd (defeated Tim Gibbons in the first round, Robert Hight in the second round and Matt Hagan in the semi-finals, will run Ron Capps in the final)
Quotable: "It's feels good. When I started, it never entered my mind or was a thought that I could be able to hit 500 career starts and to do it when we are running extremely strong has me even more excited. I am ready to get to Brainerd and hopefully pick up two Wallys this weekend with this DHL Camry.”
Career Stats: 499 starts, 545 round wins, 38 wins (30 in Funny Car, 8 in Top Fuel), 64 finals (53 in Funny Car, 11 in Top Fuel), 20 no.1 qualifiers (13 in Funny Car, 7 in Top Fuel)
2016 Season Stats: Three finals (Pomona, Las Vegas, Seattle - Final will be run in Brainerd); Four semi-finals (Epping, Englishtown, Denver, Sonoma); Three poles (Norwalk, Sonoma, Seattle); 23 round wins
Point Standings: Fourth (-243); trails third-place Jack Beckman by 18 points, leads fifth-place Matt Hagan by 59 points
Noteworthy: 2015 Funny Car Champion, 2011 Top Fuel Champion; one of three drivers with championships in both nitro classes; second in the Funny Car class with 13 first round wins this season; No. 1 qualifiers at the last two events; won consecutive poles for the first time in his Funny Car career; clinched NHRA Countdown for the Championship spot in Seattle
Raised in nearby Lawrenceburg, Ind., Todd grew up cheering on the Cincinnati-based Reds and Bengals. The Reds are proud of their hometown star and are pleased to welcome him home to honor Todd’s recent successes on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing tour.
“We are proud to have Lawrenceburg, Ind., native and hometown racing star J.R. Todd to Great American Ball Park to throw out a ceremonial first pitch,” said Zack Bonkowski, Cincinnati Reds Vice President of Promotional Events & Productions.
Todd, who was the only Top Fuel driver to advance to the semi-finals or further in all three Western Swing events, will throw out the first pitch prior to the Reds facing the Miami Marlins on Monday at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati.
“It is exciting to be a part of the Reds game on Monday,” said Todd. “I grew up as a fan, so to be able to be a part of a game in this capacity is very cool.”
Todd scored his first win of the season at the last completed NHRA event, the Toyota Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway. In the last five events, Todd has scored three final round appearances and 14 round wins to lead the Top Fuel class in both categories. He currently sits sixth in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Standings and has already clinched his spot in the 2016 NHRA Countdown for the Championship with two races still remaining.
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
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 Champions, 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. Kalitta Motorsports also manages the McLeod Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Paul Lee. 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, Todd Smith on the McLeod Racing 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, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.
Worsham hits career-best numbers in Seattle
Race Recap: Worsham had simply one incredible weekend. The qualifying portion of the weekend was unbeatable as Worsham laid down the best pass in all four sessions racking up all of the bonus points. He broke the NHRA national record with both of his last two passes; first with a 3.841 second pass in the third qualifying session, and then with an outstanding 3.832 second pass that makes him the quickest NHRA Funny Car driver. His second consecutive pole was also a career-first.
However, Worsham did not stop there. He started the day for with Tim Gibbons for the second straight race. Worsham ran a clean 3.86-second pass to start his day on the right foot. From there, the races got very close. Robert Hight was the second round draw and Worsham got by him by mere inches. With that result, Worsham clinched being the only Funny Car driver on the Swing to reach the semi-finals or better in every race.
Seattle featured another LIVE TV broadcast; so the DHL Yella Fellas were forced into a quick turn-around, but they were ready. Coming back to the line against Hagan, Worsham, Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante delivered another 3.86-second pass to move Worsham to his third final round of the season, and first since all-Team Kalitta battle in Las Vegas. The Worsham vs. Hagan matchup was the quickest side-by-side Funny Car race ever.
Worsham was prepared to battle Ron Capps in the Seattle final round, but due to inclement weather and darkness, the final round was moved to NHRA's next race in Brainerd, Minn.
Qualified: No. 1 (3.832 sec., 330.88 mph)
***NATIONAL RECORD, TRACK RECORD and CAREER-BEST ELAPSED TIME***
E1: Worsham defeated Gibbons - 3.861 sec., 331.20 mph to 3.894 sec., 323.04 mph
E2: Worsham defeated Hight - 3.881 sec., 328.46 mph to 3.894 sec., 323.04 mph
E3: Worsham defeated Hagan - 3.864 sec., 330.96 mph to 3.887 sec., 326.48 mph
Final: Worsham vs. Capps will be run in Brainerd
Quotable: "I so wanted to finish what we have started here. The DHL Camry has been on a rail all weekend, and now we have to go to a different track two weeks from now to finish this event. However, I have the most confidence in my guys and our team and we will go to Brainerd and plan on scoring the Seattle trophy there."
Point Standings: Fourth (-243); trails with third-place Jack Beckman by 18 points, leads fifth-place Matt Hagan by 69 points
Todd records another solid finish in Western Swing finale
Race Recap: After earning his first win of the season, Todd and the SealMaster headed to another familiar place: Seattle, where Todd recorded the win just one season ago. Early qualifying sessions did not go Todd's way, but Connie Kalitta, Rob Flynn and the SealMaster team got it right in the last session recording a bonus-point earning 3.706 second pass that allowed the SealMaster team to start third.
Todd's draw in round one was Troy Buff. The always tough Bill Miller-led team ran a solid number, but J.R. was away first and led to the stripe to move him to the second round. Don Schumacher Racing's Shawn Langdon was the foe. It was a stellar race stripe-to-stripe, but Todd came out on top with a career-best 3.698 second pass. The run to repeat titles at the Northwest Nationals ended in the semi-finals, but it was a stellar swing for Todd.
He was the only Top Fuel driver to earn a semi-final or better finish in every race on the Swing and led the class with eight round wins. Todd and the SealMaster team are currently on a streak of five straight semi-finals or better with 14 round wins scored in the last five events.
Qualified: No. 3 (3.706 sec., 328.14 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Buff - 3.744 sec., 324.59 mph to 3.831 sec., 308.50 mph
E2: Todd defeated Langdon - 3.698 sec., 327.74 mph to 3.726 sec., 326.63 mph **CAREER-BEST ELAPSED TIME**
E3: Todd defeated by Torrence - 3.753 sec., 316.23 mph to 3.695 sec., 330.47 mph
Quotable: "I am so proud of these SealMaster guys. They did such a kick ass job on the Swing and we are really rounding in to form at the right time in the season as we head towards the Countdown. We have an consistent SealMaster Toyota and I am ready to get after it in Brainerd."
Point Standings: Sixth (-341); trails fifth-place Tony Schumacher by 76 points, leads seventh-place Shawn Langdon by 72 points
Kalitta suffers early defeat
Race Recap: Kalitta and the Mac Tools team looked for Seattle redemption after a solid Sonoma event. The Mac Tools team won the Northwest Nationals in 2014 and was looking for another win.
The team started strong earning a bonus point in the first session of qualifying. On Saturday, the Mac Tools team tried some new parts did not achieve the performance they were used to yielding a four spot drop to the seventh starting spot and a tough first draw with last weekend's finalist, Richie Crampton. Kalitta beat Crampton off of the line, but his opponent ran low elapsed time of the session to move to the second round and deal Kalitta his third first round defeat of the season.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.741 sec., 328.14 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Crampton - 3.755 sec., 323.27 mph to 3.696 sec., 322.88 mph
Quotable: "Not the finish to the Western Swing I was hoping for this Mac Tools team. We are still solid in the standings, and will look for improvement in Brainerd in a couple weeks. Proud of the work my team put in on this west coast journey."
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car
Q1: 3.922 sec. at 321.88 MPH
Q2: 3.886 sec. at 327.98 MPH
Q3: 3.841 sec. at 330.15 MPH
Q4: 3.832 sec. at 330.82 MPH
Bonus Points: 12 pts. (Best in the first session, best in the second session, best of the third session, best of the fourth session)
Starting Position: 1st
First Round Matchup: Tim Gibbons
Quotable: "We just have an incredible team working well together. We have been running this new Bounty Hunter chassis since Denver and these team at the shop built an incredible piece. Nicky and Jon O, and the guys, I cannot say enough about what they are doing. I have to thank Toyota and TRD for their help too. It is an incredible honor to be driving this DHL Toyota Camry for Connie and this entire Kalitta Motorsports team and I am excited. Tomorrow is what matters though, and we look forward to accomplishing more then."
Notes: Worsham's 3.832 is the new NHRA National Funny Car elapsed time record. Worsham last held the national record after the 2015 St. Louis event. It is the first time in Worsham's Funny Car career that he has won back-to-back top qualifiers. It is his third number one qualifier of the season, all of which have occurred in the last five events.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster
Q1: 3.816 sec. at 318.69 MPH
Q2: 9.888 sec. at 88.73 MPH
Q3: 3.779 sec. at 280.31 MPH
Q4: 3.706 sec. at 328.14 MPH
Bonus Points: 2 pts. (Second best of the final session)
Starting Position: 3rd
First Round Matchup: Troy Buff
Quotable: "We tuned her up for that last run there and that is what we were looking for. Connie, Rob and the SealMaster boys did a great job with that pass. I have to say thank you to the SealMaster guys from Hawaii that are here in Seattle this weekend to watch us run. That is a long trip and hopefully that pass was worth it."
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Q1: 3.781 sec. at 324.98 MPH
Q2: 3.741 sec. at 323.81 MPH
Q3: 8.066 sec. at 113.67 MPH
Q4: 4.485 sec. at 172.12 MPH
Bonus Points: 1 pt. (Third best in the first session)
Starting Position: 7th
First Round Matchup: Richie Crampton
Quotable: "We went for it in the last session and lost some traction. However, Kalitta Motorsports as a whole has been very strong at Pacific Raceways these past couple seasons and we have great notes. Tough first round draw, but I look forward to the challenge ahead."
#NHRAonFOX Telecast information:
8/7 Qualifying (FS1) - 2:00am - 3:00am
8/7 Race (FOX) - 4:00pm - 7:00pm - LIVE
All times are EST.
SEATTLE (August 6, 2016) – Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, continued his qualifying hot streak breaking the national elapsed time record by three hundredths earlier today. He now holds the two quickest runs in NHRA Funny Car history.
Worsham was the provisional number one qualifier coming into the second day of Northwest Nationals qualifying. However, weather gave the Funny Car ideal conditions leading to record-breaking passes. Worsham was a part of the last pair of Funny Cars to see the racetrack, and his 3.886 second pass from Friday had been bumped to fifth. Courtney Force had just ran two pairs before and broke the national record with a 3.855 second pass.
Worsham, Jon Oberhofer, Nicky Boninfante and the DHL team were not to be outdone. Worsham ran a blistering 3.841 second pass outrunning the previous national record by over two hundredths. The previous record was a 3.862 second pass ran by Matt Hagan earlier this season in Topeka.
However, the DHL team saved the best for last. After watching Ron Capps nearly match their pace a pair prior, the DHL leaders Boninfante and Oberhofer made adjustments to the DHL Toyota Camry and it stuck. Worsham scorched the Pacific Raceways surface, reaching the 1,000 ft line in 3.832 seconds at over 330MPH.
"We just have an incredible team working well together," said Worsham. "We have been running this new Bounty Hunter chassis since Denver and these team at the shop built an incredible piece. Nicky and Jon O, and the guys, I cannot say enough about what they are doing. I have to thank Toyota and TRD for their help too. It is an incredible honor to be driving this DHL Toyota Camry for Connie and this entire Kalitta Motorsports team and I am excited. Tomorrow is what matters though, and we look forward to accomplishing more then."
It was a stellar qualifying effort for the DHL team who earned their second consecutive pole, something Worsham had never achieved in his Funny Car career prior. Worsham also swept the Funny Car bonus points for the first time.
SEATTLE (August 6, 2016) – Championship-winning tuner Todd Smith has been named as the crew chief on the McLeod Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Paul Lee. Smith will lead the third Funny Car team for Kalitta Motorsports that will begin running at the NHRA Keystone Nationals later this fall.
“I am excited to be back with Team Kalitta and to be able to work with Paul and the McLeod team on putting this new operation together,” said Smith. “Lee is a talented driver and with the Kalitta equipment; I am confident in our chances to have success.”
Smith has spent five seasons previously with Kalitta Motorsports working with drivers Connie, Doug and Scott Kalitta throughout the late nineties. After departing, he led Jack Beckman to the 2012 Funny Car Championship. Last season, he worked with Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel team.
“I’m excited that Todd Smith has joined our McLeod Racing Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car Team,” said Lee. “Todd is very experienced and is a proven winner. He has won races with many different teams and cars over the years, culminating with the 2012 Funny Car World Championship with driver Jack Beckman. Jim O(berhofer) is assembling an awesome team which will make our Funny Car a contender and capable of winning each time we pull up to the staging beams. I’m looking forward to working with Todd and our Kalitta Motorsports Team!”
Smith will join an elite group of crew chiefs at Kalitta Motorsports including Connie Kalitta, Jim and Jon Oberhofer, Nicky Boninfante, Tommy DeLago, Glen Huzsar and Rob Flynn.
“Todd has been part of the Kalitta Motorsports team in the past and I am excited that he is back with us,” said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “He is a championship-caliber crew chief and will not only add a lot to Paul’s McLeod Racing team, but Kalitta Motorsports as a whole.”
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Leah Pritchett (300)
2. Tony Schumacher (279)
3. Antron Brown (243)
4. Doug Kalitta (220)
5. Brittany Force (202)
6. Steve Torrence (185)
7. Troy Coughlin Jr. (143)
8. Shawn Reed (136)
9. Clay Millican (133)
10. Scott Palmer (116)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Matt Hagan (308)
2. John Force (238)
3. Ron Capps (235)
4. Tommy Johnson Jr (209)
5. Courtney Force (177)
6. Robert Hight (150)
7. Jim Campbell (148)
8. Jack Beckman (144)
9. J.R. Todd (138)
10. Robert Hight (117)
12. Alexis DeJoria (101)