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Kalitta Motorsports News

Historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona hosts season opener and finals; traditional Labor Day weekend showcase, Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis highlights thrilling season

GLENDORA, Calif. (June 7, 2017) – NHRA announced its 24-race 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, featuring intense racing action at tracks across the country.  Millions of fans will witness sensory-overloading side-by-side racing action where winners and losers can be separated by mere inches at speeds exceeding 330 mph.  

All 24 events during the busy season will be aired exclusively on FOX Sports and for selected events on the FOX broadcast network, with live and near-live coverage of most of the events.  Over 575 hours of programming will feature action from Friday and Saturday qualifying rounds and Sunday finals.

The lineup for the four-race back-to-back stretch that starts the slate of busy racing action in the summer months will change in 2018. The Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway moves earlier to May 31- June 3. The NHRA New England Nationals at scenic New England Dragway outside of Boston moves later to July 6-8. 

The 2018 season will begin at the venerable Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California with the NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 8-11, and closes at the renowned dragstrip with the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Nov. 8-11.

 Doug Kalitta

Kalitta looks for third Englishtown win

Englishtown Highlights: Two wings (2003, 2000); One final (2001); Two no.1 qualifiers (2014, 2003)

Last Event Recap (Epping): Qualified ninth; First round loss (Lost to Steve Torrence in the first round)

2016 Summernationals Recap: Qualified fifth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Leah Pritchett in the first round, lost to Brittany Force in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: “It would be special to claim another Englishtown win. My Mac Tools guys are working hard, and I know we will claim victory soon. “

Career Stats: 443 starts, 601 round wins (ninth 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); 12 round wins; fifth in the standings

Noteworthy: Seven races from 450 career race day starts

Shawn Langdon 

Langdon closing on return to winner's circle

Englishtown Highlights: One win (2013)

Last Event Recap (Epping): Qualified sixth; Semi-finalist (Defeated Dom Lagana in the first round and Smax Smith in the quarter-finals, lost to Brittany Force in the semi-finals)

2016 Summernationals (w/ DSR): Qualified third; Semi-finalist (Defeated Shawn Reed in the first round and Dom Lagana in the quarter-finals, lost to Tony Schumacher in the semi-finals)

Quotable: “I am excited to get to Englishtown, especially after how good the car ran in Epping. There is a lot of meaning with this team there, so that is something that gets your drive built up as a driver that is a part of this team. I am excited to get back in the race car there and show what the Global Electronic Technology team is capable of.”

Career Stats: 193 starts, 234 round wins, 14 wins, 28 finals, 18 no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: Five starts; Four round wins; 11th in the point standings

Noteworthy: Joined Kalitta Motorsports from Don Schumacher Racing after Las Vegas in a full-time third Top Fuel entry

 Troy Coughlin

Coughlin Jr. plans to build on solid Epping effort at the Summernationals

Noteworthy: 10th career pro event; a candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former two-time Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former six-time NHRA champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.); part of Coughlin family with 113 career wins

Last Event Recap (Epping): Qualified 10th; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Clay Millican in the first round, lost to Brittany Force in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: “Our confidence is rising with the SealMaster Toyota. Jim O, Nick, Glen and the SealMaster team are making strides with the program. I am gaining more positive experience in driving and we are ready to take on Englishtown, one of the most historic facilities in NHRA history. The desire to make more progress is the plan.”

2017 Season Stats: Nine starts; Four round wins; eighth 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

 JR Todd

Todd wants to deliver special Englishtown win

Last Event Recap (Epping): Qualified eighth; First round loss (Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round)

2016 Summernationals Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified eighth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Richie Crampton in the first round, lost to Steve Torrence in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: “It would be special to win there in the DHL Toyota Camry. With the history of this car and that track, it would mean a lot. They have come close in the past. To be able to hand that trophy to Connie would be incredible. I think our car is headed in the right direction. We are going to keep plugging away on it and find ways to make it better. I have to do a better job driving it to finish it off. We have our work cut out for us, but I like the direction we are going in.”

Career Stats: 157 starts, 155 round wins, 9 wins, 19 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: Nine starts, One final (Charlotte); Six round wins)

2017 Season Stats: Nine starts; One final (Charlotte-I); six round wins; eighth in the point 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

 Alexis Dejoria

DeJoria Englishtown pre-race notes

Englishtown Highlights: One final (2015)

Last Event Recap (Epping): Qualified 11th; First round loss (Lost to Bob Tasca III in the first round)

2016 Summernationals Recap: Qualified seventh; First round loss (Lost to Jack Beckman in the first round)

Career Stats: 122 starts; 84 round wins; Four wins; Seven finals, Four no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: Six starts; Two round wins; 14th in the point standings

Shawn Langdon

Langdon advances to first semi-final since joining Team Kalitta

Race Recap: With four races together, Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team were coming together and the progress was further shown in Epping for the New England Nationals.

After a rough Friday session, the Global Electronic Technology team really stepped it up on Saturday with two solid passes that moved Langdon inside the top half of the field. Despite a sixth starting spot, Langdon faced a tough draw with Dom Lagana in the opening round.

Langdon was ahead of Lagana by the 330 foot mark and steadily pulled the Global Electronic Technology dragster further ahead to claim the opening round win. However, Langdon was not done yet, as he took a solo run to the semi-finals when Smax Smith, who upset Tony Schumacher in the first round, could not make the second round run.

Unfortunately in the semi-final against Brittany Force, Langdon's Global Electronic Technology machine suffered an air bottle woe, giving Force the round win. 

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 6 (3.724 sec., 327.98 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated Lagana - 3.753 sec., 324.28 mph to 3.816 sec., 321.04 mph

E2: Langdon defeated Smith - 3.790 sec., 323.35 mph to No Run

E3: Langdon defeated by Force - Broke to 3.731 sec., 331.69 mph

Quotable: "It is just unfortunate. Sometimes things don't play out in your favor. Unfortunately, we just had an air bottle issue. We are still diagnosing what happened on it. We had enough air in the air bottle to do the burnout. Then when the lights came on and I hit the gas; there was nothing there. We have a safety device that needs air to give you pedal, so without air there was nothing we could do. It sucks because we had a good Global Electronic Technology machine. On the positive side of things, our previous four runs were really good passes. At the end of the day, it is unfortunate, but we gained some points and gained some confidence going into Englishtown."

Point Standings: 11th; trails Scott Palmer by 86 points for 10th

Troy Coughlin

Coughlin Jr. claims Epping round win

Race Recap: Coughlin Jr. was focused on starting his first four-race run of races in a strong fashion. The SealMaster Toyota did just that with a strong effort in Sunday eliminations in Epping. 

Coughlin Jr. earned a top ten starting spot with a solid effort in the third qualifying session. The 3.775 second pass earned the SealMaster Toyota the tenth spot in qualifying. First up was Clay Millican.

Coughlin Jr.'s SealMaster Toyota moved first against Millican. After some early back-and-forth, Coughlin Jr. took the lead back for good just past the 660' foot mark and pulled ahead to claim the round win. 

In the second round, Coughlin Jr. again left first against opponent Brittany Force, but was unable to pick-up the round win despite another clean run. Coughlin Jr. gained one spot in the standings after the Epping success.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 10 (3.784 sec., 328.54 mph) 

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated Millican - 3.784 sec., 328.54 mph to 3.831 sec., 312.78 mph

E2: Coughlin Jr. defeated by B. Force - 3.822 sec., 320.66 mph to 3.745 sec., 330.88 mph

Quotable: “At this point for the SealMaster Toyota, any data is good data. It is data from all angles. With the car, the runs and with the guys. It is good for me too; I am learning what the car feels like when it makes a good run and when it is struggling. We are working extremely hard. Moving up in points is always a bonus. We will move on to Englishtown and hopefully move up some more."

Point Standings: Eighth; trails Clay Millican by 87 points for seventh, leads Terry McMillen by 20 points for ninth

Doug Kalitta.jpg

Kalitta sets track MPH record in tough early loss

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team came into Epping looking for a career-first for Kalitta: his first New England Nationals trophy. He has come close in the four previous runnings, but was focused on trying to earn the trophy. 

Kalitta made a couple strong passes including a 3.732 second pass, but he started eliminations on the bottom half of the ladder for the first time this season. He faced a tough draw with two-time winner this season Steve Torrence.

The duo was the first pair on the track on Sunday, and it was a great race throughout. Unfortunately, for the Mac Tools driver, he came out on the losing end of a great 3.716 seconds versus 3.724 seconds race. Kalitta ended up running the second-best run of the entire session and setting a Epping MPH Track Record in the loss. 

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 9 (3.732 sec., 326.71 mph) 

E1: Kalitta defeated by Torrence - 3.724 sec., 331.69 mph to 3.716 sec., 331.20 mph (TRACK RECORD MPH)

Quotable: “Tough finish to a great drag race for the Mac Tools team. We have a great car, and eventually close races like that are going to go our way."

Point Standings: Fifth; trails Tony Schumacher by 141 points for fourth; leads Brittany Force by 43 points for sixth.

JR ToddTodd loses close first round race in Epping

Race Recap: After a solid Topeka event, J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota team elected to debut a brand new chassis to begin the only four-race conseuctive race swing on the NHRA season.

The new chassis was stout in its debut day as Todd picked up two bonus points in the Friday evening session and was slotted among the top half of the field after every session. The DHL team ended up seeded eighth and a first round matchup with Tommy Johnson Jr. 

The final nitro pairing started with a little bit of an issue for Johnson Jr., but he was able to stage in-time with a short burnout to make the run. Todd and Johnson Jr. left side-by-side, but Todd was pulling ahead after Johnson Jr. was forced to pedal. After the 660 foot line, Todd was in front, but soon after the DHL Camry suffered problems. It was a close finish at the line, but Johnson Jr. was going 46 MPH quicker allowing him to just sneak ahead. 

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.900 sec., 327.66 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by Johnson Jr. - 4.032 sec., 269.73 mph to 4.016 sec., 315.86 mph

Quotable: "Losing in the first round is not the way we wanted this Epping weekend to end for the DHL Toyota Camry. However, we definitely have made progress and I am excited about the direction we are going. We will head to Englishtown next weekend and plan on going more rounds there."

Point Standings: Eighth; trails Tommy Johnson Jr. by 120 points for seventh; leads Tim Wilkerson by 20 points for ninth.

Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria unable to turn strong qualifying effort into a round win

Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria returned to the seat of her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car for the New England Nationals. Right off of the trailer, DeJoria ran strong with two solid qualifying passes on Friday including earning a bonus point in the Friday evening session.

DeJoria ended qualifying in the 11th position with a first round opponent of Bob Tasca III. DeJoria encountered problems and pedaled, but was unable to catch up with Tasca III. 

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 11 (3.923 sec., 331.36 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated by Tasca III - 4.854 sec., 253.80 mph to 4.572 sec., 253.14 mph

Point Standings: 14th; trails Cruz Pedregon by 70 points for 13th, leads Bob Tasca III by 74 points for 15th 

Shawn Langdon Sat

Shawn Langdon, driver of the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 6.178 sec. at 105.45 MPH
Q2: 10.479 sec. at 89.49 MPH
Q3: 3.785 sec. at 317.34 MPH
Q43.724 sec. at 327.98 MPH

Starting Position: 6th

First Round Matchup: Dom Lagana

Quotable: "We made some changes today after Friday qualifying because we were unable to get down the track. Today, the car responded well and we were able to make a good run there in q4. It put us in a good spot in the ladder, so I am excited for round one tomorrow against Dom Lagana. Now is the time to start making a move on getting that spot in the top ten in the standings."

Doug Kalitta Sat

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 4.587 sec. at 103.41 MPH
Q2: 3.732 sec. at 326.71 MPH
Q3: 8.862 sec. at 99.93 MPH
Q43.738 sec. at 327.03 MPH

Starting Position: 9th

First Round Matchup: Steve Torrence

Quotable: "Clean way to end qualifying here at the New England Nationals. Tough draw in round one for the Mac Tools ride, but I know my team will be prepared to run strong."

Troy Coughlin JR Sat

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

Q1: 3.860 sec. at 257.87 MPH
Q2: 8.628 sec. at 79.24 MPH
Q3: 3.775 sec. at 324.12 MPH
Q48.273 sec. at 80.43 MPH

Starting Position: 10th

First Round Matchup: Clay Millican 

Quotable: "The third qualifying round was awesome. The whole team is really coming together. We are making some strides. We are getting there. In the final qualifying pass, we shook the tires after that rain delay. We have Clay tomorrow. He is a tough competitor, but we will have this SealMaster Toyota ready."

JR Todd Sat

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

Q1: 3.920 sec. at 325.85 MPH
Q2: 3.900 sec. at 327.66 MPH
Q3: 8.731 sec. at 74.17 MPH
Q47.383 sec. at 84.85 MPH

Bonus Points: 2 pts. (Second best of the second session)

Starting Position: 8th

First Round Matchup: Tommy Johnson Jr.

Quotable: "We debuted this DHL Toyota Camry to two strong runs here at the New England Nationals. Conditions were tight today and we were testing our limits after the Friday success. I feel confident that we have the right set-up and I am excited to hopefully go four rounds tomorrow."

Alexis DeJoria Sat

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

Q1: 3.941 sec. at 326.87 MPH 
Q2: 3.923 sec. at 331.36 MPH
Q3: 4.304 sec. at 211.49 MPH
Q43.924 sec. at 322.04 MPH

Bonus Points: 1 pt. (Third best of the second session)

Starting Position: 11th

First Round Matchup: Bob Tasca III

Doug Kalitta

Kalitta desires first Epping win

Epping Highlights: Track MPH Record Holder (329.26 MPH - 2016); One Final (2014); One no. 1 qualifier (2013)

Last Event Recap (Topeka): Qualified seventh; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Scott Palmer in the first round, lost to Leah Pritchett in the quarter-finals)

2016 New England Nationals Recap: Qualified sixth; Semi-finalist (Defeated Terry McMillen in the first round and Todd Paton in the quarter-finals, lost to Steve Torrence in the semi-finals)

Quotable: “Even thought we've been close, Epping is one of the tracks on the circuit where I haven’t won at. We're looking at checking that one of that list.  It’s a great facility and the place has a ton of history. They pack them in there like nobody’s business. I don’t get a chance to get up close to Boston very often and it’s always nice to see other parts of the country."

Career Stats: 442 starts, 601 round wins (ninth 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); 12 round wins; fifth in the standings

Shawn Langdon

Langdon plans to continue to gain on the top ten in the standings

Epping Highlights: One final (2013)

Last Event Recap (Topeka): Qualified sixth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Troy Coughlin Jr. in the first round, lost to Antron Brown in the quarter-finals)

2016 New England Nationals (w/ DSR): Qualified seventh; Quarter-final finish (Defeated J.R. Todd in the first round, lost to Antron Brown in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: “Epping is a great race track. The fans were really excited when we came back and they always have a great turnout. It is a beautiful area with a lot of exciting things to do. The Global Electronic Technology team is focused on getting this four-race swing started off right. It is critical to start strong and then get on a roll. That is our plan and we hope to go rounds on Sunday."

Troy Coughlin

Coughlin Jr. is excited for first four-race swing

Noteworthy: Ninth career pro event; a candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former two-time Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former six-time NHRA champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.); part of Coughlin family with 113 career wins

Last Event Recap (Topeka): Qualified 11th; First round loss (Lost to Shawn Langdon in the first round)

Quotable: “The goal is to make one great lap four times on Sunday. With focus, we know we can do that with the SealMaster Toyota. The team is coming together great each race." 

2017 Season Stats: Eight starts; Three round wins; ninth 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

JR Todd

Todd focused on starting string of straight races with strong run in Epping

Last Event Recap (Topeka): Qualified ninth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Brian Stewart in the first round, lost to Matt Hagan in the quarter-finals)

2016 New England Nationals Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified eighth; First round loss (Lost to Shawn Langdon in the first round)

Quotable: “I am looking forward to getting back on track this weekend. I feel like our DHL Toyota Camry is headed in the right direction and I am excited for the four in a row coming up. If the weather cooperates, we should see some big numbers again this weekend in Epping.” 

Career Stats: 156 starts, 155 round wins, 9 wins, 19 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: Eight starts, One final (Charlotte); Six round wins)

2017 Season Stats: Eight starts; One final (Charlotte-I); six round wins; eighth in the point 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

Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria Epping pre-race notes

Epping Highlights: One final (2014)

Last Event Recap (Houston): Qualified ninth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Tim Wilkerson in the first round, lost to Courtney Force in the quarter-finals)

2016 New England Nationals Recap: Qualified 10th; First round loss (Lost to Del Worsham in the first round)

Career Stats: 121 starts; 84 round wins; Four wins; Seven finals, Four no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: Five starts; Two round wins; 14th in the point standings

This morning, SealMaster Toyota driver Troy Coughlin Jr. did an Epping event preview on WCYY-FM 94.3. Check it out!


  

 

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On the Run with Ashley

70

Mello Yello Championship Points

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Steve Torrence (954)
2. Leah Pritchett (943)
3. Antron Brown (934)
4. Tony Schumacher (801)
5. Doug Kalitta (678) 
6. Brittany Force (649)
7. Clay Millican (639)
8. Troy Coughlin Jr. (443)
9. Scott Palmer (432)
10. Terry McMillen (424)
11. Shawn Langdon (323)
 

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (1044)
2. Matt Hagan (881)
3. Jack Beckman (748)
4. Robert Hight (707)
5. Courtney Force (704)
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (663)
7. John Force (641)
8. Tim Wilkerson (490)
9. J.R. Todd (476)
10. Cruz Pedregon (397)
14. Alexis DeJoria (327)

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