BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 18, 2015) – Last season, Kalitta Motorsports reset track records on their way to a final round appearance in Top Fuel and a semi-final performance in Funny Car. This season, Team Kalitta looks to turn those track records into victories and clinched spots in the Countdown for the Championship
Doug Kalitta, driver of Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, is the owner of the Top Fuel record at Brainerd International Raceway. Last season, Kalitta qualified second and defeated Spencer Massey in the second round with a 3.722 second run to reset the record. Kalitta’s stellar driving job earned the Mac Tools team another final round appearance with a holeshot win over Tony Schumacher, before crazy conditions and exciting racing did not go Kalitta’s way against Morgan Lucas.
That run earned Kalitta his fourth final round appearance in Brainerd, which includes two wins (2003 and 2005). Kalitta owns three no.1 qualifiers at the Minnesota track, most recently in 2010.
“The Mac Tools team had a rough Western Swing, and I am really excited to go to a race where we had so much success last season,” said Kalitta.
Kalitta is one of three Team Kalitta drivers who can clinch their spot in the Countdown for the Championship in Brainerd. Drivers must rank 208 points ahead of 11th position to clinch their position. Kalitta, who is fifth in the standings, is 212 points to the good. If Kalitta clinches this weekend, it will guarantee his 18th consecutive top ten points finish. That streak is the best among active Top Fuel drivers.
Sitting just one spot behind Kalitta in the point standings is his teammate, J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster. Todd had a big weekend in Seattle earning his eighth career event win. He defeated Clay Millican and Terry McMillen in the first two rounds, before taking out former champions Tony Schumacher and Shawn Langdon to move from ninth to sixth in the point standings.
Sixth is the highest Todd has ranked in the point standings since end of last season where he was the championship runner-up. Todd can clinch his second consecutive top ten points position if he can gain 44 points on 11th throughout the weekend. If Todd clinches, it would guarantee his fourth career top ten championship effort.
Todd comes into Brainerd with more momentum than the previous season. His 16 round wins are two more than he earned prior to the Countdown last year, and eight of those round wins have come in the past four races. He also led the Top Fuel class with seven round wins on the Western Swing.
“The Red Line Oil team is really looking to carry our momentum into Brainerd,” said Todd. “We really would like to clinch our spot in the Countdown and be able to go into Indy and concentrate on the win.”
This is the ninth of ten events that Todd will campaign the Red Line Oil colors. Red Line Oil, who earned their first win as a primary sponsor in Seattle with Todd, will return to the machine in Dallas.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, is also coming off a record-setting effort last season in Brainerd.
In a weekend effort that Tommy DeLago labeled as testing, DeJoria was quick. In a first round match-up with Courtney Force, DeJoria was low for the session with a 4.010 second run. However, DeJoria and DeLago were not done there. In the quarter-finals against Matt Hagan, DeLago tuned DeJoria to the first 3 second run in the history of Brainerd International Raceway. The 3.998 elapsed time would not be beat throughout the rest of the weekend to hold as the track record.
Last season’s round wins were the first for DeJoria at Brainerd International Raceway, and she plans on earning a few more this weekend. Currently tied for the ninth position in the standings, DeJoria has a 74-point lead over Courtney Force. DeJoria helped herself throughout the Western Swing as she defeated C. Force twice in the first round and earned three round wins overall.
This is also the last weekend to secure a spot in the Traxxas Shootout. The Funny Car class has one position available for a first-time winner in the 2015 season.
DeJoria’s main competition to secure the Traxxas Shootout spot may be her teammate, Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Worsham advanced to his third final round of the season at our last race in Seattle. The DHL Camry was consistent throughout qualifying earning the second position. Worsham defeated John Hale, Tim Wilkerson and John Force to achieve his 57th career final round appearance.
Coming into Brainerd in 2014, Worsham had just 13 round wins, and he ended with 24 for the season. This season, the DHL team is much improved. The three round wins in Seattle gave Worsham 21 for the season.
Worsham is the only Funny Car driver that can clinch the last spot in the Traxxas Shootout in two different ways. His first victory of the season would work, but Worsham could also clinch by his points’ placement. If there is not a new first-time winner this season, Worsham’s fifth position in points would earn him the last spot. This would be only the second time in Traxxas Shooutout history that the seventh driver was secured by points’ position. The other driver who has earned a spot based on his consistency would be Worsham’s teammate, Doug Kalitta.
Worsham is searching for his first Brainerd win, but he does have fond memories of the Minnesota track. He earned his first career no.1 qualifier at this race back in 1991. Last season, Worsham earned another top ten starting position and round win over Tony Pedregon.
Worsham is the final Kalitta Motorsports driver who has a chance to guarantee his spot in the Countdown for the Championship. Worsham currently holds 248 points over the 11th position in the Funny Car standings.
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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 five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Del Worsham drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. 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, by Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Optima Batteries, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.