Defending event champion DeJoria, Team Kalitta return to historic U.S. Nationals – Team Kalitta Pre-Race Report – Indianapolis



INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 1, 2015) – Through only four seasons as a NHRA professional driver, Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, has had an outstanding start to her career but one of the biggest moments was last seasons running of the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

She qualified 7th for the 60th running of the legendary event. Rain effected the timing of the race, but not Tommy DeLago’s control of the set-up. DeJoria defeated Cruz Pedregon, Blake Alexander and Courtney Force running better that 4.1-seconds each time. However, both driver and crew chief saved their best effort for last. Running 16-time Funny Car Champion John Force in the final, DeJoria turned on a .037 light to earn the advantage at the tree and then ran a 4.038 second pass, her best of the day, to achieve her third career victory.

This is a very big week,” said DeJoria. “Not only because we are the defending event champion, but because everything else that this weekend entails. I have a great team and we are going to go out there and give it our best shot.”

DeJoria returns to Indianapolis Raceway Park in the tenth position in the points standings with a 73-point advantage over Courtney Force. She will guarantee her second consecutive top ten points finish by returning to the final round.

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, has his own history in Indianapolis.

In a career that runs multiple decades, one of the best weekends was the 2005 U.S. Nationals weekend. Worsham earned the victory in the speciality non-points event, Skoal Showdown, and then earned his first U.S. Nationals victory to earn the double-up bonus. He followed that with a final round appearance during his Top Fuel championship season in 2011.

Worsham comes into Indianapolis as the only Kalitta Motorsports driver to hold a clinched spot in the Countdown for the Championship. Worsham currently sits fifth in the standings.

I am excited to get back to Indianapolis,said Worsham. It is great to go into the race knowing we can just concentrate on winning the event and not about trying to secure our spot in the championship hunt.

Last season, Worsham qualified among the top five drivers and earned a round win.

Doug Kalitta, driver of DEWALT Made in the USA with global materials Top Fuel Dragster, returns to the U.S. Nationals striving for his first win. Kalitta started from the top spot on two occasions in 2000 and 2004. The 2004 no.1 lead to Kalittas first Indianapolis final round, a record he repeated in 2008, but Kalitta has yet to be able to add a U.S. Nationals Wally to his 37 career wins.

Earlier this season, Kalitta checked off another event, the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in nearby Norwalk, Ohio, off the list for the first time after several attempts and plans on following that blueprint coming into this historic weekend.

Indianapolis is a historic event that we have been close at many times,said Kalitta. I am looking forward to racing this weekend and hopefully driving this very cool DEWALT scheme to the victory.

Prior to the special patriotic DEWALT Made in the USA with global materials Top Fuel dragster making its on track debut, Kalitta and DEWALT will unveil a special motorcycle in the Kalitta Motorsports hospitality area at 4pmEST. This motorcycle will be auctioned off at the Barrett Jackson Auction to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. Media is welcome to attend this unveiling.

Kalitta will also participate in the Traxxas Shootout this weekend. He is one of just three drivers to earn his way into the field in all four seasons. Last season, Kalitta defeated Brittany Force in the first round of the race for $100,000.

Kalitta is also looking to lock his 18th consecutive top ten points finish, which is best among the Top Fuel class. He will clinch that spot by qualifying for the U.S. Nationals.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster, can also clinch his second consecutive top ten points finish early on in the U.S. Nationals. Todd clinches with a first round victory.

The 2006 AAA Road to the Future winner will also experience the Traxxas Shootout for the first time in his career, and his first non-points bonus style event since the 2007 Technicoat Shootout in Las Vegas. NHRA named Todd to the final berth late Monday due to his victory two races ago in Seattle.

Indy is our biggest race of the year and draws in tons of fans including a lot of my family and friends since this is my home race,said Todd. There is a lot on the line this weekend with points and a half and the $100,000 to win Traxxas Shootout. I think my Optima Batteries guys and Connie Kalitta are up to the challenge.

Todd is competing in his fourth consecutive U.S. Nationals; a run that includes a holeshot win over Steve Torrence.

Long-time fans will also recognize the return of Optima Batteries scheme on Todds machine this weekend. Optima Batteries will be the primary sponsor for Todd in three of the last seven events on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Fans can meet Team Kalitta drivers throughout the weekend. Our drivers will be signing autographs at the Toyota, SealMaster and Traxxas displays.

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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 Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster while Connies 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 Optima Batteries 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.