CHARLOTTE (April 20, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports’ preview the 4-Wide Nationals at the zMax Dragway in Charlotte. This is the fifth race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.
Last fall’s Charlotte victor, Worsham looks for 4-Wide crown
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, turns to Charlotte after being a part of the first all-Team Kalitta Funny Car final at the last event in Las Vegas. However, this time he wants to be the driver to cross the finish line as the winner. Charlotte, one of Worsham’s best tracks, is a perfect place to capture the first win of the season.
Worsham is the only driver in zMax Dragway history to own a Top Fuel and Funny Car win, each occurring in his championship seasons. 2011’s 4-Wide Nationals was just the third race in the format, and Worsham’s first in the dragster. However, Worsham proved to be the class of the field defeating Larry Dixon, Spencer Massey and Shawn Langdon in the final.
Last season saw Worsham deliver another first for Connie Kalitta and Kalitta Motorsports: a Charlotte win. He beat Dave Richards, Matt Hagan, John Force and Tommy Johnson Jr. to claim his first win of the 2015 season. That win gave Worsham a points lead that he would not relinquish on his run to the championship.
A finalist in six of the last ten races, Worsham is coming to Charlotte off of his final round appearance in Las Vegas. He advanced back into the top five in the point standings and looks to move from the second finishing position to the winner’s circle.
“We are happy with our performance and what we learned testing with this DHL Toyota Camry,” said Worsham. “The 4-Wide Nationals definitely poses a different challenge but I am excited to get to Charlotte and put on a great show for the fans.”
Todd plans to turn Charlotte success into a win
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, has experienced much success at zMax Dragway since joining Kalitta Motorsports. In four events at zMax Dragway, Todd has scored two final round appearances and two no.1 qualifiers. His 4-Wide Nationals qualifying average sits at an incredible 1.5.
Last season, weather eliminated the first day of 4-Wide qualifying, but Todd was ready for Saturday laying down a track record 3.713-second pass that has stood as the track best for over one year. He followed that up by making a big move in the first Countdown event: the Carolina Nationals. Todd defeated Shawn Langdon, Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett to advance to his second final round appearance of the season.
Todd is also just two seasons removed from a top two qualifying effort and a close final round in his first complete event for Kalitta Motorsports. Concerning his performance, Todd is on an upswing. Comparing the 2015 season to this season, Todd is four places higher in the point standings and owns two more round wins.
“We definitely have had a lot of success in Charlotte,” said Todd. “I am looking forward to this event and hopefully finally make it to the finish line first.”
Todd also will welcome NASCAR stars Rico Abreu, Matt Crafton, Cameron Hayley and Ben Rhodes from ThorSport Racing. ThorSport Racing and SealMaster are sister companies in the ThorWorks family of brands. Todd and the ThorSport team will join together to participate in the SealMaster Track Walk.
Kalitta desires first zMax trophy
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, continues to be on a hot streak to start the season. The only Top Fuel driver to hold a top three placement in the point standings after every race this season, Kalitta earned another round win in Las Vegas.
Kalitta is looking for his first win at zMax Dragway, which is just one of three tracks that he has yet to claim victory (Epping, Indianapolis). He has been close several times including scoring runner-up finishes in both Charlotte events in 2010 and being a part of the 2014 4-Wide final with his teammate J.R. Todd.
Kalitta’s performance in 2016 has been among the best in the class. He has recorded top speed in three of the first four events and has recorded top two starting positions in three races. The consistency has given Kalitta confidence heading into the Charlotte race weekend.
“After a couple weeks off, I am excited to get back to the race track,” said Kalitta. “My entire Mac Tools team is refreshed and ready for the 4-Wide Nationals. We plan on continuing the hot start we have been on and look forward to hopefully scoring our first win of the year.”
Las Vegas winner DeJoria plans on continuing hot streak
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, was simply perfect throughout the Las Vegas weekend. At the home track for Patrón Spirits company, DeJoria, crew chief Tommy DeLago and the entire team scored on eight consecutive passes ending with the historic race with her teammate Del Worsham and her first win since the 2014 U.S. Nationals.
DeJoria plans on continuing that run this weekend in Charlotte. Her most recent Charlotte event was a good one as she upset Tim Wilkerson in the first round and drove to a semi-final finish and a three place gain in the point 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 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. 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, 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.