LAS VEGAS (April 3, 2016) – A historic day for Kalitta Motorsports. For the first time in our history, both Del Worsham and Alexis DeJoria reached the Funny Car final round ensuring our first victory of the season. DeJoria defeated Worsham in a close 3.968 to a 3.986 contest.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, earned her first victory since 2014. The Tommy DeLago-tuned Camry was outstanding throughout qualifying. Every pass down the race track on Friday and Saturday was consistent. Her best gave her the sixth starting spot on Sunday and a tough round one draw against Tommy Johnson Jr. The driver was strong and the car was even stronger delivering her a round one victory. Next up, Robert Hight. DeJoria was ready. She beat Hight off of the tree and that was the difference, earning her first holeshot round win of the season.
The semi-final pairing gave DeJoria a shot against the NHRA legend John Force. DeJoria’s Camry was stout. Tommy DeLago kept his foot on the pedal and had DeJoria out front by the 60 foot mark. That lead she took all the way to the stripe giving Kalitta Motorsports their first ever complete Funny Car final, and first all-Team Kalitta final since 2006 in Top Fuel.
Worsham and DeJoria came up excited to race each other, but focused. They were almost identical off of the starting line and DeJoria had just enough to defeat her teammate and mentor, Worsham.
DeJoria leaves Las Vegas gaining one spot in the standings to eighth.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, continued his stout early season efforts. Like his teammate DeJoria, the Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante-tuned Camry was consistent in qualifying. Each run was in the top five of the class, setting the team up strong for Sunday.
First up, John Hale. Hale, who reset his career-best this weekend, proved to be a tough competitor. Worsham and Hale raced one of the closest races of the first round, with Worsham earning a close 4.04 to 4.08 decision. Next, Worsham was forced to face his dad for the second time in three races. This week the Chuck Worsham tuned machined was driven by James Campbell. Campbell had a consistent car, but Worsham was better on the tree and better at the finish line with another great pass.
His friend, Chad Head, was the foe in semi-finals. Worsham and Head were close at the tree, but the DHL Camry had toed ahead the finish line, setting up the historic race with DeJoria.
“Great weekend for Team Kalitta,” said Worsham. “I am excited for Alexis. This is what we have been working for many seasons. I wanted to be the one with the Wally, but if I cannot win, I would want it to be her. Great, great day for Kalitta Motorsports.”
Worsham moved back into the top four in the standings with his second final round effort of the season and sixth of the last ten events.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, had, by their own words, a rough couple of days in qualifying. Three of four runs saw part failures or tire smoke, however, the one that went from the starting line to the finish line was good, ensuring a top ten starting position.
The draw was Tony Schumacher. In what was dubbed as NHRA’s Marquee Matchup, Todd beat Schumacher off the line and led all the way to the finish line. That round win made it the third time in the first four races that Todd has advanced out of the first round.
Next up, the upset minded Steve Chrisman, who took out no.1 qualifier Steve Torrence in round one. Todd was strong with his throttle foot and had Chrisman early and he was able to take that to the semi-finals despite a large boom at the finish line.
Todd gave up lane choice in the semi-final to Troy Buff. He was on his game on the tree for the third consecutive round, but the SealMaster dragster fell to tire smoke almost immediately giving the round to Buff.
“Not the finish we wanted with the SealMaster team,” said Todd. “However, I am proud of how hard the entire team worked today to make these tight turnarounds. We are continuing to learn, and I look forward to testing tomorrow to continue that cycle.”
Todd gains spots in the standings for the second consecutive weekend. He sits sixth after four events.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, had a hot rod throughout qualifying. Jim Oberhofer, Troy Fasching and the entire Mac Tools team were on their game posting four very quick passes that ranked among the top three in all four rounds. Their best, a 3.732 second lap, was ran in the evening session on Friday and was just four hundredths from the top spot. Kalitta’s 327.19 did rank as the top speed of the weekend, however, and his consistency was rewarded with a second place starting position.
Top Fuel proved to be dealing with a tricky track for the second consecutive NHRA event. Several drivers before Kalitta had tire smoke and upsets were becoming the norm. However, Kalitta would not be succumbed to the pressure around. He beat his opponent, Steve Faria, off the line and led wire-to-wire to pick up his sixth round win of the season.
His second round opponent was Dave Connolly. The Mac Tools was neck-and-neck with the Connolly machine until tire smoke ended Kalitta’s run in the second round.
“After qualifying, we were hoping for more,” said Kalitta. “However, I could not be more proud of the efforts of my Mac Tools team and this entire Kalitta Motorsports team. Everyone has ran strong this weekend and we look forward to the challenge of the 4-Wide Nationals coming up.”
Doug Kalitta strengthens his hold on the top three in points leaving Las Vegas.
Through four events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns one win, four final round appearances and one no.1 qualifier. NHRA has two weeks off and then they turn to one of the most interesting races on the NHRA circuit, the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 6 Qualifier (3.947 sec., 319.14 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated Johnson Jr. – 4.006 sec., 313.00 mph to 4.073 sec., 308.85 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated Hight – 4.005 sec., 315.86 mph to 4.004 sec., 320.20 mph (Holeshot win – DeJoria reaction time .073, Hight reaction time .076)
E3: DeJoria defeated J. Force – 4.012 sec., 316.97 mph to 4.053 sec., 316.97 mph
Final: DeJoria defeated Worsham – 3.968 sec., 315.49 mph to 3.988 sec., 323.58 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 5 Qualifier (3.947 sec., 323.35 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Hale – 4.047 sec., 316.38 mph to 4.084 sec., 322.81 mph
E2: Worsham defeated Campbell – 4.056 sec., 314.53 mph to 4.266 sec., 262.90 mph
E3: Worsham defeated Head – 4.027 sec., 318.39 mph to 4.036 sec., 315.05 mph
Final: Worsham defeated by DeJoria – 3.988 sec., 323.58 mph to 3.968 sec., 315.49 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 9 Qualifier (3.809 sec., 318.32 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Schumacher – 3.933 sec., 283.13 mph to 4.034 sec., 254.66 mph
E2: Todd defeated Chrisman – 4.045 sec., 257.33 mph to 4.918 sec., 155.72 mph
E3: Todd defeated by Buff – 9.260 sec., 87.02 mph to 3.910 sec., 310.55
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 2 Qualifier (3.732 sec., 327.19 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Faria – 4.289 sec., 260.61 mph to 10.782 sec., 80.13 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated by Connolly – 4.338 sec., 223.58 mph to 3.843 sec., 315.86 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Brittany Force (307)
2. Antron Brown (269)
3. Doug Kalitta (267)
4. Steve Torrence (249)
5. Clay Millican (242)
6. J.R. Todd (229)
7. Dave Connolly (217)
8. Terry McMillen (209)
9. Tony Schumacher (190)
10. Leah Pritchett (188)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Robert Hight (341)
2. John Force (294)
3. Ron Capps (289)
4. Del Worsham (283)
5. Jack Beckman (271)
6. Courtney Force (265)
7. Chad Head (236)
8. Alexis DeJoria (233)
9. Tim Wilkerson (221)
10. Matt Hagan (150)
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, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:
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