J.R. Todd Leads Team Kalitta at U.S. Nationals with Runner-Up Finish; Kalitta Reaches Semifinals

Indy 2023 JR Todd

J.R. Todd, DHL Funny Car

Qualifying: J.R. Todd was the No. 10 qualifier at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals. Todd’s best run, a 3.964-second effort at 324.12 mph, came during the opening qualifying round Friday evening.

Eliminations: Todd defeated Blake Alexander, Bob Tasca and Cruz Pedregon to advance to the final round. After the semifinal win, the brake pressure sensor on the master cylinder failed, and Todd had no brakes. With Top Fuel cars at the top end of the race track in front of him, he veered right to avoid them and ended up almost in the grass. The car came back to the pit on a roll back and was unloaded to be repaired for the finals. All three Kalitta Motorsports teams assisted with the repairs and servicing the car for the final. Unfortunately, it was not to be in the final round, and Ron Capps won the U.S. Nationals.

Unofficial Point Standings: Todd jumps three spots and leaves Indianapolis in fifth place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails fourth-place Bob Tasca by 55 points and leads sixth-place Alexis Dejoria by four points prior to the points reset for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs.

Todd on Indianapolis: “It was definitely dramatic for sure after the semis. Once you get to the semifinals, you start thinking it’s gonna be your day especially after what we had to go through there. We had a really good car the first two rounds, and I just hate we dropped a hole there in the final.

“In the semis, I pulled the chute, went to grab the brake and there was nothing there. It was either hit the Top Fuel cars in front of me or hard right turn into the grass, and that’s what I did. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew I had no brakes. It turned out it ripped the pressure sensor off the master cylinder so we had absolutely no brakes – that’s a helpless feeling. I’m glad it was something minor like that so we were able to get it fixed up there for the final.

“All in all, it was a good day. We made up some ground in points like we wanted to going into the Countdown – that’s the ultimate goal, but losing in the final round at Indy sucks. That stings. These opportunities don’t come around that often. We’ve been here before, but when you’re that close, you just want it.

“I always say you want to be top five going into Countdown, and you can make that up in a race. I feel like we have a car capable of contending with these guys. We just have to do our job in qualifying and work on getting a little quicker, and I think we’ll be in good shape. We just have to keep digging. These guys don’t quit – they busted their ass all weekend; I just hate it for them and for everyone that makes it possible like DHL, Revchem, SealMaster and Toyota that we came up a little short in the final.”

Indy 2023 Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Qualifying: Doug Kalitta was the No. 4 qualifier at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals – it was his ninth top-four qualifying effort of the season. During the Friday evening qualifying session, Kalitta reached the finish line in 3.717 seconds at 328.54 mph.

Eliminations: Kalitta defeated Spencer Massey and Mike Salinas before losing to Steve Torrence in the semifinals. Kalitta smoked the tires almost immediately while Torrence did the same at about half track, but Torrence was too far ahead for Kalitta to have caught him.

Unofficial Point Standings: Kalitta moves up two spots and leaves Indianapolis in sixth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails fifth-place Brittany Force by 76 points and leads seventh-place Mike Salinas by 12 points prior to the points reset for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs.

Kalitta on Indianapolis: “We smoked the tires (in the semifinal) and you wonder if you should get back on it, but he (Torrence) left and was going. He didn’t start hazing them until about half track. We probably couldn’t have caught him – that’s what (co-crew chiefs Alan Johnson and Brian Husen) Alan and Brian were saying. It’s tricky out there today. We obviously tried to get it down there, but we got to the semis at Indy for Mac Tools, Revchem and SealMaster. Hopefully that gets us into the middle of the pack for the Countdown. As the track cools off, I think our setup is probably better for the cooler tracks so I’m looking forward to the Countdown because I definitely think we definitely have a shot at running for the title with this thing. Moving up to sixth in points is good because every position counts right now – we’ll see what happens.”

Indy 2023 Shawn Langdon

Shawn Langdon, Kalitta Air Careers Top Fuel Dragster

Qualifying: Shawn Langdon was the No. 9 qualifier at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals; Langdon made his best qualifying attempt in the opening session Friday evening when he made a 3.750-second run at 321.73 mph.

Eliminations: Langdon defeated Josh Hart in the first round and faced No. 1 qualifier Steve Torrence in the second round. Langdon was first off the starting line; his Kalitta Air Careers dragster smoked the tires, but Torrence’s car had problems. Langdon pedaled and chased Torrence down but ran out of time and lost by .1533 seconds.

Unofficial Point Standings: Langdon leaves Indianapolis and finishes the regular season in 11th place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails 10th-place Josh Hart by 35 and leads 12th-place Tony Schumacher by 131 points prior to the points reset for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs.

Langdon on Indianapolis: “It was pretty intense and kinda neat to pedal the car and have it hook back up and almost tracking down Torrence. All in all, it’s a bummer because we really wanted to do better today. We made some good runs this weekend, but we still have a long way to go. We were trying to get into the top 10, but fortunately, we have perfect attendance so we get into the Countdown and are able to race for the championship even though we didn’t finish the regular season in the top 10. That saves our season, and we have a shot at winning a championship.

“The Kalitta Air Careers crew has done a really good job; the crew chiefs have done a great job tuning and they all deserve to be in the winner’s circle. We’re going to take this week off and pick apart every aspect of the car and make sure everything’s good for Reading (Pa.) so we can try to get a win for our team and all of our partners that make it possible like Kalitta Air, Revchem, Toyota and Future Energy Solutions.”

Next Race: Team Kalitta will be back in action Sept. 15-17, 2023 at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals in Mohnton, Pa. For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com. For additional information on Kalitta Motorsports, please visitwww.teamkalitta.com.