BRAINERD, Minn. (August 23, 2015) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, advanced to the quarterfinals earlier today at the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.
Kalitta had a rough Friday qualifying effort, and sat outside of the top twelve heading into Saturday. However, Kalitta stepped up in a big way in what ended up as the final qualifying session. With impending weather, Jim Oberhofer was not shy with the tune-up. He sent Kalitta down the track with a 3.740 second run at nearly 320mph. That moved Kalitta all the way inside the top five and with a final ranking of third heading into Sunday. Kalitta’s first opponent would be Wayne Newby, who was making his first career start for Rapisarda Autosport.
Kalitta beat Newby off of the tree and sent his Mac Tools machine straight down the track, bettering his qualifying time with a 3.734 second pass to gain lane choice over Brittany Force. Kalitta had a stellar light and was ahead early against Force, but the Mac Tools suffered problems down the track to drop the round to her.
“Good to move on out of the first round, but the Mac Tools team was looking for more,” said Kalitta. “We will go into the test for Indy and look to solve these issues we have been having with the Mac Tools car.”
Kalitta sits 192 points ahead of 11th place Millican and just needs to qualify for the U.S. Nationals to earn his latest top ten finish.
J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster, added another bonus point to his tally in the first round. His 3.780 second pass was third best in the first session. The Red Line Oil team came close, but could not better that time in qualifying which eventually got pushed back to 10th. Todd’s first round pairing was former champion Antron Brown.
The last pair in a weather-plagued first round Top Fuel session Todd ended up on the wrong side of pair for the record books. Todd had a solid light and ran a career-best 3.703 second pass at 330.88 mph. Those times both rank among the top ten ever in NHRA history. However, Brown became the first driver to run in the 3.6 second bracket to defeat Todd. Todd’s run would have defeated any of the other qualified drivers in Brainerd.
“A great run for the Red Line Oil guys, but we just drew the wrong guy in the first round,” said Todd. “We have a solid set-up now, and I am looking forward to running strong in Indy.”
Todd retained his top ten position. Todd will earn his second consecutive top ten points finish with a first round victory in Indianapolis.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship. He has qualified for the Countdown in all three seasons as the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry.
Worsham was a part of history in multiple ways. His first round matchup with Matt Hagan was the first in Funny Car history that featured two drivers that ran under 4 seconds in qualifying. He reset his career best elapsed time and mph in qualifying when he ran a 3.981 seconds at 323.97 mph.
Worsham was the final pair in the Funny Car and the DHL team fell to early tire smoke, while Hagan ran the quickest elapsed time in history of NHRA.
“After such a great run in Seattle, the DHL Toyota Camry team was looking for more this weekend,” said Worsham. “We will move to the Indy test and try to continue to learn and get better for the Countdown.”
Worsham retained his fifth position in the point standings.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, was stout in qualifying. She reset both of her career records in the final qualifying opportunity on Saturday. Tommy DeLago tuned DeJoria to a 3.946 second pass at 321.88 to make her the fourth quickest driver and quickest woman in NHRA history.
DeJoria’s first opponent was Brian Stewart. Stewart, a local driver that campaigns a part-time NHRA schedule, was able to get around DeJoria after her Toyota Camry smoked the tires almost instantly. She drove hard trying to get back around a pedal-smoking Stewart, but the Toyota Camry never did fully get going again.
“We started off the weekend pretty good with our 3.946, which is my personal record and also in the big record books, which is good,” said DeJoria. “Unfortunately the round win that we really needed was first round and it was a wild ride. There was no glue down there. I was trying to keep it in the groove and pedal it. We smoked them at the hit, so it was difficult to rebound from something like that. Courtney went out and did it two cars in front of me, and we went out and got in trouble too. That thing just would not stay straight, and I ended up tagging the wall a little bit and that was the end of our day. Good thing is we are going to stay in the tenth position heading to Indy.”
DeJoria holds 75 points over Courtney Force for the final spot in the Countdown for the Championship heading into the U.S. Nationals, a race she won last season.
After 17 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won three events, advanced to eight final rounds and earned three no.1 qualifying positions. Kalitta Motorsports will make the drive back to Ypsilanti, Mich., prior to heading to Indianapolis to participate in the U.S. Nationals Open Test on Thursday.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 3 Qualifier (3.740 sec., 319.75 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Newby – 3.734 sec., 320.36 mph to 5.323 sec., 137.54 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated by B. Force – 3.917 sec., 281.42 mph to 3.757 sec., 318.17 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 10 Qualifier (3.780 sec., 325.22 mph)
E1: Todd defeated by Brown – 3.703 sec., 330.88 mph to 3.680 sec., 331.12 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 8 Qualifier (3.981 sec., 323.97 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated by Hagan – 5.663 sec., 142.69 mph to 3.879 sec., 329.58 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 3 Qualifier (3.946 sec., 321.88 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated by Stewart – 8.710 sec., 94.97 mph to 6.487 sec., 168.14 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Tony Schumacher (1348)
2. Antron Brown (1335)
3. Richie Crampton (1093)
4. Larry Dixon (1086)
5. Doug Kalitta (956)
6. Shawn Langdon (951)
7. Brittany Force (943)
8. J.R. Todd (929)
9. Steve Torrence (891)
10. Spencer Massey (888)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Jack Beckman (1279)
2. Matt Hagan (1229)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1178)
4. John Force (1084)
5. Del Worsham (1037)
6. Ron Capps (1020)
7. Tim Wilkerson (962)
8. Robert Hight (915)
9. Cruz Pedregon (884)
10. Alexis DeJoria (856)
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online –
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.