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Kalitta Motorsports News

shawn Landon

The 2020 U.S. Nationals winner and DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster driver Shawn Langdon took some time recently to look back at his unique season and also look ahead to the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Can you talk about the highlights of 2020 season?
Shawn Langdon – “For me winning the U.S. National this year was more gratifying for me based off of the circumstances and for my team. It is awesome to win the U.S. Nationals and I have won it before but it was different this year. In 2017 I raced with Connie (Kalitta) but the one regret that I had was leaving that team and not being able to win with Connie. We had a couple runners-up. I looked back on that even during the two seasons in Funny Car thinking I would love to have the chance to race with Connie again because I would love to be able to share a winner’s circle with him. I was proud to be in the winner’s circle with Connie at Indy and I was really more proud for my team, my guys. They work so hard and dealing with all the stuff that went on this year.” 

After the long break and the return to Top Fuel when did you start feeling comfortable back in the dragster?
SL - “The first couple of runs in testing I had to get re-acclimated but by Pomona I was really comfortable again. You get used to the speed and how to steer it pretty quickly. There were some things I had to focus on coming back since driving the Funny Car was so different. Once I got out of testing and got to Pomona I felt fine.  Then we had a couple months off from the Top Fuel car but I was out racing all the time during the time we had off at bracket races to keep myself sharp. The first couple of races in Indy were kind of like testing again. Once again after a couple runs you got used to the speed and started feeling normal.”

What was the biggest surprise of 2020 looking back at the whole season?
SL - “I think a lot of the challenges that presented themselves through the pandemic. You saw people losing sponsors and teams shutting down. The whole sport was making adjustments to keep us racing from changing the payout to shortening races. It was tough for everybody. Fortunately we work for a great man, Connie Kalitta, and he kept everybody employed. We have great sponsors and partners that supported us. They stuck with us so we were able to keep racing. I don’t know if there were any major surprises other than there were just a lot of challenges that we had to work around.”

What will be your 2-3 main areas of focus in this longer than usual off-season?
SL - “I think a little bit of away time is a good thing right now for me personally. It was a tough year. I was very glad that we got back out there racing. I think a little bit of down time is a good thing. It will give everyone some time to regroup and refocus to get everything right so we can hopefully get back to some kind of normal for 2021. That would be a good thing. In the past we would have two and a half months off but it really isn’t a solid two and a half months. You have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s so it really isn’t much of an off season at all. I think right now having the extra couple of months off we are able to allow the teams to spend more time with their families as well as allow the teams to get better organized for the beginning of the year. It is always a mad thrash the last couple of weeks leading up to the start of the season.”  

Any holiday or travel plans?
SL - “I am getting motors put in different cars. I am getting cars rewired. I am swapping motors from cars to cars. I have a lot of things to keep me busy on bracket racing side of things. I am getting my nephew a new junior dragster. I am going to help get that race car ready for him. I want to get ready for some of the bracket races on the west coast at the start of the year. I will be spending some time in Indy and some time in California. I won’t not be busy I will promise you that.”

What are 2-3 goals you have set for yourself for 2021 season?
SL - “It is the standard goal I have every year. I just want to go out there and compete. I want to compete for a championship. I want to win races. That is my goal every year. I have team goals. I want to get my team in the winner’s circle and get this DHL team a championship.”

JR Todd and KMS on Mobile 1

Kalitta Motorsports will be receiving some international media coverage thanks to our inclusion in Mobil 1 The Grid this weekend.  We will be the lead-off feature on the show which will air at 10:00 a.m. ET tomorrow, November 28, on CBS Sports Network (CBSSN). Mobil 1 The Grid is an internationally broadcast motorsports show which enters its 10th season the year, broadcasting news, views and the very best of the action from the world of Formula 1, NASCAR, NHRA, Indy Car & more. The program runs from February to November each year.
Recently they spent a day at our shop in Michigan filming a number of segments with all our drivers, Connie Kalitta and Chad Head. They have also uploaded the segment to the show’s YouTube channel and you can watch here:
This is great promotion for our team and all our sponsors. There will be two or three additional segments on the show this season as well as social media promotion on Mobil 1 The Grid’s social media channels. We will also be sharing this content on our social media channels as well.
Again, thank you for your continued support of Kalitta Motorsports.


As the NHRA world heads into the Thanksgiving holiday Kalitta Motorsports would like to thank all our media members for their support. We will continue to engage with you and be available throughout the off-season. To that point J.R. Todd, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, took a look back at a trying 2020 NHRA season but one the 2018 Funny Car champion is happy was completed. He also looks ahead to the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and a promising chase for another Funny Car championship.

Can you talk about the highlights of 2020 season?

J.R. Todd - “It is hard to be that upset with the way our season went when in March we weren’t even sure if we were going to get to race any more this year. Overall I was glad we were able to get on track this year and get in the amount of races that we did. We were able to race in front of a select group of fans at some events. At the same time you want to go out there and perform at a high level and be in contention to win a championship. We started off in a hole after those first two races before the pandemic. We made up some ground during the four races in Indy and then we just fell off again. We didn’t live up to our own expectations. At the end of the day I am just glad (team owner) Connie (Kalitta) was able to keep our team going and let us go race.”

Can you take anything from the 2020 season that made you a better driver?

JRT - “I wouldn’t say I did anything different this year but the downside of not racing definitely tested everybody. You had to be patient and mentally strong during the down time. Once we got going it was more about knocking the rust off and getting back in the groove of things. I am hoping that once 2021 gets started we can go test once or twice before the first race in March. Then we can be even more prepared as a driver and team to get into a rhythm. This season definitely made me appreciate running more races and not complain about certain things.”

What will be your 2-3 main areas of focus in this longer than usual off-season?

JRT - “That is something I have already talked about with my trainers at PitFit. With this much time off there is really no excuse for me to not be in better shape when you go to that first event. My goal is to go to the gym as much as possible to work on getting better physically and mentally.”

Can you talk about the team camaraderie this season?

JRT - “The team is like your family out there. You see those guys more than a lot of people most of the season. We are together most of the time. With the off time in the middle of the season is was definitely weird not seeing those guys. I enjoy spending time with the Yella Fellas and they all get along with each other. They play hard but they work hard so it is a fun group to be around. They have my back at the end of the day and that is all I can ask for.”

What are your holiday or off-season travel plans?

JRT - “With this much time off of course I am going to try and go home for the holidays. Usually these past couple of years I have tried to go somewhere on vacation whether it is spending New Years in Florida or somewhere else fun. Hopefully I will get a couple quick trips during this off time but that also cuts into the work time at the gym so I will try and balance that out. I don’t think I could handle sitting in my house for four months straight again.”

What are 2-3 goals you have set for yourself for 2021 season?

JRT - “As a driver I want to be the best in the class so that means I want to work on my reaction times and getting more comfortable in the car. We are going to make some changes over the off-season to help get me more comfortable. Our overall goal is to contend for that Camping World Funny Car championship. The Schumacher cars have won every race going back to 2019 so we need to step up. They have set the bar high and I think we know what we need to do to chase them down. We want to work hard in testing and be a contender from the get go. Since I made the switch to Funny Car it seems like we have been slow starters early in the year and we just need to work on that. We want to get back in the winner’s circle sooner rather than later.”

YPSILANTI, MI (November 19, 2020) --- Kalitta Motorsports has added two premier level sponsors for the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season bringing on Ion Defense Technologies (IDT) and Outer Circle Motorsports wear, to the multi-time world championship organization. IDT will be recognized as the premier face covering sponsor and Outer Circle Motorsports wear will be the premier team apparel provider. Both companies will begin supplying Kalitta Motorsports immediately with products and apparel.
“Our goal is to continue to keep all our team members as safe as possible,” Kalitta Motorsports General Manager Chad Head said. “The addition of IDT and their superior face coverings is an outstanding solution during these unprecedented times with regards to keeping our teams healthy. Outer Circle has a long history of providing great looking apparel for motorsports teams and we are looking forward to wearing their gear in 2021.”
The team will begin immediately using Ion Defense Technologies (IDT) face coverings. IDT’s products are not only effective for today’s pandemic, but they are also designed to be effective against any mutations of the current virus as well as future strains of viruses and bacteria.  They have over 40 years of experience in performance-based fabrics and apparel with Electrical Engineers and PHDs in Biology. 
Outer Circle Motorsport wear is the original architect and pioneer in high performance apparel for the motorsports industry. With over 40 years of experience in groundbreaking technologies, Outer Circle's focus will be to continue to lead the way, in fabric and apparel performance advancements for this industry. Their current technical cornerstone, CF-1, a supple and conductive Carbon Fiber yarn that enhances their already technically advanced fabric and wears will be a driving force moving forward.
“We are looking forward to bringing our high quality and scientifically strong products to Kalitta Motorsports,” said Mark Holler, CEO/Co-Owner of IDT and CEO/Owner of Outer Circle. “We know they will put our Outer Circle Motorsports wear to the test and look great doing it. We are especially proud to be providing our IDT face coverings to the organization since we believe they are the best protection for the team members to keep them safe while they are working on these 11,000 horsepower race cars.”
The team will continue preparing for the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series from their Ypsilanti, Michigan based shop with an eye on pre-season testing after the first of the year. The first race of the 2021 season will be the historic NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, March 12-24, 2021.

Kalitta Merchandise


Funny Car Points

Unofficial NHRA Championship Standings

Funny Car

1 Matt Hagan 1020
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 915
3 Jack Beckman 848
4 Ron Capps 828
5 Bob Tasca III 679
6 J.R. Todd 663
7 Tim Wilkerson 615
8 Alexis DeJoria 605
9 Paul Lee 464
10 Cruz Pedregon 436



Top Fuel Points

Unofficial NHRA Championship Standings:

Top Fuel

1 Steve Torrence 1015
2 Doug Kalitta 822
3 Billy Torrence 793
4 Leah Pruett 754
5 Antron Brown 709
6 Shawn Langdon 595
7 Justin Ashley 594
8 Clay Millican 493
9 Tony Schumacher 464
10 Terry McMillen 436





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