Kalitta Motorsports News
Doug Kalitta and Mac Tools Looking to Continue to Dominate Heading to Texas
The battle for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship is tightening up and Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools Top Fuel team are right in the middle of the fight. Over the past four NHRA national events Kalitta has had the best Top Fuel dragster on the series. The veteran driver has raced to three final rounds over those four races, collecting a historic win at the U.S. Nationals in the process. He also has a semifinal finish to his credit. That kind of consistency and race day success has Kalitta just 30 points out of the Top Fuel lead with three race remaining.
“We have had an awesome race car since Labor Day,” said Kalitta. “It was very consistent all season but lately it has really come around. I feel very confident driving it and the performance on race day has been great. We always expect to win with this Mac Tools dragster and there is no reason to think we can’t make a run for this Mello Yello championship.”
Last weekend the race was postponed to Monday due to inclement weather but Kalitta took advantage of a well prepared race track and raced to his 100th career final round. It was a close race with the points lead on the line. A millisecond of tire smoke slowed down the Mac Tools dragster and they will roll into Dallas in the No. 2 position in the point standing.
“We are running really well all day in Charlotte and we just smoked the tires in the final,” said Kalitta. “You want to be in a position to win races and we were right there. I am excited to get to Dallas in a couple days and get right back on the track.”
The Countdown shifts to the Texas Motorplex, the first stadium-style super-track built by Funny Car driver Billy Meyer in 1986. The all-concrete racing surface has led to some of the most historic runs in drag racing history. Kalitta was the No. 1 qualifier in 2004 and has raced to three final rounds in his career at the track. Most recently he picked up the Top Fuel win in 2013 over now teammate Shawn Langdon. Kalitta also collected a win over Cory McClenathan in 2002.
“We have won some races at the Texas Motorplex and it is a great race track. You get a great crowd there and the racing surface lets the crew chiefs really get aggressive. I think this Mac Tools dragster can make some really quick qualifying runs and be in good shape for race day,” added Kalitta.
Kalitta’s final round appearance earlier this week was the fourth of the season for the Mac Tools team. That finish extended his streak of racing to at least four final rounds in a season to six seasons in a row.
2018 NHRA FallNationals Highlights: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Antron Brown
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 10; RUNNER-UP; Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force; Lost to Steve Torrence
Quotable: Kalitta on heading to Texas Motorplex: “This is a great facility and we are looking forward to running really well there. This is one of the final three races so we have to stay at the top of our game. It will be a tough race but we are ready for the challenge.”
Career Stats: 510 events, 503 starts, 684 round wins, 46 wins, 100 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 7, WINNER; Beat Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence, Terry McMillen and Steve Torrence
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Jordan Vandergriff
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman; Beat Steve Torrent and Richie Crampton; Lost to Mike Salinas and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 8; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 4; Beat Richie Crampton and Lex Joon; Lost to Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed
Richmond: Qual. No. 5; Lost to Scott Palmer
Chicago: Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Reed, Pat Dakin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Topeka: Qual. No. 5; Beat Leah Pritchett; Lost to Antron Brown
Bristol: Qual. No. 1; Beat Cameron Ferre, Terry McMillen; Lost to Mike Salinas
Norwalk: Qual. No. 13; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Steve Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Terry McMillen
Denver: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Clay Millican
Sonoma: Qual. No. 5; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Antron Brown
Seattle: Qual. No. 8; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Mike Salinas
Brainerd: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Mike Salinas
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 8; WINNER; Beat Clay Millican, Brittany Force, Austin Prock and Billy Torrence
Reading: Qual. No. 3; RUNNER-UP; Beat Smax Smith, Mike Salinas, Austin Prock; Lost to Richie Crampton
St. Louis: Qual. No. 10; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Billy Torrence
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 10; RUNNER-UP; Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, Brittany Force; Lost to Steve Torrence
Crampton and DHL Vying for Second Countdown Win at FallNationals
Heading into the back half of the 2019 Countdown for the Mello Yello Top Fuel championship Richie Crampton and the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel team are looking to grab some end of season momentum. The team started the playoffs with a strong win in Reading, Pennsylvania over teammate Doug Kalitta but since that successful start a couple stumbling blocks have tripped up the young Australian. Back to back early exits, one at the hands of Kalitta, have Crampton eyeing the NHRA FallNationals and a potential make or break race.
“We are not out of the championship Countdown by any means but we do need to make a move at the Texas Motorplex,” said Crampton. “We had a tough first round against Doug in St. Louis and in Charlotte we just missed it in the first round. This DHL Kalitta Air dragster has been running really well in qualifying so I am not worried at all.”
Crampton will be looking for his second Top Fuel win at the famed drag strip just south of Dallas. In 2015 at the FallNationals Crampton won Top Fuel taking out Steve Torrence in the final round. On his way to that lone Texas Motorplex win he had to defeat Kalitta, Brittany Force and Antron Brown before getting to Torrence. That kind of victory gauntlet is what making competing in the Top Fuel category so appealing to Crampton.
“You look at the level of the Top Fuel teams in the Countdown this year and even previous years,” said Crampton. “This is one of the toughest eras in the sport’s history. If you get a win this year you will most likely have had to race easily three championship caliber teams. There are no easy round wins. You can’t take one single round off and I am eager for the challenge starting this weekend.”
Not since 2013 have three different Top Fuel racers and three different Funny Car racers won the first three races of the Countdown. That kind of championship competitiveness has opened the door for Crampton and the DHL team to still have a shot at winning the title. That mission will begin this Friday with two qualifying sessions including a run under the lights with optimal conditions.
“That Q2 run will be critical I think. It will be cooler weather and I could easily see the top half of the field being set on that run. The good news is that is when my DHL team steps up. Those conditions are perfect for (crew chief) Connie Kalitta to show his talent,” added Crampton.
2018 NHRA FallNationals Highlights: Qual. No. 16; Lost to Clay Millican
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 4; Lost to Austin Prock
Quotable: Crampton on heading to Texas Motorplex: “I own this race a few years ago and I would love to do it again. We need to go some rounds in this DHL Kalitta Air dragster. This is the last of three races and I honestly think is we can go some rounds at the Motorplex and a few people in front of us stumble we will be right in the middle of the Mello Yello championship battle over the final two races.”
Career Stats: 124 events, 123 starts, 103 round wins, 10 wins, 12 finals, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Terry McMillen
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 15; Lost to Terry McMillen
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 12; WINNER, Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, TJ Zizzo and Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6; Beat Scott Palmer, Cameron Ferre; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 13; Lost to Clay Millican
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 12; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Scott Palmer
Richmond: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Austin Prock
Chicago: Qual. No. 11; Beat Austin Prock; Lost to Steve Torrence
Topeka: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Billy Torrence
Bristol: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Terry McMillen
Norwalk: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Billy Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 2; Beat Audrey Worm, bye; Lost to Steve Torrence
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Beat Austin Prock; Lost to Steve Torrence
Sonoma: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Steve Torrence
Seattle: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Antron Brown
Brainerd: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Clay Millican
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 5; Lost to Austin Prock
Reading: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Dan Mercier, Antron Brown, Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta
St. Louis: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 4; Lost to Austin Prock
Global Electronic Technology Team and Langdon Focused on FallNationals Victory
Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry will be looking to the NHRA FallNationals this weekend as a chance to jump back into the Mello Yello championship hunt. The have collected one win in the Countdown, a tough win over teammate J.R. Todd in St. Louis, but they were unable to go back-to-back earlier this week at the NHRA Carolina Nationals. Langdon was racing to become the first Funny Car driver to win both the spring and fall event at zMAX Dragway and also win two Countdown races in a row. An early exit set the team back but with the competitive landscape of the Funny Car class the former Top Fuel world champion is definitely still in contention.
“The Carolina race set us back a little but if you look at the points no one is running away with the class,” said Langdon. “I still have a lot of confidence on our chance to win the championship. There has been a different winner of every Countdown race in the Funny Car class so far this season. That shows you how competitive and wide open this class is.”
Langdon can lean on his Top Fuel success heading into this weekend’s NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. Two years ago he was the Top Fuel runner-up which was one of his three runner-up finishes in that category at the north Texas super-track. He has also collected two No. 1 qualifiers in Top Fuel starting the race from the top spot in 2012 and 2013.
“I really think the Top Fuel versus Funny Car comparisons only go so far,” said Langdon. “The race cars are very different to driver but I do think I am very comfortable racing at the Texas Motorplex. It is a great race track. The Texas fans are great and there will be a lot of them there.”
In just his second year racing Funny Car Langdon has shown this season he has great command over his 11,000 horsepower Toyota Camry race car. He has raced to three final rounds and picked up a win at the Carolina Four-Wide event and a Countdown win two races ago in St. Louis. With every lap Langdon’s confidence in the process grows.
“When you make the switch from Top Fuel to Funny Car you have to unlearn and relearn a lot of information and habits. I feel better every time I strap into this Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car. My team has given me a great race car and I just have to go out there and keep it in the groove. We are ready to take on these next three races but our championship race starts this weekend at the Motorplex,” added Langdon.
2018 NHRA FallNationals Highlights: Qualified No. 9; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 10; Lost to Tim Wilkerson
Quotable: Langdon on heading to Texas Motorplex: “You can set some records at the Texas Motorplex if the conditions are right. This Global Electronic Technology Camry will be looking to get some of those qualifying bonus points and clawing our way back up the point standings. The Motorplex is a great track to get on a roll.”
Career Stats: 253 events, 250 starts, 285 round wins, 16 wins, 33 finals, 18 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 45 events, 45 starts, 35 round wins, 2 wins, 3 finals, 0 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 7; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Tim Wilkeron and Jeff Diehl
Houston: Qual. No. 10; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Ron Capps
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 5; WINNER; Beat Jeff Diehl and Terry Haddock; Beat J.R. Todd and Tommy Johnson Jr; Beat Robert Hight, John Force and Matt Hagan
Atlanta: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Ron Capps
Richmond: Qual. No. 5; Beat Tim Wilkerson; Lost to J.R. Todd
Chicago: Qual. No. 4; Lost to Jeff Arend
Topeka: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Robert Hight
Bristol: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jeff Diehl; Lost to Ron Capps
Norwalk: Qual. No. 12; Beat Blake Alexander; Lost to Jack Beckman
Epping: Qual. No. 5; RUNNER-UP; Beat Jim Campbell, Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Matt Hagan
Denver: Qual. No. 9; Beat Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Robert Hight
Sonoma: Qual. No. 2; Beat Terry Haddock; Lost to John Force
Seattle: Qual. No. 6; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Brainerd: Qual. No. 6; Beat Paul Lee, Bob Bode; Lost to Ron Capps
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 7; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr.; Lost to Matt Hagan
Reading: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Matt Hagan
St. Louis: Qual. No. 10; WINNER; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jim Campbell, Bob Tasca III and J.R. Todd
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Tim Wilkerson
J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Looking to Add Funny Car Win at Texas Motorplex
With three races left in the 2019 season the DHL Toyota Camry team and driver J.R. Todd are in position to make a run at back-to-back Funny Car world championships. So far during the Countdown Todd has recorded a semifinal finish and a runner-up finish to teammate Shawn Langdon. On Monday the team made an earlier than expected exit at the Carolina Nationals but Todd and the rest of the team are ready to get back onto the track at the NHRA FallNationals this weekend.
“Thankfully the Countdown lets you have one slip-up without ruining your championship plans,” said Todd. “We didn’t have the kind of success we were hoping for on the rained delayed race on Monday but we put that behind us. We are ready to get to the Texas Motorplex and get back to the final there. I want to get a Funny Car win to go with my Top Fuel win.”
A Funny Car win for Todd would add him to an impressive list of Top Fuel and Funny Car winners at the historic race track located just south of Dallas, Texas. Only Kenny Bernstein, Mike Dunn, Ed McCulloch and Don Prudhomme have doubled up in the nitro classes with dual wins. For Todd getting to add his name to that list would mean something special.
“You look at those four guys and they are all Hall of Famers and I mean legendary Hall of Famers,” said Todd. “It is cool to be able to say you won in Top Fuel and Funny Car anywhere but the Motorplex is a great race track. I got that Top Fuel win over Tony Schumacher like over ten years ago so we need to get back into the winner’s circle.”
Last season Todd was in a neck and neck battle with Robert Hight and the pair battled it out in the final round of the FallNationals. Hight took the win that day but Todd finished the season with two consecutive wins and his first Funny Car championship. This season Todd is contending with Hight and a handful of other Funny Car drivers in his effort to repeat as the world champion.
“There are a lot of Funny Cars that are running strong. We are definitely one of them. The key to race day success is to make four good qualifying runs. We got behind the eight ball in Charlotte and that is what cost us. We are focusing on coming out of the gate strong on Friday in Dallas. That second qualifying session on Friday under the lights will be a critical run for all the teams. I like my chances with these ‘Yella Fellas’ on my DHL Camry,” added Todd.
2018 NHRA FallNationals Highlights: Qual. No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat John Hale, Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr.; Lost to Robert Hight
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 12; Lost to John Force
Quotable: J.R. Todd on heading to Texas Motorplex: “We almost got the win there last year but we still got a lot of momentum coming out of that race. I have had some success there and there will be a lot of Toyota VIPs at the race. We are going to keep battling with this DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and try and get back in the winner’s circle.”
Career Stats: 221 events, 213 starts, 235 round wins, 18 wins, 33 finals, 12 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 69 events, 69 starts, 9 wins, 13 finals, 85 round wins, 3 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; RUNNER-UP; Beat Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson Jr., Robert Hight, Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Jack Beckman
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell in first quad, Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in second quad and in the final quad beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson.
Houston: Qual. No. 4; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 8; Beat Bob Tasca III and Bob Glibertson; Lost to Shawn Langdon and Robert Hight
Atlanta: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Richmond: Qual. No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat Bob Tasca III, Shawn Langdon, Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps
Chicago: Qual. No. 6; Lost to John Force
Topeka: Qual. No. 1; Beat bye; Lost to Robert Hight
Bristol: Qual. No. 5; Beat Terry Haddock; Lost to Jack Beckman
Norwalk: Qual. No. 7; Beat Robert Hight; Lost to John Force
Epping: Qual. No. 1; Beat bye; Lost to Tim Wilkerson
Denver: Qual. No. 11; Lost to John Force
Sonoma: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Matt Hagan
Seattle: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jeff Diehl; Lost to Ron Capps
Brainerd: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Ron Capps
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 5; Beat Cruz Pedregon, Ray Martin; Lost to Jack Beckman
Reading: Qual. No. 10; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr., John Smith; Lost to Jack Beckman
St. Louis: Qual. No. 8; RUNNER-UP; Beat Jack Beckman, John Force, Robert Hight; Lost to Shawn Langdon
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 12; Lost to John Force
Another Countdown Runner-Up Has Doug Kalitta In Championship Battle
For the second time in the 2019 Countdown Doug Kalitta powered the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster to the final round. In the first three Countdown races he has two finals and a semifinal finish which is tops in the category. That kind of consistency and success has the veteran driver determined to stay at the top of his game heading into the last three races of the Countdown.
Kalitta took out the No. 7 qualifier, the No. 3 qualifier and the No. 2 qualifier on the way to his 100th final round today. In the final against No. 1 qualifier Steve Torrence, Kalitta overpowered the track and opened the door for Torrence to drive around him.
Against Antron Brown in the first round Kalitta used is driving skills to pedal his dragster to the win. The Mac Tools dragster was just the second race car down the track and Kalitta knew he would need to be at the top of his game. The next two rounds of eliminations were dominant performances by the Mac Tools dragster posting winning elapsed times of 3.745 and 3.762 seconds to defeat the No. 3 and No. 2 qualifiers.
In the final round against Torrence, Kalitta knew he was racing for a chance to reclaim his points lead. Both dragsters launched hard but Torrence was able to keep his dragster hitting on all eight for the full pull. Kalitta’s Goodyears lost traction at half-track and he was unable to catch up for the win. He will leave zMAX Dragway just 30 points out of the points lead with three races to go in the Countdown.
“That was a big final round,” said Kalitta. “We knew we had to be aggressive and we just overshot it a little. I am very happy with how this Mac Tools dragster ran today and has been running the last four races. Three final rounds and a semifinal over four races is pretty good. We will be ready to go for Dallas.”
Doug Kalitta on points chase heading into Dallas: “There are three races left and we are only back 30 points. That would be one round in Pomona with double points. We are going to be back on the race track in four days and will start trying to get some of those bonus points on Friday and Saturday.”
Qualified: No. 10 (3.773 sec., 323.35 mph)
Bonus points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q1)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Doug Kalitta 10 .058 3.905 326.95 (W)
Antron Brown 7 .051 6.032 114.16
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Doug Kalitta 10 .061 3.745 329.50 (W)
Leah Pritchett 2 .063 7.343 87.24
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Doug Kalitta 10 .067 3.762 326.24 (W)
Brittany Force 3 .068 3.901 262.95
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Doug Kalitta 10 .068 4.090 274.27
Steve Torrence 1 .031 3.772 323.19 (W)
Richie Crampton Loses Close Race To Wrap up Carolina Nationals
Crampton and his DHL dragster had lane choice and a strong tune up against rookie Austin Prock. The first round race was one of the most competitive of race day but Crampton came up on the wrong side of a close race. Both dragsters launched hard and crossed the finish line practically welded together with Crampton’s 3.735 second pass at 327. 11 mph just behind Prock’s 3.723 second, 329.02 mph run.
“That was a close, close race. You look at the incremental times and we were right there with him,” said Crampton. “They stepped up in the first round and so did we. That was a just a great drag race that didn’t go our way. The biggest plus for this DHL team is we are running really well and we have three races left to go after this championship.”
Richie Crampton on heading to Dallas: “We made a lot of quick runs in Charlotte and I think we can keep that up at the Texas Motorplex. The weather should be good and Connie has a great handle on this tune-up. I am excited to get back to the track and start moving up the points.”
Qualified: No. 4 (3.732 sec., 329.50 mph)
Bonus points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q2)
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Richie Crampton 4 .072 3.735 327.11
Austin Prock 13 .056 3.723 329.02 (W)
Shawn Langdon's Bid For Back-To-Back Wins Comes Up Short
Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry have three more races to chase down their first NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship. Langdon came up short in his bid to become the first Funny Car racer to sweep both zMAX Dragway events in a calendar year. Earlier this season he picked up his first Funny Car win at the Four-Wide Nationals.
He was also looking to start a Countdown win streak on the heels of his win two weeks ago in St. Louis. The bid fell short today during the rain delayed Carolina Nationals as he was eliminated in the first round by No. 7 qualifier Tim Wilkerson.
The team battled through some issues during qualifying but entered race day as the No. 10 qualified Funny Car with confidence that there was more improvement on race day. Unfortunately, weather rolled in on Sunday and persistent rain showers forced the teams to stay over an extra day and contest the final eliminations on Monday.
In the first round Langdon took a strong starting line advantage with a .045 second reaction time but just as his Global Electronic Technology Funny Car was accelerating to half-track it overpowered the race track allowing Wilkerson to shoot past him with a winning elapsed time of 3.898 seconds.
“It is tough to stay over and race on Monday but everyone has to do it when we get rained out,” said Langdon. “I just hate that we had a pretty good race car and I think we just overpowered it on that run. There were guys making killer runs but we just couldn’t stay hooked up. We have a tough road in front of us for these last three races but we will give it our all.”
Langdon on heading to Dallas: “I am glad we are going right back to another race. This was tough weekend in Charlotte and we are going to put it behind us and try and win these last three races.”
Qualified: No. 10 (3.970 sec., 326.00 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Shawn Langdon 10 .045 5.386 137.25
Tim Wilkerson 7 .085 3.898 325.77 (W)
After Tough Carolina Nationals Todd and DHL Team Ready for Dallas
The DHL Toyota Camry team and driver J.R. Todd knew they would have their hands full facing off against the winningest driver in NHRA history in the first round today of the Carolina Nationals. Todd had a lot of confidence considering two weeks ago he dispatched John Force on the way to the St. Louis final round. His path was tougher today as the No. 12 qualifier.
Todd and his DHL team made some consistent runs in qualifying but they knew they had to have a strong run in the first session. Both Funny Cars launched together but as Todd was powering down the track his DHL Camry’s Goodyears broke loose from the track surface and smoked the tires. Force pulled away for the win and Todd was force to look ahead at the next three races as his final chance to pick up his second consecutive Funny Car championship.
“That first round loss was tough,” said Todd. “It is hard to wait around at the track all day yesterday and not get to race. We had good weather today and these DHL guys were ready to get after it. I am going to put this race behind me and focus on Dallas in a couple days.”
J.R. Todd on heading to Dallas: “We went to the final there last year and cane up a little short. We will need to close the deal there next weekend. We have three more races to catch up to some of these guys in front of us. It will be tough but I am not giving up.”
Qualified: No. 12 (3.972 sec., 308.43 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
J.R. Todd 12 .053 5.536 127.26
John Force 5 .043 3.933 331.77 (W)