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Kalitta Motorsports News

Richie Crampton Wins NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway

Richie Crampton and the DHL Top Fuel dragster team picked up their second win of the season and make a major jump in the Countdown to the Championship points with a win today over teammate Doug Kalitta at the NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania. The No. 4 qualifier raced his way past Dan Mercier, Antron Brown, Brittany Force and new Mello Yello Top Fuel point leader Doug Kalitta to earn his 10th career Top Fuel win.
 
“It’s a huge win for us. I’m so lucky to be a part of this team,” said Crampton. “I hated to race my teammate, Doug Kalitta, in the final and win, but it was a great day for the whole team. We had three real strong runs to close out qualifying (including a 3.689), so we knew we had a car that could contend. Then we had another strong run in round one and made another solid pass in the second round. In the finals, we had a pretty good light and made a really good pass to beat a great driver and team.”
 
“For DHL, Toyota, Wix, Global and everyone who’s stayed behind us, this is big. It’s the business time of the year. It’s just so important to get round wins and try to run for a championship. We’ve shown we have a car capable of competing for a championship. Now we just need to keep digging in these last five races,” added Crampton.
 
In the first round Crampton got the jump on journeyman Dan Mercier and never trailed in the race. His 3.733 second elapsed time was quick enough to give him lane choice in the second round and set up a tough match-up with fellow Countdown contender Antron Brown.
 
The quarterfinal match-up between Crampton who started the Countdown in the No. 9 position and Brown who was trying to hold his No. 3 position was another dominating run by the DHL team and Crampton. By the 60 foot maker Crampton was pulling away from a tire-smoking  Brown. Crampton’s winning elapsed time of 3.781 seconds set him up with lane choice for the third time on Sunday.
 
The semifinals were anti-climactic for Crampton but not without a little drama. Following her burnout Brittany Force’s dragster sprung a fuel leak and had to be shut off handing Crampton a free run into the final round. As Crampton took off his DHL dragster overpowered the track and smoked the tires. He was able to click his 11,000 horsepower dragster off and coast to the win with a pedestrian 4.656 second run at 164.57 mph. The round win advanced Crampton into his second final round of the season.
 
It was an all Team Kalitta final round as Crampton squared off with newly crowned points leader Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. At the hit of the throttle Kalitta grabbed a slight starting line advantage but as both dragsters launched down track Crampton had made up the difference and was pulling away for the win. Through four rounds of eliminations Crampton and his DHL Top Fuel dragster never trailed beyond the 60 foot marker.
 
Crampton’s four round wins moved him up to the No. 5 position in the Mello Yello point standings. It was an impressive four position jump leaving the first playoff race of the season. The young Australian is just 21 points, barely over one round, behind the No. 2 Top Fuel team.
 
“Our team is aware of the points and we know the pressure is on,” summed up Crampton. “I just have to do my job. I feel like I have a great car right now. We ran really well in qualifying at Indy and were near the top of the sheets. So we knew we could run with anyone out there. Connie (Kalitta) and Kurt (Elliott) are doing a great job on my DHL Toyota dragster. It’s been a long season, but this is when it all counts.”
 
Quotable: 
Richie Crampton on first race of the Countdown: “This is what we were shooting for coming into the Countdown. We wanted to get off to a good start and make a move up the points at the first race. We have some momentum and I can’t wait to get to St. Louis.” 
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 4 (3.689 sec., 328.14 mph)
Bonus points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q3)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
Richie Crampton                 4            .085        3.733     329.26 (W)          
Dan Mercier                         13           .118        3.892     310.63
 
Second Round
Driver                                    Qual        R/T         ET           MPH 
Richie Crampton                 4              .087        3.781     324.44 (W)
Antron Brown                        5              .057        9.080     81.48
               
Semifinal Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Richie Crampton                  4              .084        4.656     164.57 (W)
Brittany Force                        1              No run – Fuel leak
 
Final Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH 
Richie Crampton                 4              .074        3.738     329.10 (W)
Doug Kalitta                          3              .067        3.779     331.29

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Doug Kalitta Grabs Points Lead with Maple Grove Runner-Up Finish

The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team and driver Doug Kalitta reclaimed the Mello Yello Top Fuel points lead with a runner-up finish at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grover Raceway. Kalitta dropped a close race against teammate Richie Crampton after defeating Smax Smith, Mike Salinas and Austin Prock to reach the 99th final round in his amazing career.
 
"Not exactly how we wanted to finish out the day, but if you have to lose, at least it was to one of our teammates,” said Kalitta. “It was a good race and we ran pretty well, but Richie and the DHL guys made a really strong run. The first two rounds we went down the right lane, so I was a little nervous going down the left lane in the semis but the TRD Toyota guys are out there looking at both lines. I’m just really proud of those guys and my entire Mac Tools team.” 
 
Throughout qualifying Kalitta and the Mac Tools dragster were consistently near the top performers earning qualifying bonus points as one of the three quickest dragsters in three of the four qualifying sessions. The reigning U.S. Nationals champion was able to head into race day as the No. 3 qualifier.
 
In the first round Kalitta and his Mac Tools teammates did not take Smax Smith lightly posting a solid 3.722 second run at 330.96 mph run for the win. As Kalitta advanced to the second round he also moved into the points lead for the second time this season. The sure fire Hall of Fame driver held the points lead following his season opening win at the Winternationals. He entered the Countdown as the No. 2 driver and over the course of the day extended his lead to ultimately 33 points over the No. 2 driver.
 
The semifinal race between Kalitta and rookie Austin Prock was a nearly identical race to Kalitta’s quarterfinal win over Mike Salinas. Kalitta ran identical 3.740 second passes in both races and tripped the speed trap at basically 330 mph in each race, 329.83 mph and 333.91 mph. The 329 mph pass was Kalitta’s lone sub 330 mph run of the day.
 
The final against Crampton was a chance for Kalitta to extend his Mello Yello points leader and continue a win streak that began with his first U.S. Nationals victory two weeks ago. Kalitta grabbed a starting line advantage but Crampton’s DHL dragster pulled beside and him and drive away for the win. It was a tough final round but one that Kalitta knew had no downside.
 
Quotable: 
Doug Kalitta on first racing of the Countdown: “We were going for two wins in a row and we ran into a tough customer in my teammate Richie (Crampton) in the final. It is great to race your teammate in the final round and we gave him everything we had. This Mac Tools team has the points lead and we are going to get reading for St. Louis.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 3 (3.688 sec., 332.59 mph) 
Bonus points: +4 (2nd quickest of Q1 and 3rdquickest of Q3 and Q4)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                    Qual         R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                         3              .100        3.722     330.96 (W)
Smax Smith                          14            .091        8.356     74.14    
 
Second Round
Driver                                    Qual          R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                          3              .065        3.740     329.83 (W)
Mike Salinas                          6              .116         4.354     196.39
 
Semifinals Round
Driver                                    Qual         R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                         3              .063        3.740     333.91 (W)
Austin Prock                          7              .057        4.015     295.66
 
Final Round
Driver                                    Qual        R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                        3              .067        3.779     331.29
Richie Crampton                   4              .074        3.738     329.10 (W)

JR Todd Sunday

J.R. Todd Jumps Up in Points with Semifinal Finish

A repeat performance of last year’s J.R. Todd Countdown winning performance in Reading, Pa., was not in the cards today for the reigning Funny Car champion. The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team did advance to the semifinals before losing to eventual race winner Jack Beckman. The semifinal finish did jump Todd and his DHL team up two places in the Countdown and they are less that a round out of fifth place with five races left in the playoffs.
 
The back-to-back semifinal finishes over the past two races have Todd encouraged as the Countdown gets underway. While qualifying was a struggle for Todd and the DHL team a first round upset win over No. 7 qualifier and Countdown contender Tommy Johnson Jr., gave the team some momentum for the rest of Sunday. The team stepped up and made their quickest pass of the weekend for the win and set up a second round race against surprise first round winner John Smith.
 
In the quarterfinals it was another quick run for the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car as they outpaced Smith 3.949 seconds to 4.013 seconds. The win gave Todd a boost in the points and set up a semifinal race against another Countdown foe.
 
Todd’s final run of the day saw the DHL Toyota Camry overpower the track as he fought valiantly to get his Goodyear slicks to hook up. Todd was on and off the throttle a number of times but he could not reel in his opponent. At the end of the day Todd jumped up in the points and positioned himself for another move heading to St. Louis in two weeks.
 
“We had a race car that could have won the race today for sure,” said Todd. “I am encouraged by the overall performance of the DHL Toyota team and we have some ground to makeup in St. Louis. The first round win was huge and gave us a big boost. The key to success is to avoid first round losses and win rounds on Sunday.”
 
Quotable:
J.R. Todd on first race of the Countdown: “We made up some ground which is good. I would have loved to have won this race again but we closed the gap on a lot of teams and my DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car definitely came around on Saturday and today. I like the direction we are going.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 10 (3.916 sec., 329.02 mph)
Bonus points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q1)

Race Details:
 
First Round
Driver                                    Qual          R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              10             .077        3.915     329.58 (W)
Tommy Johnson Jr.                7              .076        3.977     327.66
 
Second Round
Driver                                    Qual        R/T         ET           MPH
J.R. Todd                              10           .092        3.949     324.75 (W)
John Smith                            15           .071        4.013     313.80
 
Semifinal Round
Driver                                     Qual        R/T         ET           MPH
J.R. Todd                               10           .070        5.051     167.26
Jack Beckman                        3             .068        3.916     331.12 (W)

Shawn Langdon Sunday

Shawn Langdon Leaves Maple Grove with St. Louis Success on Radar

Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car wrapped up their race day at Maple Grove Raceway earlier than expected. Heading into the second day of qualifying on Saturday Langdon and his team were furiously trying to battle their way into the top sixteen Funny Cars. Storm showers were rolling through eastern Pennsylvania and Langdon team stepped up rocketing him to the No. 8 qualifying position.
 
The two up and down days of qualifying set the Countdown contending team up with a tough first round match-up against another Countdown team. Langdon was up to the task taking a solid starting line advantage with a .052 to .072 reaction time advantage. Both Funny Cars were charging down the track up Langdon’s opponent laid down the quickest run of the first round a 3.899 second pass that was too quick for the Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car’s 3.961 second pass.
 
“I felt really good going into the first round,” said Langdon. “We made some good changes on Saturday that set us up to have lane choice. We had seen seven pairs run in front of us so we knew a lot about how the lanes were holding up. I think you saw from the performance of this Global Electronic Technology Camry that we had a race car that could have won rounds today. We just got a bad draw against the quickest run of the first round.”
 
With five races remaining Langdon has plenty of time to move up in the point standing and capture his first Funny Car world championship.
 
Quotable:
Langdon on first race of Countdown: “This isn’t the way we wanted to start the Countdown. The good news is some of the top teams also went out early and we are still very much in this championship battle. We are going to take the positives from this weekend and build on them for St. Louis.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.910 sec., 328.86 mph) 
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                    Qual         R/T         ET           MPH  
Shawn Langdon                   8              .052        3.961     329.91
Matt Hagan                            9              .072        3.899     332.02 (W)

#ReadingNats Qualifying Recap:

Top Fuel:
Doug Kalitta - 3rd vs. S. Smith
Richie Crampton - 4th vs D. Mercier

Funny Car:
Shawn Langdon - 8th vs. Hagan
J.R. Todd- 10th vs. Johnson Jr.

DHL | Mac Tools | Global Electronic Technology | WIX Filters | Toyota Racing

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta In Position For Top Fuel World Championship

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team started the season with a win at the Winternationals and they capped off the regular season with a win at the U.S. Nationals to catapult themselves into the Countdown to the Championship as the No. 2 Top Fuel team. Kalitta is only 20 points out of the Mello Yello points lead heading into the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend. This is the second time Kalitta will enter the Countdown as the No. 2 driver. The veteran driver was the regular season champion in 2014 but finished fifth that season. Two years ago he started fifth and finished a strong third in his quest for his first Top Fuel world championship. The Mac Tools team is positioned once again for a serious run at the Mello Yello Top Fuel championship.

“I think this team has been solid all season,” said Kalitta. “We have been right in the mix with the top teams. Everything came together for us at the U.S. Nationals and we are ready for the Countdown. That was a big win for this team. We have six races to show what this Mac Tools team is made of and we will be ready for Reading.”

For Kalitta like every other Top Fuel Countdown contender he will be looking to keep a trend alive with a win at the Maple Grove Raceway national event. Since 2013 the Top Fuel winner in Reading has gone on to win the Mello Yello championship. Winners have come from a variety of starting points and but the one constant is a win at Maple Grove Raceway.

“I think you look at the performance opportunities at a track like Maple Grove and you can see where the winner from that race has a strong race car,” said Kalitta. “I would definitely like to keep that streak alive if we get a win this weekend. The biggest thing I am focusing on is just being consistent and not making any mistakes. You can’t let any outside pressure distract you at this time of the year.”

The Mac Tools Top Fuel racer has one victory at the NHRA Nationals in Reading picking up the win over legendary Top Fuel racer Kenny Bernstein in 2002. Two years later Kalitta was the No. 1 qualifier. Since then Kalitta has been battling to reach the finals and grab that second career win.

“The track has a lot of history. You see record runs just about every year. There are a lot of great teams in the Countdown and we are just going to give it our best shot starting on Friday,” added Kalitta.

2018 NHRA Maple Grove Highlights: Qual. No. 8; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Clay Millican

Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals):Qual. No. 8; WINNER; Beat Clay Millican, Brittany Force, Austin Prock, Billy Torrence

Quotable:  Kalitta on heading into Countdown: “I am excited. We have a lot of momentum from the U.S. Nationals win. We just need to keep charging and doing the things we know how to do.”   

Career Stats: 507 events, 500 starts, 677 round wins, 46 wins, 98 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
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

Todd.jpg

Race to Second Championship Begins Now for DHL and J.R. Todd

The time has come for the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and reigning champion J.R. Todd to reach back and build on the successful results that catapulted him to the top of the Funny Car standings last season. After picking up his second consecutive U.S. Nationals title last year Todd and his Yella Fellas team took the win at the NHRA Nationals in Reading. It was that race that continued to keep the Funny Car team in championship form. This year they are looking to recreate the Reading magic albeit with a little tougher path to follow.
 
“Last year we were coming off a win in Indy but this year I think we still have an amazing team and race car,” said Todd. “We almost made it to three finals in a row at the U.S. Nationals and we aren’t hanging our head in this DHL pit. A whole new season starts this weekend and I have a lot of confidence.”
 
The win last year at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway put Todd in select company as one of only three drivers to have a Top Fuel and Funny Car win at the eastern Pennsylvania track. He is in good company with Hall of Famers Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi. Todd’s teammate, Shawn Langdon, is also in the running to add his name to this illustrious list.
 
“I think having success at a race track in Top Fuel and Funny Car is cool,” said Todd. “The race cars are so different you can’t really compare them. Any time your name is on a list with Bernstein and Scelzi it is pretty awesome. I am going to be focused on getting a second Funny Car win this weekend. That would go a long way in making a second championship a reality.”
 
It has been sixteen seasons since a Funny Car driver has won back to back Mello Yello championships. John Force wrapped up his streak of ten championships in a row with championships in 2001 and then 2002. Since then nine different drivers have added their names to the list to Funny Car world champions.
 
“Our goal is to win another championship this season,” said Todd. “I think we have the team and Funny Car to get the job done. We have been making good runs lately and I think I have been doing a good job behind the wheel. This is where you have to get it done. You have to avoid first round losses and you need to get some of those qualifying bonus points. This class has never been tougher and I think you will see four or five Funny Cars in contention for the championship when we get to Pomona. My job is to make sure this DHL Camry is one of those race cars.”
 
In order to be in the championship hunt Todd and his DHL team will need to make up some ground. Heading into Reading as the No. 8 Funny Car he is 80 points away from Robert Hight, the regular season champion. Todd has a history of making jumps in the Countdown including the second biggest move when he was racing Top Fuel in 2014 when he jumped from the No. 10 spot to the No. 2 spot. Last season Todd took the championship from the No. 5 starting spot in the Countdown.
 
“You can’t look at how many people you have to jump over,” said Todd. “You have to look at what you can control. Last year we won the first race and that moved us up. We went to four more finals after that in the Countdown. That kind of performance is going to put you in a position to win the championship. It all starts this weekend and we are going to be looking at qualifying on Friday as the jumping off point for our championship run.”
 
2018 NHRA Maple Grove Highlights:  Qual. No. 8;WINNER;Beat Bob Tasca III, Mike Smith, Ron Capps and Tim Wilkerson

Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qual. No. 5; Beat Cruz Pedregon, Ray Martin; Lost to Jack Beckman
 
Quotable:J.R. Todd on heading into Countdown: “Getting a good start in Reading will be key. You can’t win the championship in the first race but you can put yourself in a great position with a strong finish at the first Countdown race.

Career Stats:218 events, 210 starts, 230 round wins, 18 wins, 32 finals, 12 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 66 events, 66 starts, 9 wins, 12 finals, 80 round wins, 3 No. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
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

Shawn.jpg

Global Electronic Technology and Langdon Focused on Chase for Funny Car Championship

The Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car is peaking at the right time on the performance curve and that has second year Funny Car driver Shawn Langdon fired up for the Countdown. Langdon is one of only two drivers to have avoided a first round loss since June. The race day win lights have been adding up and the former Top Fuel world champion knows that wins are right around the corner.
 
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win the championship and win races,” said Langdon. “We are close. We have had a great car in qualifying. There are just some minor improvements on race day really just some minor tweaks and we can get this Camry in the winner’s circle. It is very capable. I really feel like we have a top three race car right now.”
 
Last year it was teammate J.R. Todd who took the win at Maple Grove Raceway and then dominated in the Countdown for his first Funny Car world championship. Langdon picked up the Top Fuel win in 2013 and cruised to his own world championship. This weekend the driver of the Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car will be focused on getting four win lights on Sunday no matter where he is positioned in the Top Ten.
 
“Especially at the nine spot it is crucial that first race you can’t lose first round,” explained Langdon, who has an eight race streak of first round wins. “Really you want to avoid first round losses at any of the races but that first race is critical. We are going to go to Reading with the same temperament we had (in Indy) of just maintaining the quality of car that we had here throughout qualifying. The car responded well to the changes. We were able to find some weak spots and we fine-tuned those. We made a great run the first round (in Indy).”

The drive for a Funny Car championship has Langdon leaning on his experiences from 2013. That season he entered the Countdown as the Top Fuel regular season champion and was able to maintain his top spot through the final six races. The mental toll is one that Langdon is preparing for once again with a fast race car and high expectations.

“There is a lot of mental work in the Countdown as a driver,” said Langdon. “There is no easy way to go about it. I do know that being in the No. 1 spot it is yours to lose. That is a tough spot to be in and you have a lot of eyes on you. I like being an aggressive driver. I feel like coming from the nine spot will let me express my competitive nature and my aggressive driving style. I just want to do what I need to do to make sure this Toyota is in the mix at the end.”

Langdon also has experience in the Countdown moving up and around drivers who finished the regular season ahead of him. In 2012 he moved up three positions over six races. Two seasons ago he jumped up three spots as well. For Langdon he feels that the starting position doesn’t mean anything once the Countdown starts.
 
“We have six races left and with win lights on Sunday you can make up ground pretty quickly,” said Langdon. “The points have been reset so there aren’t any big leads in front of me. I will be aggressive and I know my guys will give me a great race car. I won this race in 2013 and went on to win the championship. It would be cool to try and duplicate that in Funny Car. It won’t be easy because I really think anyone of the Funny Cars in the Top Ten could win the championship. I am going to do everything I can to make sure it is the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car.”
 
A win this Sunday in Reading, Pa., would also put Langdon in elite company. The 2013 Top Fuel winner would join teammate J.R. Todd along with Hall of Famers Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi as the only drivers to have Top Fuel and Funny Car wins at the Maple Grove Raceway NHRA national event.
 
2018 NHRA Maple Grove Highlights:  Qualified No. 6; Lost to Robert Hight

Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals):Qual. No. 7; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr.; Lost to Matt Hagan

Quotable:Langdon on Countdown: “I have a lot of confidence right now in this Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car. It is running the best it has all season so I definitely think we are peaking at the right time. The Countdown is about consistency and avoiding mistakes. I can’t wait to get to Maple Grove.”

Career Stats: 250 events, 247 starts, 281 round wins, 15 wins, 32 finals, 18 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny  Car 42 events, 42 starts, 31 round wins, 1 wins, 2 finals, 0 No. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
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

Richie.jpg

DHL Top Fueler Richie Crampton Eager to Race for Top Fuel Title

With the six-race Countdown to the Championship kicking off this weekend Richie Crampton and the DHL/Kalitta Air Top Fuel team are racing for a win and the chance to repeat history. The previous six Top Fuel winners at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway have gone on to win the Mello Yello championship. Winners have come from the No. 1 position to as deep in the Top Ten as the No. 6 position. For Crampton who starts the chase for his first Top Fuel world championship from the No. 9 spot the first race is one where he is looking to build some momentum.
 
“We just need to have a long Sunday,” said Crampton, the winner of the historic Gatornationals this season. “It has been a while since we have seen the kind of race day success we expect but the Countdown is a brand new season. This DHL Top Fuel team is ready and we spent some time after Indy getting ready for these last six races. I think it is anyone’s championship to win honestly. The first races are critical and I have a lot of confidence in my team.”
 
This is Crampton’s fourth run for a Top Fuel championship in the Countdown format. He made his first Countdown in 2014 and the following year started as the No. 3 driver at the end of the regular season. The young Australian Top Fuel racer finished right where he started as the third place finisher for the Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship, his best Top Fuel finish to date. Three seasons ago Crampton made the Countdown in the No. 9 spot and again held form finishing No. 9. Last season he narrowly missed a top ten finish slipping out of the playoffs at the U.S. Nationals. This season Crampton solidified his spot with a strong qualifying effort in Indy.
 
“It was a definite bummer to miss the Countdown last season,” said Crampton. “I wasn’t going to let that happened again. This team is too good. We are in the playoffs and we want to start moving up in the standings starting at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend.”
 
All four Team Kalitta race teams are battling for Mello Yello championships and the positive team mentality is something Crampton feels gives them all an advantage. Last year teammate J.R. Todd stormed through the Countdown for his first Funny Car world championship. Crampton thinks there are opportunities for the entire Team Kalitta organization to thrive.
 
“One of the main things we have going for us here at Team Kalitta is all the support we give each other and especially the support from our sponsors like TRD (Toyota Racing Development),” said Crampton. “We are constantly getting feedback and info for the teams and crew chiefs. I think it will really pay off in the Countdown. We are constantly pushing each other to get better as a group of drivers and I am really looking forward to seeing how far we can take this DHL Top Fuel dragster in the playoffs.”
 
2018 NHRA Maple Grove Highlights: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Doug Kalitta

Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qual. No. 5; Lost to Austin Prock

Quotable: Crampton on heading into Countdown: “It is a brand new season. We have some ground to make up but this DHL/Kalitta Air team is up to the task.”
 
Career Stats: 121 events, 120 starts, 99 round wins, 9 wins, 11 finals, 5 No. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
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

Doug Kalitta Wins U.S. Nationals

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster turned on the most notable win light of the veteran driver’s career today when the four-time Indy finalist became a first-time winner at the NHRA U.S. Nationals. Kalitta, the No. 8 qualifier, defeated some of the toughest young and veteran drivers competing in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The win was the 46th in Kalitta’s Hall of Fame worthy career. The race today was also Kalitta’s 500th to start and the victory marked the 25th anniversary of team owner Connie Kalitta’s last Top Fuel victory at the U.S. Nationals.
 
“I just can’t say enough about everyone that’s been working on my Mac Tools Toyota. They were busting their butts – and (team owner) Connie (Kalitta) was right there with them,” said Kalitta. “Having him in our corner is awesome. What a day. It feels great to win a big race that Connie won. The track conditions were incredible this weekend. The Safety Safari team busted their butts out there. The fans here are awesome. It hasn’t settled in that I won the U.S. Nationals.”
 
In the first round of his 22nd U.S. Nationals Kalitta took the win over fellow Countdown contender and veteran driver Clay Millican. It was Kalitta’s right foot that sealed the victory with a stellar reaction time that got the win when both dragsters lit up the scoreboard with identical 3.721 second elapsed times.
 
“I’m a real persistent guy, so I never give up. It does make you wonder. When we got by Clay I was thinking this is going to be a good opportunity and I’m just glad we were able to take advantage of it,” said Kalitta. “These guys out here are all so good. You have to be right on your game every time and I’m not getting any younger, so you have to work a little harder at it. It worked out well just getting by Clay because those guys are always tough.”
 
The No. 1 qualifier was the next opponent for the Mac Tools team and again it was Kalitta getting a win with a solid 3.757 second elapsed time. This was the second race in a row for Kalitta to advance to the semifinals and he would face rookie Austin Prock with a fourth U.S. Nationals final round appearance on the line. The semifinal was Kalitta’s easiest round of the day as Prock went into immediate tire smoke and Kalitta cruised to victory and his 98th career final round.
 
“I just try to stay patient and make sure I go when that light comes on. We try not to worry about who’s in the other lane, but Brittany’s car has been on a rail. She qualified first, so we knew we had a tough run there and it was a close race,” added Kalitta.
 
For the second year in a row it was Kalitta and the Mac Tools dragster hoping to make history with their first U.S. Nationals win. In a dramatic final round for the ages Kalitta and Billy Torrence launched together with Kalitta holding a slight starting line advantage. As both dragsters barreled down the track they were neck and neck before both race cars hazed the tires and lost power just before the finish line. It was Kalitta who had the edge and momentum to get to the stripe for the win, his second of the season and first at the most prestigious drag race in the world.
 
“We came out of the semifinals and had to stop to do a quick interview with FOX and I got back just in time to warm up my car,” said Kalitta. “I was glad I was able to be the one to warm up my car because I didn’t want to change up anything the way our day was going. It was kind of ugly in the final. At 800 feet, it seemed like my car was just coasting with no power. I thought it was over, but the win light came on.”
 
Kalitta’s strong performance today also locked him into the No. 2 position in the Top Fuel points and as the regular season moves into the six race playoff the veteran driver will only be 20 points out of the Top Fuel lead with six races remaining in the season.
 
Quotable: 
Doug Kalitta on heading to the Countdown: “Obviously, my guys are going to have plenty of skip in our step heading into the Countdown – including me. We just have to keep our head down and go rounds and try to prevail. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get to the next race and get this going. It’s going to be another great opportunity.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.706 sec., 332.75 mph) 
Bonus points: +1 (4th quickest of Q4)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                  Qual          R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                       8              .060        3.721     330.07 (W)          
Clay Millican                        9              .063        3.721     324.59
 
Second Round
Driver                                   Qual         R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                       8              .046        3.757     327.98 (W)
Brittany Force                      1              .058        3.761     322.19  
 
Semifinals Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                       8              .058        3.766     328.22 (W)
Austin Prock                       12             .053        8.991     80.92
 
Final Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                       8              .058        4.144     212.43 (W)
Billy Torrence                      2               .062        4.220     206.01

JR Todd Monday

J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Race to Semifinals at U.S. Nationals

The defending and two-time NHRA U.S. Nationals champion J.R. Todd was racing for history at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis today. No Funny Car driver had ever won three U.S. Nationals in a row and Todd was eager to add his name to the record books. The reigning Funny Car champion rolled through qualifying picking up three bonus points and starting from the No. 5 spot in the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history.
 
In the first round he faced two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon. The DHL Toyota Camry was not taking the Funny Car in the other lane lightly posting a 3.918 second elapsed time at over 326 mph. The win gave him lane choice over his quarterfinal opponent newcomer Ray Martin, who upset No. 4 qualifier Ron Capps.
 
Again it was Todd and his DHL Yella Fellas stepping up their game running 3.900 seconds the quickest winning elapsed time to race to the semifinals. The win extended Todd’s win streak at the most prestigious drag race to ten round wins in a row. As the possibility of a third U.S. Nationals title loomed on the horizon a semifinal match-up with Jack Beckman was up next for Todd.
 
The DHL Toyota Camry had lane choice and Todd took off with a starting line reaction time advantage. As Todd’s Toyota Camry raced to the finish line at around 700 feet his Goodyear slicks lost traction and it opened the door for Beckman to move around him just before he also lost traction. He had enough of a lead to narrowly hold off Todd for the round win.
 
At the end of the day Todd will head into the Countdown as the No. 8 driver and a strong feeling of confidence that his DHL Toyota Camry team has turned the corner on the performance equation.
 
“I want to win the championship. I think the race car is back on track,” said Todd. “No matter where we end up in points we are going to have to do what we did last year. We will be looking to go to every final possible and win as many races as possible. I have to give it up to the DHL guys for never giving up. I also have to especially thank my crew chiefs and the guys at TRD. We have our ducks in a row and now is the time to get after it.”
 
Quotable:
J.R. Todd on heading to Countdown: “We are going to go into Reading with the attitude that we can win that race like we did last year. We have a championship contending car but it is going to be tough. There are a lot of cars that are capable of winning and we will be gunning for that second championship. It will be a battle but we are up to the task.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 5 (3.883 sec., 331.20 mph)
Bonus points: +3 (3rd quickest of Q1 and 4th quickest of Q5)

Race Details:
 
First Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              5              .079        3.918     326.56 (W)
Cruz Pedregon                      12           DQ – Centerline
 
Second Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH
J.R. Todd                               5              .089        3.900     329.10 (W)          
Ray Martin                             13           .129        4.256     21.71
 
Semifinal Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH
J.R. Todd                              5              .065        4.547     193.71
Jack Beckman                      1              .076        4.065     250.09 (W)

Shawn Monday

Shawn Langdon Races into Quarterfinals and Countdown

The consistency and high performance level continued at the NHRA U.S. Nationals for Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car. After a strong three days of qualifying that saw Langdon head into race day as the No. 7 Funny Car in the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history the former Top Fuel Indy winner was excited for race day.
 
Prior to the eliminations Langdon was also able to add his name to the list of Funny Car drivers that locked into the Countdown to the Championship, the six-race NHRA playoffs. In two weeks the second year Funny Car driver will only be 90 points out of first place, after the points have been reset, heading into the NHRA national event at Maple Grove Raceway.
 
“We have been getting a lot of bonus points and that sets you up well in qualifying,” said Langdon. “I think we have a top three car. We get to the quarterfinals and that shows we have a top eight race day car. I feel like we are a better team than that. We just have to get the fine details worked out. We are so damn close. I feel like more wins are right around the corner.”
 
Today it was Langdon focusing on trying to become one of a handful of racers to have won the NHRA U.S. Nationals in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Langdon picked up his Top Fuel win in 2013 and today Langdon was poised to get his first Indy Funny Car title.
 
The first round was a spectacular race with Langdon getting the win over Tommy Johnson Jr. with a strong 3.895 second run at 328.70 mph. As Langdon’s Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car was blasting past the Christmas Tree Johnson was blowing the tires off his race car and was force to watch as Langdon flew down the track.
 
“The first round race was a big win for us,” said Langdon. “We continued to show how quick this Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car is. I felt like we were in great position to have a long day after that round win.”
 
In the quarterfinals Langdon faced fellow Countdown contender Matt Hagan. The Funny Cars were separated by .003 seconds in performance from their first round wins. As both race cars staged the fans knew they were going to see a stellar drag race but at the hit of the throttle Langdon’s Camry overpowered the track and ended his bid for a second U.S. Nationals title.
 
“I am not sure what happened in the second round. We were over in the right lane but we weren’t really worried about track conditions. I just hit the throttle and we went right into tire smoke. That was out only off run all weekend. We ran great in qualifying. We got some of those valuable qualifying bonus points. Overall a good weekend but not the results we ultimately wanted,” added Langdon.
 
The Global Electronic Technology Toyota team will leave Indianapolis in 9th place in the Mello Yello Funny Car standings.
 
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win the championship and win races.  We are close. We have a great car in qualifying,” said Langdon. “There are just some minor improvements on race day really just some minor tweaks and we can get this Camry in the winner’s circle. It is very capable. I really feel like we have a top three race car right now. We lost lane choice (after the first round) and got moved over to the right lane. I am bummed that we smoked the tires like that obviously. We weren’t expecting that. We weren’t trying to be that aggressive. At the end of the day I feel really good about going into the Countdown.”
 
Quotable:
Langdon on heading to Countdown: “I there is a lot of mental work in the Countdown as a driver. There is no easy way to go about it. I do know that being in the No. 1 spot it is yours to lose. That is a tough spot to be in and you have a lot of eyes on you. I like being an aggressive driver. I feel like coming from the nine spot will let me express my competitive nature and my aggressive driving style. I just want to do what I need to do to make sure this Toyota is in the mix at the end.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 7 (3.887 sec., 330.63 mph) 
Bonus points: +3 (4th quickest of Q1 and 3rd quickest of Q2)

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET           MPH  
Shawn Langdon                7              .081        3.895      328.70 (W)          
Tommy Johnson Jr.            10            .053        9.686       88.23
 
Second Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET           MPH 
Shawn Langdon                7              .050        12.468     68.70    
Matt Hagan                         2              .061        3.939       320.89 (W)

Richie Monday

Countdown Spot Secured at U.S. Nationals by DHL and Richie Crampton

The U.S. Nationals might have come to an end earlier than Richie Crampton and the DHL/Kalitta Air Top Fuel team would have liked but that doesn’t take away from the three days of strong qualifying. The team clinched their spot in the Countdown to the Championship with their qualifying effort and will be one of ten teams racing for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship. Over three days of qualifying Crampton steadily improved and on Sunday had one of the quickest race cars on the property.
 
During the final two qualifying sessions Crampton and the DHL Top Fuel dragster posted the third quickest run of the fourth session and they were the quickest Top Fuel dragster in the final qualifying session picking up four points for that effort. Overall the team rang up six qualifying bonus points putting pressure on the teams behind them in the standings.
 
On race day today Crampton took lane choice over rookie Austin Prock in the opening session. They were the last pair of Top Fuel dragsters and when Crampton’s team fired up his dragster he was securely in the Countdown. His dragster launched hard and as both dragsters stormed down the track they were side by side until half-track. Just past that point Crampton’s dragster hazed the tires briefly and opened the door for Prock to pull away.
 
“We produced some great runs this weekend,” said Crampton. “That was really exciting for me and the entire team to make it down the track like that. We were at the top of the sheet most of those sessions. I thought that would equate into a good race day. We know what we can do so we are not going to dwell on one round. We will get back after it in a couple weeks in Reading in the Countdown.”
 
Crampton was just behind his opponent as they crossed the finish line. The 2014 U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner was unable to join his three teammates in the quarterfinals.
 
Quotable: 
Richie Crampton on heading to the Countdown: “In the Countdown you have to minimize first round loses. Those will kill you in the Countdown. You want to come out at the first race and start going rounds. The bottom line is you have to get the points and the only way to do that is to win rounds on Sunday.” 
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 5 (3.696 sec., 331.53 mph)
Bonus points: +6 (3rd quickest of Q4 and quickest of Q5)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                  Qual          R/T         ET           MPH  
Richie Crampton                5              .060        4.933     142.70   
Austin Prock                       12           .045        3.712     330.15 (W)

Kalitta Merchandise

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Funny Car Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Funny Car

1 Jack Beckman 2179
2 John Force 2160
3 Robert Hight 2155
4 Ron Capps 2136
5 Tommy Johnson Jr 2105
6 Matt Hagan 2092
7 J.R. Todd 2089
8 Bob Tasca III 2072
9 Tim Wilkerson 2057
10 Shawn Langdon 2043

Top Fuel Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Top Fuel

1 Doug Kalitta 2180
2 Brittany Force 2147
3 Steve Torrence 2133
4 Antron Brown 2127
5 Richie Crampton 2126
6 Mike Salinas 2104
7 Austin Prock 2094
8 Leah Pritchett 2093
9 Clay Millican 2092
10 Billy Torrence 2032
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