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Kalitta Motorsports News

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2015) – Kalitta Motorsports, the nitro-fueled, four-car NHRA drag racing team based in Ypsilanti, Mich., has completed qualifying for the Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Results and quotes follow.

Del Worsham Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

Q1: 6.915 sec., 94.20 mph
Q2: 3.974 sec., 324.05 mph
Q3: 3.941 sec., 323.89 mph (Two bonus points for the second best run of the session.)
Q4: 3.896 sec., 326.32 mph (One bonus points for the best run of the session.)

No. 3 Qualifier

Alexis DeJoria Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:

Q1: 5.107 sec., 146.97 mph
Q2: 3.987 sec., 318.02 mph
Q3: 4.391 sec., 200.95 mph
Q4: 7.761 sec., 89.48 mph

No. 8 Qualifier

J.R. Todd Driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster:

Q1: 3.946 sec., 270.43 mph
Q2: 3.846 sec., 273.77 mph
Q3: 3.764 sec., 330.80 mph (Two bonus points for the second best run of the session.)
Q4: 3.732 sec., 331.61 mph (One bonus point for the third best run of the session.)

No. 4 Qualifier

Note: Todds 331.61 MPH in the final qualifying round reset his career best.

Doug Kalitta Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:

Q1: 3.801 sec., 320.20 mph
Q2: 3.771 sec., 319.82 mph
Q3: 3.845 sec., 316.67 mph
Q4: 3.772 sec., 322.34 mph

No. 10 Qualifier

First Round Competition:

3) Del Worsham v. 14) Tony Pedregon

8) Alexis DeJoria v. 9) Courtney Force

4) J.R. Todd v. 13) Troy Buff

10) Doug Kalitta v. 7) Tony Schumacher


Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: Great qualify effort for the DHL Toyota team. We have the Camry running strong and I am proud of our effort. We will go into tomorrow and lay it all out on the line.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car: It has not been the best qualifying session for us, but remarkably, in q2, shutting it off at 900 feet, we still ran a .98, so that puts in the field at the eighth position which is amazing. We are just going to go out there and do our best. It is the last race of the season, we want to win. We definitely would like to go out with a win, but we have to remember to enjoy ourselves as well, because it is a really tough deal out there right now. I wish the best to our teammates tomorrow. We are going to do our best to win the race tomorrow and be a good blocker for Del.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: The Mac Tools ride was definitely consistent this weekend and we improved almost every session. A tough draw in round one, but after the Vegas results we are convinced we have a hot rod that will be one to beat tomorrow.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster: Great qualifying effort for the Optima Batteries team. We hurt some parts, but the car ran really well today with some big MPHs. We are ready for tomorrow and are focused on ending the season strong.

ESPN TV Schedule:

11/15 Qualifications - 2:30 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. EST (ESPN2)

11/15 Qualifications - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST (ESPN2)

11/15 Eliminations - 9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. EST (ESPN2)

Times and dates subject to change.

Event Schedule:

Sundays eliminations begin at 11:00 p.m. PST.

Times and dates subject to change.


POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2015) – The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season comes to a close this weekend as Team Kalitta moves to the Auto Club Finals looking to finish the Countdown strong by continuing the run of success the team has experienced in the last five events.

Through the 18 regular season events, Kalitta Motorsports tallied three victories, but proved to be more than ready for the Countdown for the Championship once it began. Team Kalitta is tied for best among all NHRA nitro teams with four total victories in the five countdown events and is on pace for the best Countdown run of the team’s history.

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and current Funny Car points leader, plans on making the 2015 season even more memorable for the Kalitta Motorsports team.

He has already clinched the best points finish ever for a Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car team, but is looking to achieve even more. Worsham, who lives less than an hour from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, has led the championship points after every Countdown event. The DHL team comes into the weekend 38 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Jack Beckman, for the Funny Car championship. Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps are also still mathematically alive for the title.

With two pro titles already clinched, Worsham knows many eyes will be on him and his DHL team as they try to clinch Kalitta Motorsports’ first title since the late Scott Kalitta’s back-to-back Top Fuel championships in the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

“Obviously it is a big weekend,” said Worsham. “I am so proud of my DHL guys; they have stayed focused and consistent throughout the entire countdown run. The finals are here and we plan on doing everything we can to achieve this title for the entire Kalitta Motorsports family.”

Worsham was in a very similar situation during his 2011 Top Fuel Championship. Worsham came into the weekend trailing Spencer Massey by two points, and drove a clutch race defeating Massey in a winner-take-all round that gave Worsham the Auto Club Finals Wally and the Championship trophy.

That win is one of three race wins for Worsham at Pomona. He also has earned Funny Car victories in 2001 and 2003 and is one of four drivers to own Top Fuel and Funny Car Wallys. Earlier this season, Worsham qualified among the top half of the Funny Car field and earned round wins over Chad Head and Courtney Force to earn a semi-final finish.

Fans can spend time with Worsham in many different unique opportunities this weekend. The inaugural Kalitta Softball Classic takes place this weekend at Big League Dreams in Chino Hills on Thursday at 5pm. Worsham will play on the Funny Car team which will be led by captain, Tommy DeLago. Alexis DeJoria and the DHL and Patrón crews will complete the roster. They will face Top Fuel captain Jim Oberhofer, Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd and the Mac Tools and Optima Batteries groups in the inter-team battle of Top Fuel versus Funny Car.

Once the Auto Club Finals weekend begins, fans can meet Worsham at the Mello Yello Powerhouse and Toyota Pit Pass displays.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, rebounded in a big way at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas.

Coming into the race weekend in the tenth position in the point standings, Kalitta earned his third victory of the season by defeating a tire smoking Larry Dixon in the final round. Kalitta’s three victories are the most he has recorded in one season since he earned five in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006.

However, this win did not come easily. After struggling on the first day of qualifying, Kalitta’s crew chief, Jim Oberhofer, made a tough decision to switch chassis. The Mac Tools crew worked tirelessly to switch out all the components to the new chassis, which had not seen the track since Pomona earlier this season. Saturday saw the new machine make two consistent runs, but Kalitta was only able to earn the 13th starting position.

The 13th position proved lucky for Kalitta as the new pipe got better with each run. Kalitta defeated four Countdown drivers on the day: Steve Torrence, Richie Crampton, Antron Brown and Dixon. His run versus Brown proved to be the closest finish of the season for the Top Fuel ranks as Kalitta defeated the newly crowned champion by less than three inches.

The win moved Kalitta from tenth to sixth in the standings, less than one round from a return to the top five. He won at Pomona in 2009 and has advanced to the finals at the track four times since 2010.

“It was great to get a win for Mac Tools and all the distributors in Las Vegas,” said Kalitta. “We want to continue to work on this new chassis and learn so we can be prepared for the 2016 season.”

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, is on track for her career-best Countdown effort. DeJoria earned her fifth Countdown round win by defeating NHRA legend John Force in the first round of the Toyota Nationals, matching DeJoria’s total from last season.

DeJoria ended with a strong effort at last year’s Auto Club Finals. She earned her third career no.1 qualifier and defeated Gary Densham and Robert Hight to earn a semi-final finish. Pomona is a special place for DeJoria as she became the first female in NHRA history to run a sub-four second pass during the spring event in 2014.

She also has the potential to achieve a new career high in the point standings. She sits just two rounds behind Force for seventh and three rounds back from Hight for sixth.

“It’s been a turbulent season up to this point,” said DeJoria. “We have had some very great runs and round wins, plus we are in the top ten no matter what. This weekend will be about finishing well and hopefully going up in points. And I’ll do my best to not only win but be one hell of a blocker for Del!”

DeJoria will be signing autographs at the Toyota Pit Pass display and Patrón merchandise hauler.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster, finishes his first complete season for Kalitta Motorsports this weekend.

One of his eight career victories came at Pomona when he claimed his fourth career win at the Winternationals in 2007. He defeated future teammate Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinals, before talking down friend Brandon Bernstein in the final round.

Todd, who will finish among the top ten drivers for the second consecutive year and fourth year overall, has struggled in recent weeks, but is feeling optimistic going into the weekend.

“It has been a tough couple races for the Optima Batteries guys,” said Todd. “We want to end the season on a high note and then begin work on how we can get better for next season.”

Last season, Todd finished the season strong with a top five qualifying effort and a semi-final finish after defeating Bob Vandergriff and Steve Torrence in the first two rounds.

Two more round wins in this year’s edition of the Auto Club Finals could be big for Todd as he sits just 40 points from seventh in the standings.

Todd will meet fans at various stops this weekend including sessions at the Top Eliminator Club. He will also join his teammate, Doug Kalitta, at the SealMaster display on Saturday.

Tommy DeLago and Jim Oberhofer

YPSILANTI, Mich. (November 4, 2015) - For years, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series drivers, crew members and fans have argued over what is the best nitro class: Top Fuel or Funny Car. Team Kalitta looks to settle the long-running argument through the first annual Kalitta Softball Classic on Thursday, November 12 at Big League Dreams in Chino Hills, Calif.

Fans are encouraged to come and pack the stands. Playing to our own heritage, Team Kalitta will play on the replica Detroit Tigers field with the game running from 5-7pm. There is a three dollar charge to enter the facility.

Leading the charge are two well-respected men each representing their own class.

Jim Oberhofer, a 30-year veteran of Kalitta Motorsports, has risen from crew member to the Vice President of Operations role. His passion continues to lie with Top Fuel racing as he has led Doug Kalitta to five victories and 13 final round appearances in the last two seasons. The crew chief on the Mac Tools dragster will be the captain of the Top Fuel team which will include J.R. Todd and members of the Mac Tools crew and Todds team, which has been sponsored this season by Optima Batteries, Red Line Oil and SealMaster.

Tommy DeLago will be his fiercest rival as the leader of the Funny Car charge. DeLago, the 2011 Funny Car Champion crew chief, was the first person to tune a driver to a sub 4.0 second run. His team will consist of the current Funny Car points leader, Del Worsham, and DeLagos driver, Alexis DeJoria, and members of the DHL and Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio crews.

Team Kalitta has had a record-breaking season, and I could not think of a better way to end this effort then letting our outstanding employees have a great time playing Americas favorite pastime. It is going to be a great way to end this outstanding year, said Oberhofer.

Fans and family that cannot attend can follow along on Team Kalittas Instagram, Periscope and Twitter social media channels and show their support of either team by using the hashtags: #KalittaSoftballTF or #KalittaSoftballFC. Followers will be able to vote on polls, cheer on the teams and see live action.

Doug Kalitta

LAS VEGAS (November 1, 2015) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Wrenching For A Cure Top Fuel dragster, picked up his third win on the season at the Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kalitta struggled in day one in qualifying barely holding on to a top twelve spot going into Saturday. Crew chief Jim Oberhofer had enough. He had the Mac Tools crew take out the back-up chassis and it was much more consistent instantly. Kalitta better his run both times on Saturday. He earned the 13th starting spot running a 3.839 second pass.
Fellow Countdown contender Steve Torrence was the first opponent. Torrence dropped a cylinder at the hit and Doug was on a run. Kalitta made his best run of the weekend, 3.791, to move on and earn lane choice over Richie Crampton in round 2.

Crampton versus Kalitta was a tough match-up for the Mac Tools team, but Kalitta was ready at the tree and inched out just a bit further each time to move back to the semis for the first time since his win in Norwalk.

But Kalitta was not done yet. In the battle with the pink tool cars, Kalitta beat Antron Brown by two inches with a stellar 3.774 second pass. That took Kalitta back to the finals in Las Vegas in back-to-back seasons and six overall. His opponent: the hungry multi-time champion Larry Dixon.

Dixon and Kalitta were both stellar on the tree, but Dixon fell to immediate tire smoke. Although Kalitta blew an injector near the finish line, he was able to cross the finish line first.

“The last race for the Mac Tools for the pink Wrenching for a Cure breast cancer awareness scheme,” said Kalitta. “It was big to get a win with those colors. It was great to see so many fans here. It might have been a lucky win but we will take it. So many of our great sponsors are here and to celebrate with them is thrilling.”
Kalitta advanced from tenth to sixth in the standings less than one round from the top five. This is the fourth time in Team Kalitta history that we have won three straight events.

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, came into the weekend on a tear, with three wins in the last four NHRA events. However, with just a 38-point lead, it was not time to coast to the finish line.

Worsham was again solid throughout qualifying with three sub-four second runs and a total of three bonus points earned. The sixth spot would be Worsham’s starting position and a ESPN Marquee Matchup in round one versus the defending champion Matt Hagan.

Worsham, the defending Funny Car champion at the Toyota Nationals, chose to go last in the session but was very ready to go. With a .051 reaction time, Worsham had the second best move off the line in the class, and defeated Hagan with another solid 3.977 run.

California neighbor Robert Hight was his second round draw. Worsham watched as his closest competitor, Jack Beckman, was defeated earlier in the session but was not distracted. With another solid light, Worsham and Hight were close all the way down the track. He was ahead at the 60’ mark, but Hight inched ahead at the finish line winning the race by about a foot.

“The DHL team has continue to perform at the highest level; Robert just barely outran us there,” said Worsham. “Our ultimate goal is still in our control, we plan on going to Pomona and working hard on achieving the title.”

Worsham leaves Las Vegas with a 38-point advantage over Jack Beckman. Tommy Johnson Jr. is 97 points behind.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, stayed in Ennis and tested after the AAA Fall Nationals. The testing results definitely showed in qualifying as DeJoria blazed down the track in three of four sessions earning two valuable bonus points.

Ten Funny Cars ran in the three-second zone in qualifying for the second time, and DeJoria was one. She started just outside the top half and a first round draw with John Force.

DeJoria and her crew chief, Tommy DeLago, had a very solid run in the first round. Her 4.004 second lap defeated J. Force, who dropped a cylinder.

DeJoria’s next opponent was the pole winner, Tommy Johnson Jr. DeJoria’s Toyota Camry was gaining on Johnson throughout the run, but it gave up before the finish line allowing Johnson to barely hold on.

“This was a big weekend for Kalitta Motorsports and for Team Patrón XO Café Incendio. It was our manufacturer’s race, Toyota Nationals, and the hometown of Patrón Spirits corporate offices,” said DeJoria. “We also got to bring the mammovans out again, so that was wonderful. Racing was pretty good. We qualified well. We had the consitency that we have been looking for, so that was nice. Raceday didn't go the way we wanted it to. I am not happy with my performance. I think I could have done better. We are going to stay and test on Monday and smooth some things out again. It has been a tough year, but that being said, we are still in the top ten. We have one more race left, so it is not over yet.”

DeJoria slipped to the eight spot in the standings, but is just two rounds from sixth in the standings.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster, had a rough qualifying effort on Friday with the Optima Batteries ride failing to make a run that was good enough to hold amongst the top twelve in the class.

However, the “Bounty Hunter” Connie Kalitta was ready for the 107 degree track on Sunday. Todd’s 3.770 second run was low of the first effort of the day, earning Todd three bonus points and getting him a solid top half qualifying effort.

Seventh spot is what Todd drew, and for the second time in three events, a first round pairing with Tony Schumacher. Todd beat him off the line, but fell to smoke quickly leading to the defeat in the first round.

“Another very early day for the Optima Batteries team,” said Todd. “Not what we were looking for in Las Vegas, especially with all of our recent success. We will look to rebound and move up a few spots in the standings at the World Finals in Pomona.”

Todd is tenth in the standings.

After 23 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won seven events, advanced to 13 final rounds and earned four no.1 qualifying positions. Just one race remains in the 2015 Mello Yello Series season: the AAA World Finals in Pomona, November 13-15.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Wrenching for a Cure Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 13 Qualifier (3.839 sec., 315.49 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated S. Torrence - 3.791 sec., 321.58 mph to 3.886 sec., 311.49 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated Crampton - 3.796 sec., 317.05 mph to 3.801 sec., 322.50 mph
E3: Kalitta defeated Brown - 3.774 sec., 322.73 mph to 3.786 sec., 317.94 mph
Final: Kalitta defeated Dixon - 4.239 sec., 207.59 mph to 8.110 sec., 73.95 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 6 Qualifier (3.969 sec., 325.92 mph)

E1: Worsham defeated Hagan - 3.977 sec., 322.19 mph to 4.773 sec., 167.59 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by Hight - 3.994 sec., 321.88 mph to 3.983 sec., 318.92 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 9 Qualifier (3.984 sec., 319.22 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated J. Force - 4.004 sec., 314.90 mph to 4.261 sec., 307.02 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated by Johnson Jr. - 4.008 sec., 291.32 mph to 4.008 sec., 309.13 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 7 Qualifier (3.770 sec., 327.51 mph)

E1: Todd defeated by Schumacher - 5.031 sec., 153.21 mph to 3.796 sec., 321.88 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Antron Brown (2588)
2. Tony Schumacher (2426)
3. Larry Dixon (2372)
4. Richie Crampton (2356)
5. Brittany Force (2331)
6. Doug Kalitta (2316)
7. Steve Torrence (2289)
8. Shawn Langdon (2275)
9. Dave Connolly (2271)
10. J.R. Todd (2249)
Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Del Worsham (2545)
2. Jack Beckman (2507)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2448)
4. Ron Capps (2405)
5. Matt Hagan (2361)
6. Robert Hight (2314)
7. John Force (2300)
8. Alexis DeJoria (2260)
9. Cruz Pedregon (2233)
10. Tim Wilkerson (2227)

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 100 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 Optima Batteries 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 Optima Batteries 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.

Kalitta Merchandise


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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