BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 15, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports drivers’ Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd and Del Worsham preview the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee. This is the 11th race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.
Kalitta makes plan for latest Bristol trimuph
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, earned his class-best ninth first round win in the first ten events last weekend in Englishtown, however, after being stopped in the second round, the points leader is ready for a return to Thunder Valley.
Kalitta and his Mac Tools team have been on an incredible streak. Englishtown saw Kalitta score his Top Fuel-leading 23rd round win, something he did not achieve till the Countdown for the Championship last season. However, Kalitta would like nothing more than to begin another winning run at Bristol Dragway.
The current Bristol event debuted in 2001, and Kalitta forever scripted his name in the Thunder Valley Nationals record book as the inaugural Top Fuel winner. He has gone on to add two other wins in 2005 and 2006. Combine that with three other final round appearances, Kalitta has been in the finals six times in the first 15 Thunder Valley events.
“Bristol is a very fun place to race,” said Kalitta. “It was special to win the first race here, and it would be great to add another Thunder Valley trophy to our collection. The Mac Tools team continues to run strong and I know my guys are ready for another long Sunday.”
If Kalitta would claim the pole this weekend, it would be his first at Thunder Valley. Bristol is one of just two tracks that Kalitta has yet to claim a no.1 qualifier (Charlotte).
After stellar first round win, Todd is ready for a run at the trophy
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, had the car to beat in the first round of Englishtown. Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn tuned Todd up to a class-best 3.754 second lap, easily the best run of the round and what ended up being the low pass of the day. However, after joining the majority of the field in tire smoke in round two, Todd is ready for a return to the track.
The driver of the SealMaster entry picked up one spot in the standings to sixth, but for a return to the top five, Todd knows he has to avoid an early exit.
Todd has shown strength since joining Kalitta Motorsports in Thunder Valley. In his 2014 debut, Todd qualified second and last season, he nearly earned his first Bristol final round appearance by defeating Brittany Force and Tony Schumacher in the first two rounds.
“Even though we just departed Englishtown, the SealMaster team and I are ready to be back on track,” said Todd. “We had a strong run in Bristol last season, and I would love to go two rounds further. It is a very cool race because it is run on Father’s Day and to win with my family around would be very neat.”
Worsham wants to turn Thunder Valley qualifying success into a win
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, continued his run of strong runs at the NHRA Summernationals just days ago. With his fourth consecutive semi-final finish or better in Englishtown, Worsham used his strong performance to return to the top five in the point standings.
Worsham has earned first round victories in eight of the first ten events and is on current streak of back-to-back semi-final finishes. However, Worsham is still chasing that first win of the season.
Bristol may be the perfect place to earn that victory. Since joining Kalitta Motorsports, Worsham has an average starting position of second with two poles. Despite that Friday and Saturday success, Worsham is looking for his first Thunder Valley final round since his win in 2009.
With his daughter’s graduating to high school this weekend, the Father’s Day event promises to be a special event for Worsham.
“We are gaining on it,” said Worsham. “The DHL team is focused and the Thunder Valley Nationals would be a perfect place to get our first win of the season. Team Kalitta and I have both had some success here in the Funny Cars and I know we have the car to cross the finish line in first.”
(Doug Kalitta, Del Worsham, J.R. Todd)
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 six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta is the home of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car World Champion, Del Worsham. He drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the SealMaster 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, Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, Rob Flynn on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster and Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Optima Batteries, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.