EPPING, NH (June 14, 2015) – Team Kalitta saw both of their Toyota Racing Camrys move to the quarterfinals earlier today in Epping, New Hampshire for the tenth event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, the New England Nationals.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, started off qualifying with a bang. His 4.073 second pass was the best in the first round on Friday. Worsham walked away with three bonus points and the opportunity to really go for the hero run in evening session. That pass did not stick but the two Saturday passes were consistent and with conditions promising to be similar on Sunday, the entire DHL team was prepared for racing.
Worsham’s first opponent was Tim Wilkerson. It was the third time in the past four events that they have had to face each other. Worsham ran their recent record to 2-1 as he was able to catch the smoking tires of the DHL Camry quicker and move on to face fellow Toyota Racing driver Cruz Pedregon. Pedregon took a stab at the tree, and laid down the best run of round two to move to the semi-finals. Worsham’s 4.152 would have beat any other car out there except the one he was racing.
“Eventually the luck will turn our way,” said Worsham. “Unfortunately our solid run aboard the DHL Toyota Camry was not fast enough. My team is solid, and we will regroup and move to Bristol.”
Worsham will remain among the top five drivers in points heading into Bristol.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, was looking for her recent success to continue after she advanced to a final round last weekend at the Toyota Summernationals. Through qualifying it looked like Tommy DeLago was going to tune her right back to another final round. DeJoria’s Toyota Camry had the second-best qualifying average throughout the four runs. It made it down the track each time and earned a top-half qualifying position.
DeJoria’s first matchup was Ron Capps. The last pair in the first session, DeJoria had to watch her teammate struggle to a win in front of her. Unfazed, DeJoria lined up the car and stuck with her car despite losing a cylinder late to defeat Capps in the first round. Her second opponent was the no.1 qualifier, Tommy Johnson, Jr. DeJoria got a jump at the tree, but struggled down the track to hand the round win to Johnson, Jr.
DeJoria holds her spot among the top ten drivers heading into Thunder Valley.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, was solid throughout qualifying. The first three runs were clean and straight down the New England Dragway strip. Although there was tire smoke in the fourth session, Jim Oberhofer and the Mac Tools team knew were the boundary was and prepared for their first round matchup in the first round versus Brittany Force.
The second pair to hit the hot track; Force and Kalitta both hit tire smoke at the same portion of the track. Kalitta’s Mac Tools ride was slightly ahead at that point, but the safety system clicked in and Force was able to pedal her way into the second round.
“Not the day we were hoping for with our Mac Tools dragster,” said Kalitta. “The entire team will regroup and drive to Bristol and hopefully we can go some rounds there.”
Kalitta slips one spot to sixth in the drivers’ standings after Epping.
J.R. Todd, driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, continues to have bad luck on race day. Todd, who only trails Tony Schumacher in bonus points earned, gained another two points in qualifying. He ran a stellar 3.859 second round in the heat of Saturday to set his Kalitta Air dragster in the eighth position and a first round pairing with Clay Millican.
Millican, one of the drivers trying to fight their way into the top ten with Todd, was a tick behind Todd in qualifying.
In the last pair of the extended Top Fuel session due to multiple oil-downs, Todd had a solid reaction time and was out on Millican till the eighth mile, when Millican was able to take the small win.
The tricky weather yielded just four three second runs in the first round for Top Fuel, and Todd’s was the only one not to advance to round two.
“Another close race that just didn’t go our way,” said Todd. “The Kalitta Air team continues to put together solid passes, and hopefully that will change over to Sunday success in Bristol.”
Todd retains his top ten points position heading into Thunder Valley.
After ten races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won one event, advanced to five final rounds and earned two no.1 qualifying positions. The final race of three consecutive takes the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series to Bristol for next weekend’s Thunder Valley Nationals.
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 7 Qualifier (4.073 sec., 313.66 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Wilkerson – 4.366 sec., 231.04 mph to 4.450 sec., 208.59 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by C. Pedregon – 4.152 sec., 308.14 mph to 4.119, 284.51 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 8 Qualifier (4.075 sec., 309.42 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated Capps – 4.172 sec., 292.90 mph to 4.212 sec., 272.78 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated by Johnson, Jr. – 4.439 sec., 201.61 mph to 4.157 sec., 306.60 mph
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 7 Qualifier (3.795 sec., 323.12 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Force – 5.039 sec., 117.17 mph to 4.287 sec., 211.03 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 8 Qualifier (3.813 sec., 322.27 mph)
E1: Todd defeated by Millican – 3.911 sec., 288.64 mph to 3.822 sec., 322.42 mph
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:
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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 50 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 Kalitta Air 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 Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.