HOUSTON (May 1, 2016) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, won his second consecutive Houston NHRA Springnationals earlier this afternoon.
Kalitta was among the ones to beat in qualifying once again as the Mac Tools team earned a top two starting spot for the fourth time in six events.
Lone Star native Terry Haddock, driving his Top Fuel dragster, was the first opponent for Kalitta, Jim Oberhofer and entire Mac Tools team and they did not take him lightly. They laid down the best elapsed time of the session, a 3.763, and was able to defeat the tire smoking Haddock.
Kebin Kinsley, who earned his first round win earlier in the day against points leader Brittany Force, was the second foe. However, this race was over at the tree. Kinsley turned the light red and Kalitta was able to advance despite a 4.309 second pass.
The Mac Tools team knew they had to step it up for the semi-finals and they came prepared. Leah Pritchett was in the other lane, and she never had a shot. The Mac Tools team lowered their best run from earlier to a 3.755 second lap and easily earned his 83rd final round. He had previously been in the final quad at the last event in Charlotte and started the season with a final round appearance in Pomona.
The 83rd final, which ranks fourth all-time, would put the top two qualifiers up against each other. Steve Torrence had just nipped Kalitta in qualifying and Kalitta wanted revenge. And revenge he secured. Kalitta delivered a knockout blow with a .036 second light and defeated Texan Torrence on a holeshot to earn his second consecutive win at the SpringNationals. That was the best light of any Top Fuel driver the entire event.
“I am so proud of Jim O, Troy and this entire Mac Tools team,” said Kalitta. “I am really happy and any time you can get a win is huge. It was the first time that we were able to put a Team Kalitta Toyota dragster in the winner’s circle, so that is huge as well. Thank you to all of our partners, Mac Tools. Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Champion, we could not do it without you. It was a close race out there. I had struggled with the lights today today and to deliver that in the final was huge.”
This win locked Kalitta in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout and put him in a tie for fourth all-time in Top Fuel wins with 39.
Kalitta trails Brittany Force by a single point for the Top Fuel points lead leaving Houston.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, returned to Texas with fond memories of the last time he was in the Lone Star state. Worsham was the victor of the last race in Texas, when he drove past Jack Beckman to win the Countdown event in Dallas on his way to the Funny Car title.
Worsham was stellar on the Friday qualifying laps at the Springnationals. Two consecutive 3.92 second passes yielded three bonus points and a solid starting position, fourth. This was the fifth time in six events this season that Worsham had qualified in the top five of the class.
Like his teammates DeJoria and Kalitta, Worsham faced a local Texan driver in the first round: Todd Simpson. Simpson made a clean pass, but he was not good enough to get around the stellar tune up delivered by Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante. Worsham ran the second-best lap of the round to earn lane choice over Beckman in round 2. However, another 3.94 second run would not be enough to deliver Worsham another semi-final berth.
“Not the finish we wanted,” said Worsham. “It seems like a repeat from last year. Wrong place at the wrong time. However, the DHL Toyota Camry is still stout and we are confident in our set-up. We will go to Atlanta and do our best to win our first race of the season there.”
Worsham slipped to seventh in the standings.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, reset her career-best elapsed time in Charlotte, just one race ago, but would not be outdone in Houston. With beautiful conditions on Friday evening, DeJoria and tuner Tommy DeLago were ready and delivered a monster pass. 3.910 seconds bettered her career-best elapsed time by over two-hundredths and delivered DeJoria her first career back-to-back top two starts. DeJoria also proved to have a great Camry in the heat of the day conditions. She ran the best number, a 4.009, of the entire Funny Car class in the third session.
The first round matchup was supposed to be versus fellow Texan John Hale, but after he broke on the burnout, DeJoria ran a single. The 3.939 second run was the best of any driver in the first round and gave DeJoria confidence heading into the second round. However, despite a stellar light and pass, she was unable to move on against Tommy Johnson Jr.
DeJoria holds on to the eighth place in the point standings.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, came off an outstanding Charlotte qualifying effort and with much excitement for the first back-to-back NHRA events of the season. However, qualifying for the SealMaster ride did not exactly go as planned. With only 16 machines on the property, the team elected to run some new parts and learn throughout the four passes. The best conditions proved to be Friday evening, and the SealMaster team experienced mechanical issues on that pass which forced them to start the race in the 12th position.
The 12th starting spot meant a tough first round draw: defending Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. The sixth pair to see the cloud-covered drag strip, Todd was ready for his turn. With the best reaction time of the round, a .057, Todd had the early advantage. However, the SealMaster machine lost traction soon after. Todd had a attempted to pedal the car once, but Brown was too far in front for Todd to catch him. However, this was only his second first round lost of the season, which is tied for the second-best rank of the class.
“A long, tough weekend for the SealMaster team,” said Todd. “I have a lot of good memories at this facility and I hoped to make more, but it was not our race. Team Kalitta has had a lot success at these next two events (Topeka and Atlanta) and I look forward to returning to winning rounds there..”
Despite the first round loss, Todd retains his sixth place standing in the point picture.
Through six events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns two wins, six final round appearances and two no.1 qualifiers. NHRA enjoys the Mother’s Day weekend off and then will return with back-to-back events in Atlanta and Topeka.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: No. 2 Qualifier (3.743 sec., 324.36 mph) E1: Kalitta defeated Haddock – 3.763 sec., 325.69 mph to 6.200 sec., 115.25 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated Kinsley – 4.309 sec., 266.85 mph to foul
E3: Kalitta defeated Pritchett – 3.755 sec., 322.11 mph to 4.639 sec., 187.08 mph
Final: Kalitta defeated Torrence – 3.813 sec., 280.60 mph to 3.810 sec., 306.81 mph (Holeshot win: Kalitta light .036, Torrence light .058)
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: No. 4 Qualifier (3.923 sec., 328.06 mph) **TRACK RECORD MPH** E1: Worsham defeated Simpson – 3.946 sec., 324.83 mph to 4.244 sec., 284.45 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by Beckman – 3.944 sec., 324.59 mph to 3.949 sec., 325.22 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car: No. 2 Qualifier (3.910 sec., 324.90 mph) **CAREER BEST ELAPSED TIME** E1: DeJoria defeated Hale – 3.939 sec., 321.73 mph to broke
E2: DeJoria defeated by Johnson Jr. – 3.971 sec., 321.58 mph to 3.985 sec., 316.97 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster: No. 12 Qualifier (3.889 sec., 300.53 mph) E1: Todd defeated by Brown – 5.054 sec., 142.26 mph to 3.823 sec., 313.66 mph
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 Champions, 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.
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports: For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online – Website: www.teamkalitta.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/TeamKalitta Twitter: www.twitter.com/TeamKalitta YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/TeamKalitta Instagram: www.instagram.com/TeamKalitta