Kalitta wins third straight – Team Kalitta Post-Race Report – Topeka

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 22, 2016) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, claimed his third straight victory today for the first time in his career at the Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Kalitta was dominate again in qualifying, earning the most bonus points, seven, and starting among the top two for the sixth time in the first eight races. His strongest two runs were shocking identical as he laid down 3.701 and 3.702 second passes in the second and fourth runs.

He started his day in the second spot and faced Rob Passey. Kalitta was not taking Passey lightly and went out and delivered a .023 reaction time to defeat Passey easily.

His second opponent was the hungry Clay Millican. Striving for his first win, Kalitta knew he was not an easy draw. Jim Oberhofer, Troy Fasching and the Mac Tools team were clutch and provided a clean run at 3.796 seconds to move the big red Mac Tools machine on.

The sixth semi-final of the season for Kalitta proved to be a repeat of the Pomona final as Kalitta faced Texan Steve Torrence. Kalitta was again stout on the tree with a .046 and the car was there with a clean 3.757 second pass to send Kalitta to the final. That pass was Kalitta’s best run of the day.

It was Kalitta’s fourth straight final round appearance and fifth in just eight events on the season. His opponent, defending champion Antron Brown, was looking to get revenge for his semi-final defeat at the Atlanta event just one week ago.

The duo watched the Funny Car battle come down to a pedal fest in front of them, and Kalitta was prepared. Both Kalitta and Brown went up in smoke instantly, but Kalitta was not going to lift up. He got the Mac Tools machine sideways at one point, but was able to gather it up quicker than Brown, earning his 41st career win in his 85th career final. It is his third straight win, something he has never done before in his incredible NHRA career.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the final,” said Kalitta, “You just take what you can get as quickly as you can do it.  Fortunately, I got there just a little quicker than Antron.  It was exciting. These wins don’t come easy, I’m just real happy to do it here.  My Mac Tools boys worked their tails off today.  It was a little surprising in the finals there, but we’re just happy to get the win.  I’m proud of our guys and the opportunity I’ve got right now.  This Mac Tools team just keeps winning rounds and doing what we’re doing.  This is a really good car and this is a really good team.  It’s all the little things that just keep adding up.  I was probably more sideways than I’ve ever been in a Top Fuel car and kept going. I straightened it out and I was just real fortunate to get this win.”

Kalitta extends his points lead to 95 over Brown in the Top Fuel race.

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, made some big moves in qualifying. Worsham claimed new career-bests in elapsed time and MPH and placed runs among the top ten in the class all-time. Worsham returned to solid numbers and qualified among the top half for the seventh time in eight events. However, even with a solid qualifying spot, sixth, the matchup was less than to be desired as Worsham’s first opponent was 16-time champion John Force.

Worsham did not allow the opponent to change his mentality. He charged the tree and delivered the best reaction time of the class, .047, to earn a holeshot win over Force. He advanced and just missed lane choice over two-time winner Tim Wilkerson in the quarterfinals.

Worsham was again ready for the second round delivering again at the starting line, but the DHL Toyota Camry fell to tire smoke early in the run. Worsham had an expert pedal effort but it was not enough against Wilkerson.

“Not the way we were hoping to finish this Topeka weekend,” said Worsham. “We were close, but could not close the deal. We will look forward to Epping and see if we can get the win there in this DHL Toyota Camry.”

Worsham slips to seventh in the standings.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, also had a stellar qualifying effort resetting her career-best in the Friday session. However, more impressive might have been the 3.878 she laid down in the final qualifying session. That run made her the only driver to run two 3.87-second passes and gave her three bonus points.

DeJoria matched up against Chad Head in the first round and was able deliver her first Topeka round win with a solid 3.963-second lap. However, the day was shorter than DeJoria would have liked as she was defeated in the quarterfinals by Courtney Force. DeJoria gained one spot in the standings to eighth.

J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, continued the performance gains throughout the Kansas Nationals weekend. Todd and the SealMaster team lost one run to a mechanical malfunction in the early part of Saturday, but the other three passes throughout Friday and Saturday were solid. Todd was the only driver to improve on his Friday qualifying effort in the last chance on Saturday and started the race just missing the top half of the field.

First up for the SealMaster team: defending Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. Todd left with the third best reaction time in the class and ran a solid 3.76-second pass but it was not enough to defeat Brown. Besides Brown and Brittany Force, Todd would have defeated every other Top Fuel driver in the first round.

“Tough and quick way to end the Kansas Nationals,” said Todd. “Not the result we were looking for with this SealMaster Toyota Top Fuel dragster. However, we did get some good data that we can utilize as the NHRA schedule gets in full swing, so I look forward to our next opportunity in Epping.”

Todd retained a spot among Top Fuel’s top five drivers leaving Kansas.

Through eight events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns four wins, nine final round appearances and three no.1 qualifiers. The NHRA series enjoys the weekend off before heading to the only four-race stretch on the season which begins in Epping, New Hampshire for the New England Nationals.

Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: No. 2 Qualifier (3.701 sec., 331.85 mph) **CAREER BEST ELAPSED TIME and MPH*

E1: Kalitta defeated Passey – 3.795 sec., 287.23 mph to 14.800 sec., 34.25 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.796 sec., 325.91 mph to 6.533 sec., 89.42 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated Torrence – 3.757 sec., 329.10 mph to 3.840 sec., 314.46 mph

Final: Kalitta defeated Brown – 5.452 sec., 238.85 mph to 5.687 sec., 298.60 mph

Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: No. 6 Qualifier (3.880 sec., 332.67 mph) **CAREER BEST ELAPSED TIME and MPH** E1: Worsham defeated J. Force – 3.953 sec., 327.27 mph to 3.951 sec., 328.70 mph

E2: Worsham defeated by Wilkerson – 5.624 sec., 141.82 mph to 3.972 sec., 324.44 mph

Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car: No. 5 Qualifier (3.875 sec., 332.18 mph) **CAREER BEST ELAPSED TIME and MPH** E1: DeJoria defeated Head – 3.963 sec., 321.81 mph to 4.188 sec., 268.06 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated by Johnson Jr. – 3.981 sec., 318.69 mph to 3.961 sec., 324.05 mph

J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster: No. 9 Qualifier (3.758 sec., 320.89 mph) E1: Todd defeated by Brown – 3.767 sec., 322.96 mph to 3.723 sec., 319.82 mph

Mello Yello Championship Points: Top Fuel (Unofficial) 1. Doug Kalitta (710) 2. Antron Brown (615) 3. Brittany Force (580) 4. Steve Torrence (557) 5. J.R. Todd (440) 5. Clay Millican (440) 7. Richie Crampton (418) 8. Tony Schumacher (403) 9. Shawn Langdon (346) 10. Terry McMillen (325)

Funny Car (Unofficial) 1. Courtney Force (601) 2. Jack Beckman (589) 3. Tim Wilkerson (554) 4. Matt Hagan (511) 5. Robert Hight (510) 6. Ron Capps (504) 7. Del Worsham (485) 8. Alexis DeJoria (451) 9. John Force (448) 10. Tommy Johnson Jr. (404)

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