COMMERCE, Ga (May 17, 2015) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, and J.R. Todd, driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, advanced past the first round today at the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals.
The track for Kalitta’s 400th career race proved to be tricky throughout qualifying as many team succumbed to tire shake on Atlanta Dragway’s 120 degree track. However, Jim Oberhofer nailed the setup in round four. Kalitta earned 2 bonus points for his efforts and another top-half qualifying position. He faced another top team in the sport, Don Schumacher Racing’s Spencer Massey in the first round.
They were the final pair to come up to the line in the first round filled with upsets. However, Kalitta’s Mac Tools team would not be stopped. A stellar reaction time plus a 3.805 second run equaled a first round win.
Kalitta drew no.1 qualifier Antron Brown in round 2 and despite solid early numbers lit up the tires down the track to end his day.
“The entire Mac Tools team did a good job this weekend,” said Kalitta. “We look forward to one of our best tracks (Topeka) next weekend and seeing what kinda of number we can lay down there.”
Todd started off the weekend right. The legendary Connie Kalitta laid down a 3.807 second pass in the first session to earn two bonus points and set up the weekend well for the Kalitta Air team. Boasting new paint colors, the team learned from the Atlanta heat and track temperatures on Saturday and felt prepared their first round opponent: team owner and now part-time driver Morgan Lucas.
A long tree tried to put an end to the weekend for Todd, but he stayed poised and drove the Kalitta Air team past Morgan Lucas running what was the top speed of the weekend.
Todd faced another part-time opponent in Leah Pritchett in round 2, but Pritchett, who was having a career-best weekend, laid down another consistent pass. Todd tried to pedal the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, but it was not enough as he was defeated in round 2.
“It was good to get past round one in the Kalitta Air ride,” said Todd. “but we are looking for more. I am excited to go to Kansas, a track where Kalitta Motorsports has so much historical success, and see if I can have my chance to add to that legacy.”
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, struggled in the Atlanta heat and humidity on Friday failing to record a pass that would earn them placement inside the top 12. However, Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante quickly figured out the tricky Atlanta Dragway recording two of the best passes on Saturday, earning two bonus points and moving into the 11th position. His draw was probably the most consistent ride among the Funny Car ranks this weekend, Tim Wilkerson.
Del was the sixth pair down the track, but the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car just did not have enough, as Wilkerson laid down the best run of the entire first session. This is the first time this season that Worsham has lost in the first round in back-to-back races.
“It really stings to go out in the first round,” said Worsham. “We were good, but not good enough. Luckily we are racing next weekend and we look to rebound with this entire DHL team in Topeka.”
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, was on a great pass Friday evening before it shut off before the finish line. The Tommy DeLago tune-up still was able to record a 4.064 second run at only 284 mph. The team worked on their race set-up on the heat of Saturday, mastering it in the final session.
DeJoria drew surprise bottom-half qualifier Ron Capps, who is the point standings’ leader. DeJoria made a solid pass but Capps was just a tick quicker and was able to move on to round 2.
All four Kalitta Motorsports teams retained their top ten points placements after the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals.
After seven races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won one event, advanced to four final rounds and earned two no.1 qualifying positions. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Heartland Park Topeka next weekend for the Topeka Nationals.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 8 Qualifier (3.863 sec., 319.60 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Massey – 3.805 sec., 317.12 mph to 3.815 sec., 326.48 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated by Brown – 4.024 sec., 272.89 mph to 3.856 sec., 315.56 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 6 Qualifier (3.807 sec., 321.35 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Lucas – 3.911 sec., 326.432 mph to 4.224 sec., 196.87 mph
E2: Todd defeated by Pritchett – 5.433 sec., 132.19 mph to 3.813 sec., 319.29 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 11 Qualifier (4.023 sec., 314.97 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated by Wilkerson – 4.106 sec., 311.77 mph to 4.035 sec., 317.79 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 8 Qualifier (4.064 sec., 284.81 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated by Capps – 4.091 sec., 311.92 mph to 4.081 sec., 311.99 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (567)
2. Tony Schumacher (514)
3. Spencer Massey (475)
4. Doug Kalitta (445)
5. Shawn Langdon (437)
6. Richie Crampton (427)
7. Larry Dixon (389)
8. Clay Millican (363)
9. Steve Torrence (360)
10. J.R. Todd (355)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (523)
2. Matt Hagan (502)
3. Del Worsham (435)
4. Robert Hight (428)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (424)
6. Jack Beckman (413)
7. John Force (407)
8. Tim Wilkerson (387)
9. Alexis DeJoria (361)
10. Courtney Force (356)
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 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.