Post-Race #GatorNats

DHL Sunday

Doug Kalitta and Mac Tools Race to Quarterfinals at Gatornationals

The Gatornationals is an epic event that perennial championship contender Doug Kalitta has won three times driving the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. This weekend Kalitta was looking to become just one of five drivers to have collected four or more Top Fuel victories at the race held at Gainesville Raceway. Tough qualifying conditions that included rain and frigid temperatures truncated qualifying to one session and impacted race day. With only one run Kalitta made the most of it posting a 3.718 second pass at 330.47 mph to wind up No. 5 going into eliminations. It was another solid qualifying effort after his No. 1 qualifier two weeks ago at the Arizona Nationals.
 
In the first round Kalitta faced Top Fuel newcomer Alex Laughlin and the veteran did not take the former Pro Stock racer lightly. Kalitta got the jump off the starting line and never trailed in the race winning with an improved 3.708 second pass at 330.80 mph. It was continued performance dominance for the 49-time national event winner.
 
In the quarterfinals Kalitta was paired up with Arizona Nationals winner Mike Salinas. In an incredibly close race, the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster was less than four feet from its first semifinal of 2022. Kalitta and Salinas took off together from the starting line and roared down the track side by side. They both flew across the finish line with strong times of 3.698 seconds and 3.701 seconds at 331.45 mph and 330.47 mph, respectively. It was the closest Top Fuel race of the day with Salinas advancing.
 
“The performance of this Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster is really coming around,” said Kalitta. “The win lights will start lighting up. We got a good win the first round and just missed another win . The competition is really tough, but I like my chances for sure. (Crew chiefs) Alan (Johnson) and Brian have a good handle on the race car and I feel really comfortable behind the wheel. I am ready to get to Las Vegas.”
  
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 5 (3.718 sec., 330.47 mph) 
Bonus points: 0

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                          Qual    R/T      ET        MPH 
Doug Kalitta               5          .092     3.708   330.80 (W)      
Alex Laughlin              12        .127     7.980   82.78
 
Second Round
Driver                          Qual    R/T      ET        MPH 
Doug Kalitta               5          .070     3.701   330.47
Mike Salinas               4          .066     3.698   331.65 (W)

DHL Sunday 

J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Supra Leave Gatornationals Looking to Vegas

Last year J.R. Todd tore through the Funny Car class and took home the Gatornationals trophy winning the historic event for the first time. Todd powered his DHL Toyota Camry to the season opening win and he was looking to become one of just a handful of Funny Car drivers to go back-to-back with a win this weekend.
 
In the only qualifying session J.R. Todd’s brand new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car experienced extreme tire shake as incredibly cool track temperatures made traction management an issue. Todd’s 11,000 horsepower Funny Car lost traction almost immediately and he had to shut off his race car and coats across the finish line with a time of 8.381 seconds. He generated enough power to qualify No. 11 and faced Blake Alexander in the first round.
 
Alexander was making his first appearance in 2022 and Todd’s DHL team felt confident going into the first round. Once again Mother Nature was making an impact on the racing conditions as unseasonably cold temperatures delayed the start of final eliminations by almost an hour and half to allow the air temperature to rise to a reasonable level for racing at over 330 mph. As both race cars staged it was Todd getting the jump off the starting line, but his race car once again smoked the tires immediately generating too much power to stay connected to the race track. Alexander was on an issue free pass that moved him to the quarterfinals.
 
“This was a tough weekend that we are just going to put behind us. Everyone dealt with the same conditions, so I am not making any excuses,” said Todd. “This DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team will be ready for the Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas. We will get this figured out and be all right. I have said it before this is a long season and we just need to keep our heads down and keep working hard.”
 
Todd will leave Gainesville Raceway sitting in tenth place in the NHRA Camping World Funny Car point standings. 
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 11 (8.381 sec., 86.92 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:
 
First Round
Driver                          Qual    R/T      ET                    MPH  
J.R. Todd                     11        .058     10.930             81.58  
Blake Alexander         6          .071     3.966               321.81 (W)

CMR Sunday

Shawn Langdon Debuts CMR Construction & Roofing Top Fuel at Gatornationals

As last year’s Gatornationals Top Fuel runner-up Shawn Langdon and his new-look CMR Construction & Roofing Top Fuel team had high hopes for this weekend’s race. In addition to racing for their first Gatornationals title Langdon was also competing in the Pep Boys All-Star Callout $130,000 specialty race. Massive rain showers for two days washed out a full day of qualifying on Friday and on Saturday all the teams were in a holding pattern until mid-afternoon when the NHFRA Safety Safari delivered a well prepared yet green race track for what turned out to be one round of qualifying.
 
For Langdon that qualifying session was also the first round of eliminations for the Pep Boys Callout. On Friday Langdon was “called out” by veteran Mike Salinas as his preferred first round opponent. When Saturday’s racing started, he pulled up beside veteran Salinas and his CMR Construction & Roofing Top Fuel dragster experienced a mechanical issue on the burnout. The 2013 Top Fuel world champion was able to stage but a rear end malfunction doomed his efforts to advance to the second round or post an elapsed time since his dragster barely moved off the starting line when he hit the throttle.
 
If was a disappointing turn of events for a driver who was building momentum at the start of the season. Due to weather conditions, there was only the one qualifying session, and the field was set before Langdon’s CMR Construction & Roofing dragster could get back on track. In two weeks he will be back in action at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals looking to pick up his first win of the 2022 season.
 
“We had CMR Construction & Roofing on our race car and we would have liked to have put on a better show for them,” said Langdon, “We are turning our attention to the next race and looking at what happened this weekend. I have a lot of confidence that we will keep getting better.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 21; No Time 
Bonus points: 0

 

 

 

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