Shawn Langdon, DHL Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: Shawn Langdon was the No. 7 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. During Saturday’s third and final round of qualifying, Langdon reached the finish line in 3.758 seconds at 333.33 mph.
Eliminations: Langdon ran a 3.740-second pass and defeated Tony Schumacher by .0147 seconds in the first round. In the quarterfinals, he posted a 3.743-second effort but lost to Brittany Force’s 3.729-second pass by .0348 seconds.
Unofficial Point Standings: Langdon leaves Pomona in sixth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails fifth-place Leah Pritchett by 14 points and leads his teammate, Doug Kalitta, by five points.
Langdon on Pomona: “The Top Fuel competition level is very strong this year,” Langdon said. “You can easily have a first or second-round opponent you’d expect to see in the final. We qualified mid pack, and our first-round opponent, all three of our first-round opponents this year actually, could have been final-round opponents. All three of our first-round races were won or lost on a hole shot, which is awesome – I thrive on that. What gets me going is close races and the ability to win or lose the race on the starting line.
“We’ve made great runs this year, and we haven’t made a bad run during eliminations. The car’s been really good, and the guys are making good calls. Really, every race we’ve lost was a close race. The DHL Toyota team has nothing to hang our heads about, and I really appreciate all their hard work. All we can do is just learn from here. We have a top-five car, and I know we have the ability to win races. It’s just really, really tough in Top Fuel right now so we have to run well, and things just kind of have to fall your way. We’ve been on the wrong end of some good races, but that gives us something to strive for going forward.”
Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: Doug Kalitta was the No. 11 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. During Saturday’s final qualifying session, Kalitta posted a 3.793-second elapsed time at 325.30 mph.
Eliminations: Kalitta raced Antron Brown in the first round of eliminations and lost when the tires on the Mac Tools dragster lost traction almost immediately.
Unofficial Point Standings: Kalitta leaves Pomona in seventh place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails his teammate, sixth-place Shawn Langdon, by 14 points and leads eighth-place Antron Brown by five points.
Kalitta on Pomona: “This weekend definitely didn’t go as we hoped – it was a tough weekend, but that doesn’t take away from all the hard work my guys are putting into the Mac Tools dragster every day,” Kalitta said. “I really appreciate everything they do, and I know our hard work will pay off in the long run. We didn’t get the result we wanted this weekend, but I’m just as confident in our race team as ever. We’ll regroup, get prepared for Las Vegas and be ready to race when we get there.”
J.R. Todd, DHL Funny Car
Qualifying: J.R. Todd was the No. 5 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. During the second round of qualifying, Todd made his best qualifying effort reaching the finish line in 3.935 seconds at 328.86 mph. After he passed the finish line, the driver in the other lane, John Force, crossed the center line and made contact with Todd’s car twice forcing the DHL Toyota GR Supra team to go to a backup car for the final round of qualifying and race day.
Eliminations: Todd raced Alex Laughlin in the first round. He was ahead and approaching the finish line when the tires on the DHL Toyota spun causing a massive explosion which destroyed the Toyota GR Supra body. Like the incident in qualifying, Todd was uninjured thanks to the safety features created by Toyota, TRD and Kalitta Motorsports.
Unofficial Point Standings: Todd leaves Pomona in seventh place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails sixth-place Chad Green by 23 points and leads eighth-place Tim Wilkerson by 20 points.
Todd on Pomona: “If you knew a weekend like this was coming, you’d rather stay home,” Todd said. “More than anything, I just hate all the work that’s been created for all my guys – especially right before an off weekend. With all the work the DHL team’s been doing up to this point, my guys needed that off week badly. Now they have a ton more work to get done before we go to Las Vegas.
“The DHL Toyota Supra was running ok early, and I didn’t see Alex Laughlin next to me. The next thing I knew, after it got down the track quite a ways, it started spinning the tires. I learned in the Gainesville (Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.) final that when it starts spinning like that, you gotta get out of the throttle as soon as possible. Sure enough, it happened in the first round today, and we saw what can happen. Looking back on it, I wish I could go back and lift sooner; if you do that, you’ll lose the round, but we would have come back with a race car and body instead a lot of extra work for these guys.
“We’ll see where we are this week with cars and parts. If I need to go to the shop in Ypsilanti (Ypsilanti, Mich.) or Brownsburg (Brownsburg, Ind.) to deliver parts and pieces, I’ll do whatever the DHL team needs; I just want to do anything I can to contribute on my end to get us ready for Las Vegas.”
Next Race: Team Kalitta will be back in action April 14-16, 2023 at the NHRA Four Wide Nationals on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com. For additional information on Kalitta Motorsports, please visit www.teamkalitta.com.