Kalitta earns second consecutive semi-final result
Race Recap: After earning a semi-final finish at the Gatornationals, Kalitta and the Mac Tools team turned to Las Vegas where he had seen much success. However, the talented driver was still searching for his first spring Vegas win to add to his two Toyota Nationals triumphs.
Kalitta failed to make a clean pass on Friday, but the Mac Tools team more than made up for it on Saturday. They earned five of the possible six bonus points with two solid passes. The best, a 3.758, moved him all the way to third overall.
Up first was part-time driver Steve Chrisman. The Mac Tools dragster got the jump at the line and ran clean down the Strip, laying down the best run of the first session of Top Fuel.
The quarter-final draw was Clay Millican. Kalitta was on his game on the starting line as he had the best reaction time of the class in the round with a .050 in his way to another round win over a tire-smoking Millican.
The Mac Tools driver’s day would end in the semi-finals in a close race with Tony Schumacher. Kalitta again earned the starting line advantage, but trailed at the finish line stripe by four thousandths of a second.
Qualified: No. 3 (3.758 sec., 318.69 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Chrisman – 3.743 sec., 326.40 mph to 4.104 sec., 248.48 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.778 sec., 106.24 mph to 4.913 sec., 153.51 mph
E3: Kalitta defeated by Schumacher – 3.782 sec., 326.87 mph to 3.775 sec., 320.97 mph
Quotable: “Great effort by the Mac Tools Toyota team this weekend. We definitely want to get our first win of the season soon, so to not achieve that stinks. However, I am very confident in my Mac Tools guys and I know it is coming soon.”
Point Standings: Fourth (-81); trails Antron Brown by 23 points for third; leads Steve Torrence by 30 for sixth
Coughlin Jr. suffers tough first round defeat
Race Recap: The SealMaster team and driver Troy Coughlin Jr. earned his fourth consecutive strong qualifying start to his rookie season. However, with issues down track, Coughlin Jr. was unable to earn his third career round win.
With a 3.790 second effort in the final round of qualifying, Coughlin Jr. started in the top half for the fourth consecutive time to start his nitro career. The SealMaster team was seeded seventh overall and a first-ever matchup with Terry McMillen.
McMillen and Coughlin Jr. left side-by-side, but Coughlin Jr. began pulling away. However, the SealMaster ride began to smoke the tires and the parachutes deployed. McMillen was also experiencing issues, but was able to his machine hooked back up. The two were separated by mere inches at the finish line, but McMillen was running over 70 mph faster, which allowed him to drive by.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.790 sec., 310.27 mph)
E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by McMillen – 4.230 sec., 194.32 mph to 4.227 sec., 269.03 mph
Quotable: “I am bummed for the SealMaster Toyota guys. Just a lot of work goes into this, and having races and rounds like these is tough. I am continuing to grow and move forward. The expectations are high and something that is definitely attainable.”
Point Standings: Eighth (-206); trails Clay Millican by 11 points for seventh, leads Terry McMillen by 12 points for ninth
Todd dealt an early loss
Race Recap: The DHL team were dealt a losing hand in the first round of Vegas Nationals eliminations earlier today.
After facing extremely treacherous track conditions at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Todd’s DHL Camry was able to make two clean passes in qualifying. They opened the weekend with a solid 3.949 second run, and then closed Saturday with a better 3.936 second effort. That pass tied his teammate, Alexis DeJoria, and forced the second first round draw between the two in the first four events of the 2017 season.
Todd and DeJoria were the final pair of nitro machines to make it to the line. The duo left together, but for the second consecutive event, Todd’s DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car fell to immediate tire smoke. Todd pedaled, but was unable to catch DeJoria, who was one of the few to make a clean pass to open eliminations.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.936 sec., 324.67 mph)
E1: Todd defeated by DeJoria – 9.752 sec., 77.54 mph to 4.054 sec., 320.97 mph
Quotable: “Unfortunately, a very quick way to end our Vegas trip. That was not what we were looking for with this DHL Toyota team in round one, but we will continue to get after it with this time off. I know we will be ready when the series hits our next race in Houston.”
Point Standings: 10th (-198); trails Jim Campbell by 10 points for ninth; leads Tim Wilkerson by 15 points for 11th
DeJoria takes Vegas round win
Race Recap: The defending event champion, Alexis DeJoria and her Tequila Patrón team, started qualifying strong. Her 3.936 second qualifying effort just missed achieving bonus points and slotted her amongst the top half of the field for the second time this season. However, the draw was an unfortunate one, as DeJoria drew her teammate, J.R. Todd, in the first round for the second time in four events. She was able to drive around a tire-smoking Todd in the opening stanza with a solid pass, but her title defense ended in the second round with a red light start against veteran Gary Densham.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.936 sec., 327.27 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated Todd – 4.054 sec., 320.97 mph to 9.752 sec., 77.54 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated by Densham – Foul to 4.551 sec., 190.73 mph
Point Standings: 12th (-214); trails Tim Wilkerson by one point for 11th, leads Del Worsham by seven points for 13th