Post-Race Report Event 05: NHRA SpringNationals Royal Purple Raceway Houston

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta

Tough end to Kalitta’s outstanding Houston run

Race Recap: The last two times Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team rolled in to Houston they walked out the victors. They came in focused on adding another SpringNationals trophy to Kalitta’s incredible career tally.

Kalitta earned yet another bonus point with his qualifying effort. His Mac Tools team earned the third starting spot with their 3.731 second tally that was set in the cooler Friday evening temperatures. 

Sunday eliminations began with Terry McMillen. The Mac Tools Toyota driver was able to quickly get around McMillen. His dragster steadily pulled away, giving Kalitta his 11th round win over McMillen and fourth first round win in five events this season.

However, a chance at a third straight Houston win was dashed in the quarter-finals when Kalitta was defeated by the eventual winner Leah Pritchett in a close race.

Qualified: No. 3 (3.731 sec., 327.03 mph) 

E1: Kalitta defeated McMillen – 3.761 sec., 325.06 mph to 3.833 sec., 315.86 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated by Pritchett – 3.759 sec., 326.56 mph to 3.763 sec., 324.05 mph

Quotable: “I am disappointed in today’s outcome. It is always tough to lose a close race like this. However, it is exciting to be in the middle of a run of three straight races. I am ready to get the season really rolling with this Mac Tools Toyota and hopefully turn on some win lights.”  

Point Standings: Fourth (-136); trails Tony Schumacher by 80 points for third; leads Steve Torrence by six points for fifth

Troy Coughlin

Coughlin Jr.’s team makes progress, picks up round win

Race Recap: The SealMaster team had several changes since fans last saw the brightly-colored Top Fuel machine in Las Vegas. Auto Club Road to the Future candidate Troy Coughlin Jr. was now led by Jim Oberhofer, Nick Casertano and Glen Huszar; and with a new race car and a handful of new crew members, the pits were filled with excitement. 

The new SealMaster ride had problems on its first attempt, but the team completed a clean eighth-mile pass on Friday evening. With 16 Top Fuel machines on the property, it allowed the new lead trio to show patience. In the last pass of qualifying, Coughlin Jr. set his spot in the field with a 3.862 second pass.

Coughlin Jr. and the SealMaster team had a tough draw in round one as they lined up against Brittany Force. The rookie driver moved first and was able to cross the finish line first even after encountering issues. 

Despite falling in the quarter-finals, Coughlin Jr. was pleased with the amount of progress the SealMaster team made throughout the weekend.

Qualified: No. 12 (3.862 sec., 316.82 mph) 

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated Force – 3.852 sec., 277.20 mph to 3.871 sec., 274.55 mph

E2: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Torrence – 6.779 sec., 93.70 mph to 3.755 sec., 324.20 mph

Quotable: “Well, Texas wasn’t as great as we wanted it to be. We have a new team and I am proud of my SealMaster guys. They are getting quicker and quicker each lap. The first foul committed in the round was me missing the tree. Being .110 is not going to help anything at all, but we will get this SealMaster Toyota buttoned up and continue to work as a team. We will continue to grow together and set the bar higher. 

Point Standings: Eighth (-266); trails Clay Millican by 41 points for seventh, leads Terry McMillen by 33 points for ninth

JR Todd

Todd advances in the standings with Houston efforts

Race Recap: Las Vegas ended with a solid test session for the DHL Toyota and driver J.R. Todd. The team led by Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith was looking to start this first run of consecutive races in a positive way.

Friday saw two lost runs, but Saturday was an improvement for the YellaFellas as they laid down two clean passes to give Todd the 12th seed and a first round draw of former champion Cruz Pedregon. 

Todd was among the leaders in reaction time in the Funny Car class coming into the weekend and proved it in the first round. He was able to get an advantage over Pedregon at the tree and carried to the stripe. 

Todd was away first against another former champion, Robert Hight, in the quarter-finals, but his clean 3.958 second pass was not enough to reach his first Funny Car semi-final. With his round win, Todd moved up to ninth in the point standings. 

Qualified: No. 12 (4.016 sec., 322.65 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated Pedregon – 3.959 sec., 323.58 mph to 3.935 sec., 322.04 mph 

E2: Todd defeated by Hight – 3.958 sec., 324.36 mph to 3.898 sec., 327.82 mph

Quotable: “Solid effort today from the DHL team, but we are working hard at getting even faster. We know we have to continue to gain and learn to compete at the highest level. Our team is focused and excited to get back after it in just a couple days in Charlotte.”

Point Standings: Ninth (-178); trails Jonnie Lindberg by 13 points for eighth; leads Jim Campbell by 11 points for tenth

Shawn Langdon

Langdon pleased with debut weekend despite early round loss

Race Recap: After a whirlwind couple of weeks, the third Team Kalitta Top Fuel machine backed by Global Electronic Technology made its official debut with 2013 Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon behind the wheel.

The Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-tuned Global Electronic Technology dragster started out with a solid 3.825 second pass that gave ensured the new team a solid qualifying spot. Langdon showed that he was more than ready as well with a stellar .047 second reaction time in his first Top Fuel pass of the season.

The 3.825 second pass ended up 10th overall and a first round draw of Bob Vandergriff, who was making his first start since 2014. The duo were the final Top Fuel pair to see the track, but Langdon was ready. Once again, he was stellar on the tree, giving the Global Electronic Technology team the best reaction time of the round. He was ahead at every timed increment until the one that counted, when Vandergriff was able to just edge the California-native by two thousandths of a second. 

Qualified: No. 10 (3.825 sec., 314.53 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated by Vandergriff – 3.813 sec., 318.84 mph to 3.770 sec., 323.43 mph

Quotable: “We just lost a good race. I feel really good in the car; we are just a little behind power wise in the first round. We were not able to make quite the run we were trying to make, so we ended up losing by two-thousandths of a second. But that is drag racing. We are not disappointed by any means. We are very happy to have this Global Electronic Technology machine out here. We were able to accomplish a lot of things this weekend, and we are headed to Charlotte looking for the results.”

Point Standings: 17th; trails Bob Vandergriff by 16 points for 16th 

Alexis Dejoria

DeJoria continues run of opening round successRace Recap:

DeJoria started out qualifying strong with a solid pass that earned her two bonus points. The Tequila Patrón team closed with an even better run that earned her the ninth starting spot. 

DeJoria and her foe, Tim Wilkerson, were the last nitro pair to see the track. The Tequila Patrón Camry was straight and true down the track giving DeJoria her second straight opening round win after Wilkerson encountered immediate issues. In the quarter-finals, DeJoria was able to get the jump on her opponent, Courtney Force, but was unable to make a clean pass yielding the round win to Force. 

Qualified: No. 9 (3.946 sec., 322.34 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated Wilkerson – 3.927 sec., 327.03 mph to 8.109 sec., 112.19 mph 

E2: DeJoria defeated by C. Force – 4.146 sec., 260.16 mph to 3.947 sec., 294.37 mph

Point Standings: 11th (-192); trails Jim Campbell by three points for 10th, leads Tim WIlkerson by 19 points for 12th