Kalitta scores another final round appearance
Race Recap: Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team earned their third final round appearance at Virginia Motorsports Park this afternoon.
Kalitta did not have the qualifying portion of the weekend he would have liked, but the Mac Tools team made it count on the clean pass they made on Friday evening, which was good enough for fourth overall.
Kalitta drew second time competitor, Canadian Dan Mercier, in the first round. The Mac Tools machine struggled down the track with dropped cylinders, however, Kalitta was able to just hold on for the round win. Next up proved to be Leah Pritchett. The Mac Tools driver got the advantage at the starting line, and never trailed. The Jim Oberhofer-tuned machine made a clean pass down the track and defeated Pritchett, who had problems the whole way.
The semi-final round was another bout with his teammate Richie Crampton; the eighth time the teammates have already faced each other this season. Kalitta moved first and struggled downtrack, but beside him, Crampton was struggling even more, and Kalitta moved to his third final round of the season.
However, a second win this season wasn’t in the cards for Kalitta. He moved first, but his opponent, Steve Torrence, was able to get back around him and get the race win.
- Qualified: No. 4 (3.827 sec., 320.36 mph)
- E1: Kalitta defeated Mercier – 3.932 sec., 299.60 mph to 3.979 sec., 304.74 mph
- E2: Kalitta defeated Pritchett – 3.817 sec., 323.89 mph to 4.023 sec., 247.02 mph
- E3: Kalitta defeated Crampton – 4.009 sec., 274.94 mph to 5.866 sec., 136.06 mph
- Final: Kalitta defeated by Torrence – 3.844 sec., 309.56 mph to 3.812 sec., 322.96 mph
Quotable:“It was a great weekend for the Mac Tools team. We almost picked up that second win of the season. This track was great all weekend, and I cannot thank the Franklin family enough. I am excited to get to Bristol and see if we can get the win there.”
Point Standings: Third; leads Tony Schumacher by 24 points for sixth; trails Clay Millican by 54 points for second
Todd earns another semi-final finish
Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team earned two more round wins today at the Virginia NHRA Nationals outside of Richmond, Va.
Todd had a great qualifying effort with his DHL Camry as Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith tuned Todd to three clean passes. The final pass earned Todd a bonus point for the ninth race of the first ten to start the season. His best, a 4.042, seeded Todd fourth on the final qualifying sheet and a first round draw of Bob Tasca for the second straight weekend.
This time, Todd got the best of Tasca. It was not a clean pass for the DHL driver, but a 4.428 second run was more than enough to take out Tasca’s 10-second pass.
Todd advanced to the quarterfinals and drew fellow Toyota Racing driver Del Worsham, who was making his return to competition. This time, Todd and the DHL team were able to make a clean pass, and Todd advanced to the semi-finals or better for the fourth time this year.
In the semi-finals, Todd came up against points leader Courtney Force. It was a close race all the way down the track, but a dropped cylinder proved too much for Todd to overcome, and Force picked up the win.
- Qualified: No. 4 (4.042 sec., 310.55 mph)
- E1: Todd defeated Tasca – 4.428 sec., 216.79 mph to 10.211 sec., 78.20 mph
- E2: Todd defeated Worsham – 4.074 sec., 317.87 mph to 7.564 sec., 106.24 mph
- E3: Todd defeated by C. Force – 4.115 sec., 302.28 mph to 4.067 sec., 310.84 mph
Quotable:“Not the end result we wanted, but all-in-all a good weekend for this DHL/WIX Filters team. Going to the semi-final round like that is what it takes to compete for a championship as the year goes on. We are making gains on it; I am happy with the way things are going.”
Point Standings: Fifth; leads Ron Capps by 39 points by sixth; trails Matt Hagan by 18 points for fourth
Crampton scores semi-final result
Race Recap: Richie Crampton and the Kalitta Air team advanced to the semi-finals at Crampton’s first attempt at the Virginia Motorsports Park.
Crampton and the Kalitta Air dragster made their best qualifying pass on Friday evening. His 3.863 second lap was good enough to keep Crampton inside the top half for the remainder of the weekend, giving the Kalitta Air driver lane choice in the first round over part-time competitor Dom Lagana.
Crampton and and Lagana were the first pair to see the Virginia Motorsports Park surface on Sunday. The Kalitta Air driver moved first slightly and that proved important in a close race all the way down the track. The Kalitta Air machine outran Lagana’s dragster by one thousandth of a second, and coupled with Crampton’s slight advantage at the tree was able to score the win by about three feet.
That run moved Crampton to the quarterfinals and a draw of Tony Schumacher, who started from the first spot and had a bye in the first round. Crampton and Schumacher had identical reaction times, but the Kalitta Air tune-up proved critical as the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-led machine slowly pulled away from Schumacher and scored the round win at the stripe.
Crampton returned to the semi-finals for the second time this season, and for the eighth time this year, saw his teammate Doug Kalitta in the lane beside him. Unfortunately for Crampton, the Kalitta Air machine hit near-immediate tire smoke and Kalitta skated away for the win.
- Qualified: No. 8 (3.863 sec., 314.46 mph)
- E1: Crampton defeated Lagana – 3.879 sec., 317.19 mph to 3.880 sec., 322.27 mph
- E2: Crampton defeated Schumacher – 3.805 sec., 316.01 mph to 3.823 sec., 315.93 mph
- E3: Crampton defeated by Kalitta – 5.866 sec., 136.06 mph to 4.009 sec., 274.94 mph
Quotable:“I’m pretty pleased with my Kalitta Air/DHL Toyota team. We’re really happy to get some more of those valuable round wins and making some ground back up in the championship. We knew we were going to have a good race on our hands with Tony Schumacher in the second round. It’s never easy to beat DSR, but my guys did an awesome job with the race car and we were able to get that win. That was pretty big and it put a little extra spring in our step. I think it’s going to equate to more round wins in the near future. I’m excited for Bristol where we will likely see some similar conditions – hot with a greasy race track. I’m pretty happy with the outlook for next weekend and can’t wait to get down there.”
Langdon falls early in Virginia
Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team suffered a first round loss at the return to Virginia Motorsports Park.
Langdon made a good pass in the second qualifying session on Friday evening on the new surface as the Global Electronic Technology Camry blazed the track in 4.080 seconds. That seeded Langdon among the top ten qualifiers for the fourth straight race. The ninth seeded driver took on the eighth seeded Jim Campbell in the first round.The duo was the final pair to see the track in the first round. Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Camry got a big jump on the starting line, but as Langdon was speeding away, the machine started hazing the tires. Campbell was able to drive around and got to the stripe first.
- Qualified: No. 9 (4.080 sec., 315.78 mph)
- E1: Langdon defeated by Campbell – 4.461 sec., 230.02 mph to 4.210 sec., 301.40 mph
Quotable: “We were on a good pass and it just smoked the tires. Credit to the Virginia Motorsports Park and their staff; they provided a excellent race surface, a great facility and the fans were awesome. I am looking forward to coming back. It just sucks to lose first round. We will head to Bristol next week and try to improve.”
Point Standings: Ninth; leads Cruz Pedregon by seven points for 10th; trails John Force by seven points for eighth