Kalitta falls in close second round race
Race Recap: Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team were focused on starting the annual Western Swing strong.
After a starter issue in the first qualifying session, the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster was on point through the remainder of qualifying. Kalitta was on the provisional pole after his 3.767 second pass. However, for the second time in the last four events, it was taken from him in the final qualifying session. Still, the Mac Tools team was pleased with the second starting spot and their three clean qualifying passes.
First up for Kalitta was the debuting Greg Carrillo. Kalitta and Carrillo were off of the line together but the Mac Tools machine was ahead by the 60 foot line and never looked back as he took the opening round win.
In the quarterfinals, Kalitta drew defending champion Antron Brown. The Mac Tools dragster had lane choice, and Kalitta was able to get the jump on Brown at the starting line. Kalitta’s holeshot advantage had the Mac Tools Toyota ahead at the 330 foot line but Brown was able to drive around Kalitta soon after and win by mere inches.
Qualified: No. 2 (3.767 sec., 323.97 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Carrillo – 3.827 sec., 320.20 mph to 4.344 sec., 281.01 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated by Brown – 3.814 sec., 324.75 mph to 3.796 sec., 315.34 mph
Quotable: “Just lost a close race to another great competitor. Nothing to hang our heads about. We will get this Mac Tools Toyota reloaded and ready for Sonoma.”
Point Standings: Fifth; trails Tony Schumacher by 101 points for fourth; leads Brittany Force by two points for sixth
Dropped cylinder ends Todd’s day in the quarterfinals
Race Recap: After seeing continued progress with their performance, the DHL team and driver J.R. Todd were eager to get the Western Swing started.
The DHL Toyota made three clean passes in qualifying and were very solid on Saturday as both of their runs ranked among the top five in each session. Their best, a 3.986, came in the final session and made the DHL team one of only ten drivers to make it in the three second bracket in the extreme altitude conditions in Denver.
Todd would earn the eighth seed and a first round race with Tim Wilkerson, who Todd is chasing for the eighth spot in the point standings. Todd and Wilkerson left together but the DHL Toyota was ahead by the time they passed the tree and took his second consecutive first round win.
In the second round, Todd chose his lane against his competitor, Jim Campbell. Todd got the advantage at the starting line but immediately lost a cylinder aboard his DHL Toyota Camry. That would cost the team as they would only reach 301 mph and Campbell was making his best pass of the weekend in the other lane to take the win.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.986 sec., 317.94 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Wilkerson – 4.072 sec., 316.30 mph to 4.203 sec., 263.98 mph
E2: Todd defeated by Campbell – 4.198 sec., 301.60 mph to 4.084 sec., 286.92 mph
Quotable: “It is unfortunate. We put a cylinder out at the hit of the throttle in the second round and it cost us that run. The guys behind us in points went rounds, so we need to go to Sonoma in attack mode, go some rounds and stay in the top ten.”
Point Standings: Ninth; trails Tim Wilkerson by 22 points for eighth; leads Cruz Pedregon by 74 points for 10th
Mechanical woes derail promising weekend for Langdon
Race Recap: Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team came into the Western Swing looking to continue to gain on the top ten in the point standings.
Qualifying proved to be stellar for the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-tuned Global Electronic Technology machine. Four passes in the three second range was highlighted by a 3.781 second pass that was ran in the final session and scored Langdon a valuable bonus point.
Langdon started the day in the fifth position and a first round draw of Terry Haddock. The NHRA Safety crew nearly shut the Global Electronic Technology machine off at the starting line due to a fuel leak, but allowed them to continue. However, despite Langdon nearly getting a tenth of a second reaction time advantage, the Global Electronic Technology machine would suffer problems down track. Langdon masterfully pedaled but was unable to get the round win ending the race weekend for the Global Electronic Technology team.
Qualified: No. 6 (3.759 sec., 319.37 mph)
E1: Langdon defeated by Haddock – 4.393 sec., 247.07 mph to 4.171 sec., 280.31 mph
Quotable: “Not something we were expecting there. It was a good opportunity for us. We were later in the round and was able to see the three guys in front of us go out. We just had a manifold leak, and they actually almost shut us off on the starting line because it leaking a little fuel. It just sucks. It is how it goes. You have to take the good with the good and the bad with the bad. It is just unfortunate because we had a good car in qualifying; definitely a top five car. All we can do is fix our mistakes, make sure it doesn’t happen again and go to Sonoma and try to make up ground there.”
Point Standings: 11th; trails Troy Coughlin Jr. by 50 points for 10th
Coughlin Jr. takes positives from first round loss
Race Recap: Coughlin Jr. and the SealMaster team was eager to get to their first Western Swing as a team. First up, the challenging Bandimere Speedway in Denver.
Qualifying did not lead to the desired results for the SealMaster Toyota as they failed to make a clean pass. The Saturday’s first session saw a minor fire, but the SealMaster team worked hard and found some issues directly prior to final session in qualifying that they worked late in night solving.
Coughlin Jr.’s first round oppoenent for the second straight race was Leah Pritchett. Coughlin Jr. got a nice jump on the starting line and had the advantage past 60 feet. However, Pritchett was able to get by soon after with the low elapsed time of the first session. However, even in the loss, Coughlin Jr. was able to look at the positives as he continues his Western Swing journey to Sonoma next weekend.
Qualified: No. 16 (5.695 sec., 115.28 mph)
E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Pritchett – 3.966 sec., 256.31 mph to 3.797 sec., 321.58 mph
Quotable: “The SealMaster Toyota guys have really turned a corner. We have great leadership with Jim O, Nick, Glen and Donnie. They figured out we had an electrical issue. We have identified the problem and have got it fixed. We will have the SealMaster Toyota cleaned up and ready to put on a great show for the Toyota Sonoma Nats.”
Point Standings: 10th; trails Scott Palmer by 32 points for ninth; leads Shawn Langdon by 50 points for 11th
DeJoria’s day ends early
Race Recap: Team Patrón started off the weekend in the Mile High City with a solid 4.010 run, but struggled with the challenges that come with racing 6,000-feet above sea level throughout the remainder of qualifying.
The Nicky Boninfante and Tommy DeLago-lead team qualified 11th for race day, pitting Alexis DeJoria against Jack Beckman in round one of eliminations. The Patrón Camry ran a competitive 4.056, but despite outrunning 11 of the 16 first round contenders, came up short against Beckman’s 4.027.
Qualified: No. 11 (4.010 sec., 322.65 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated by Beckman – 4.056 sec., 316.90 mph to 4.027 sec., 320.20 mph
Point Standings: 14th; trails Del Worsham by 20 points for 13th