Post-Race Report Event 15: NHRA Toyota Sonoma Nationals Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif.



Kalitta advances to the semifinal

Race Recap:  Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team advanced to the semifinal of the Sonoma Nationals earlier this afternoon.

Kalitta’s Mac Tools team did not have the qualifying effort that they would have liked. Kalitta’s best effort, a 3.790, put Kalitta amongst the top half at that point. Saturday did not yield an improvement, and Kalitta was bumped to ninth overall.

The ninth spot meant a tough draw of points leader Steve Torrence. However, the race went to the Mac Tools driver at the drop of the tree. Torrence left early, and Kalitta made a great run to score the round win.

In the quarterfinals, Kalitta faced no.1 qualifier Clay Millican. The Mac Tools driver earned the advantage at the starting line, and was ahead the whole way. A 3.772 second pass was the best of the round and gave Kalitta lane choice over Tony Schumacher in the semifinals.

In that race, Kalitta had the Mac Tools machine ahead at the 660 foot mark, however, Kalitta dropped a cylinder down track and Schumacher was able to drive back around to win the round.

Qualified: No. 9 (3.790 sec., 324.05 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Torrence – 3.746 sec., 332.26 mph to Foul

E2: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.772 sec., 329.50 mph to 5.111 sec., 147.79 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Schumacher – 3.837 sec., 274.44 mph to 3.836 sec., 317.42 mph

Quotable: “Solid day for the Mac Tools Toyota, but we were looking for the win. We are going to pack up, take our machine to Seattle and get the trophy there.”

Point Standings: Fifth; leads Antron Brown by 142 points for sixth; trails Leah Pritchett by 38 points for fourth


Crampton falls in close race

Race Recap: Richie Crampton fell in the first round of the Toyota Sonoma Nationals. 

The Kalitta Air Toyota Top Fuel dragster was very solid in qualifying as Crampton got down the track three of the four passes, with his Q4 pass just missing bonus points. Crampton earned the 12th starting spot and a first round draw of Brittany Force.

Crampton and Force ended up giving the packed house of Sonoma Raceway the best Top Fuel side-by-side race of the session and unfortunately for the Kalitta Air driver he came up just short as Force ran just seven thousandths quicker. 

Qualified: No. 12 (3.828 sec., 321.73 mph) 

E1: Crampton defeated by B. Force – 3.766 sec., 325.14 mph to 3.759 sec., 329.91 mph

Quotable: “We were on the receiving end of a really tight race. I’m super proud of my reaction time and the way our Kalitta Air Toyota ran. The guys did a good job, but, unfortunately for us, the car in the other lane did a little bit better. These are the races that you hate to lose. We’re realizing more and more how valuable round wins are as we get deeper into the season. We’ll keep our heads up, but it’s not the way we wanted to finish the Toyota Sonoma Nationals. We just haven’t been able to put it all together on race day, but I think when we do, that all things are trending in the right direction. It’s going to be good.”

Point Standings: 10th; leads Mike Salinas by 67 points for 11th; trails Scott Palmer by nine points for ninth


Langdon loses in the first round by inches

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team had a solid pass in the first round but it was not enough to earn a round win.

Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry had their best run in the final qualifying session. A 4.023 moved Langdon inside the top half of the field and gave him a first round draw of John Force.

The duo was the final pair of the first round. Langdon was solid on the tree and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry made a solid pass but Force was just barely ahead at the stripe. 

Qualified: No. 8 (4.023 sec., 318.77 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated by J. Force – 4.000 sec., 321.27 mph to 4.026 sec., 323.12 mph

Quotable: “It was a bummer losing that first round. That was a big round because we could have used those points. Sometimes, you just get the wrong draw. We were running John Force and we were confident about it. We felt that after Q4 that the Global Electronic Technology Toyota was a good race car. It’s hard to lose on a hole-shot. He’s one of the best out there and you try to get up for those moments when you run guys like that. Even though, I lost on a hole-shot on paper, I look at it and I was right on the range of reaction times where I thought I should be. He just cut an incredible .040 light. There’s not much else you can say about it. We had a lot better car than we showed today.”

Point Standings: Ninth; leads Bob Tasca III by 24 points for 10th; trails John Force by 127 points for eighth

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Tough weekend for Todd in Sonoma

Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team suffered through a tough weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Qualifying did not go as the DHL/WIX Filters boys would have hoped as the defending race champions as Todd qualified a season-worst 15th, which is the first time the team had earned a start worst than 10th this season. 

A 15th place start meant former champion Jack Beckman in the other lane in the first round. Todd left the starting line first, but the DHL Camry encountered trouble down track and Beckman scored the round win.

Qualified: No. 15 (4.102 sec., 312.13 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by Beckman – 3.973 sec., 320.58 mph to 4.242 sec., 225.18 mph

Quotable: “It wasn’t really the result we were looking for in the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota. We spun the tires about halfway down the track. On the bright side, our early numbers were some of the best we’ve had in a long time.  So that gives us something to look forward to as we head to Seattle in the next few days.”
Point Standings: Sixth; leads Tommy Johnson Jr. by 44 points by seventh; trails Jack Beckman by 104 points for fifth