Post-Race Report Event 15: Toyota Sonoma Nationals Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif. July 29-31

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Todd wins Sonoma

Race Recap: After just missing his third consecutive final in Denver, Todd looked for another solid Sonoma performance. Little did he know, the SealMaster team was about ready for a breakthrough.

Todd set his spot in the field with a solid 3.731 on Friday evening’s session and earned the seventh starting spot.

The starting spot did not yield an easy draw for the driver of the SealMaster Toyota. Clay Millican would be in the other lane. The second pair to see the track, and Todd got the advantage on the starting line and took that down the track to the round win. Antron Brown, who eliminated Todd last weekend in Denver, was next up. They were neck-and-neck at the line, and Rob Flynn and Connie Kalitta nailed the tune-up yielding the best winning elapsed time of round two setting up an all-Kalitta semi-final pairing. It would become a pedalfest with both Todd and Kalitta experiencing tire smoke but Todd was able to get to the line first earning his third final round in four events.

His opponent in the final was good friend Richie Crampton. The duo left together but the SealMaster team had the horsepower to get the win at the stripe. It is Todd’s first win of the season, ninth of his career. Todd has scored 12 round wins in the last four races.

Qualified: No. 7 (3.731 sec., 324.05 mph)

  • E1: Todd defeated Millican – 3.743 sec., 326.95 mph to 6.972 sec., 82.18 mph
  • E2: Todd defeated Brown – 3.746 sec., 326.48 mph to 4.854 sec., 156.81 mph
  • E3: Todd defeated Kalitta – 4.122 sec., 264.96 mph to 4.513 sec., 231.52 mph

Final: Todd defeated Crampton – 3.745 sec., 324.83 mph to 3.806 sec., 313.07 mph

Quotable: “It was a great day. Three 3.74s on Sunday in our SealMaster Toyota, that’s pretty stout from Connie (Kalitta) and all of our guys. We’ve been so close so many times this year.”

“Eric Medlen’s mom gave me a poster of my car with this win is for Eric before the final round and I carried it in my firesuit. He definitely brought me good luck and was watching over that run.”

“The crowd here in Sonoma was huge. This is definitely one of the nicer tracks we go to – beautiful country side. We just had a huge crowd all weekend. That’s a testament to Steve Page and his staff here at Sonoma Raceway.”

“The last 3 or 4 races, this thing has been digging pretty good. Yesterday I was a little down and out. We weren’t very good on Saturday and I was thinking we were in bad shape for race day. But you never count out Connie Kalitta and the boys. They stepped up to the plate big-time today.”

Point Standings: Sixth (-307); trails fifth-place Tony Schumacher by 74 points, leads seventh-place Shawn Langton by 61 points

Team DHL 

Worsham hits career-best numbers in Sonoma

Race Recap: In front of the Toyota executives, Worsham knew that this would be a big weekend and the DHL Toyota Camry team came to perform. With prime conditions on Friday evening, the DHL Toyota team took advantage. They laid down a track record 3.868 second pass, which was also Worsham’s career-best. That run gave Worsham his second pole in four races and second at Sonoma Raceway.

Worsham’s opponent would be first-time starter Tim Gibbons. Gibbons left a little early giving the win to Worsham despite having troubles downtrack. Next up, would be last year’s Sonoma Raceway winner, Jack Beckman. Worsham laid down an awesome reaction time and took that to the line to advance to his second consecutive semi-final. He could not get the win in a close race with Ron Capps there, but another solid weekend for the DHL Toyota team.

Qualified: No. 1 (3.868 sec., 327.43 mph)


  • E1: Worsham defeated Gibbons – 4.950 sec., 153.86 mph to foul
  • E2: Worsham defeated Beckman – 3.958 sec., 322.04 mph to 7.608 sec., 86.88 mph
  • E3: Worsham defeated by Capps – 3.977 sec., 320.97 mph to 3.938 sec., 324.51 mph

Quotable: “Disappointing end to a solid weekend for the DHL Toyota team. Keep knocking on the door of that win, and eventually we are going to get it. Looking forward to Seattle and hopefully getting the win there.”

Point Standings: Fourth (-54); trails with third-place Jack Beckman by 71 points, leads fifth-place John Force by 23 points

Doug Kalitta

Kalitta advances to another semi-final

Race Recap: Kalitta and the Mac Tools team came to Sonoma Raceway looking for a rebound and this track was a great place to do it. Kalitta is the track leader with five wins, and started strong in qualifying. The Friday evening session was again the one to set Kalitta in the field and he did it well slotting the Mac Tools Toyota dragster into the third position with a 3.711 second pass.

Kalitta’s extreme driving skills came into play on Sunday. The Mac Tools team came up to the line against Bill Litton in the first round. Kalitta got ahead at the line, but the machine began to smoke. He pedaled and got the Mac Tools machine to the line first, leading to a second round race with Brittany Force. The driver of the Mac Tools machine got advantage at the starting line and was able to take that to the finish line despite Force running the low number of the round. He came up short in the semi-finals to his teammate J.R. Todd, but it was another solid effort for the Mac Tools team who reached their tenth semi-final or better in just 15 races this season.

Qualified: No. 3 (3.711 sec., 324.28 mph)

  • E1: Kalitta defeated Litton – 4.098 sec., 255.48 mph to 5.214 sec., 122.60 mph
  • E2: Kalitta defeated B. Force – 3.782 sec., 326.95 mph to 3.743 sec., 325.30 mph (Holeshot win Kalitta .065/Force .115)
  • E3: Kalitta defeated by Todd – 4.513 sec., 231.52 mph to 4.122 sec., 264.96 mph

Quotable: “Nice rebound and great work from the Mac Tools Toyota guys today. I would have loved to have got back in the Sonoma winner’s circle, but we have a great machine and I look forward to next week’s Northwest Nationals.”

Point Standings: Second (-37); trails first-place Antron Brown by 37 points, leads third-place Steve Torrence by 95 points

Contact with wall ends DeJoria’s Sonoma run

Race Recap: After starting qualifying with a solid 3-second pass, DeJoria struggled through qualifying, but was able to hit a solid 3.946 in the final session. Last week’s winner, John Force was the first draw. After taking the tree, DeJoria’s machine sashayed and tagged the wall in her lane. DeJoria climbed from the machine on her own power, and was transported to the local hospital for pain. She was later released from the hospital diagnosed with high-energy fracture of the left pelvis.

Qualified: No. 11 (3.946 sec., 319.45 mph)

  • E1: DeJoria defeated by J. Force – DQ (contact with wall) to 3.936 sec., 71.25 mph

Point Standings: Tenth (-446); trails ninth-place Tim Wilkerson by 63 points, leads 11th-place Chad Head by 150 points

Mello Yello Championship Points:

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Antron Brown (1204)
2. Doug Kalitta (1167)
3. Steve Torrence (1072)
4. Brittany Force (1008)
5. Tony Schumacher (971)
6. J.R. Todd (897)
7. Shawn Langdon (836)
8. Richie Crampton (754)
8. Clay Millican (715)
10. Leah Pritchett (586)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (1214)
2. Courtney Force (1084)
3. Jack Beckman (1031)
4. Del Worsham (960)
5. John Force (937)
6. Matt Hagan (936)
6. Robert Hight (936)
8. Tommy Johnson Jr. (888)
9. Tim Wilkerson (827)
10. Alexis DeJoria (765)

About Kalitta Motorsports:

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.

Team Kalitta is the home of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car World Champion, Del Worsham. He drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, Rob Flynn on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster and Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.

Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Optima Batteries, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.