Kalitta clinches Countdown spot; claims Seattle round win
Race Recap: Doug Kalitta clinched his 20th straight top ten points finish this weekend in Seattle.
The driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster clinched his spot in the NHRA Countdown by qualifying for the Northwest Nationals, however, qualifying was a struggle for the Mac Tools team as the first three passes failed to yield a number that pleased them. They got it figured out for the final round of qualifying as they moved from the 15th spot to second with a 3.744 second pass.
Kalitta drew Terry Haddock in the first round, but by the time Kalitta took the tree he was on his own as Haddock was shut off on the line. The Mac Tools team ran strong to the stripe recording a 3.768 second elapsed time. Next up for Kalitta was Terry McMillen. Unfortunately, the Mac Tools machine suffered a dropped cylinder which yielded a subpar run. McMillen was able to make it clean to the line to score the quarterfinal victory.
Qualified: No. 2 (3.744 sec., 326.48 mph) E1: Kalitta defeated Haddock – 3.768 sec., 329.75 mph to No run E2: Kalitta defeated by McMillen – 3.900 sec., 309.27 mph to 3.804 sec., 317.49 mph
Quotable: “Tough way to end the Western Swing, but I know the time is coming soon for the Mac Tools team. We will go home, recoup and get ready for Brainerd.”
Point Standings: Sixth; trails Brittany Force by 15 points for fifth; leads Clay Millican by 40 points for seventh
Shredded blower belt ends Langdon’s day early
Race Recap: A unfortunate mechanical woe ended Shawn Langdon’s Western Swing earlier than the Global Electronic Technology team would have liked.
The Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-tuned machine was stout in qualifying. In the first session of qualifying, Langdon would score two bonus points as the second best run of the session. He would add another point with his third session efforts, and seed the Global Electronic Technology machine in the eighth position.
For the second straight weekend, Langdon would draw Mike Salinas in the first round. Salinas and Langdon would score the two best reaction times of the entire class, but Langdon was edging ahead when the blower belt shredded allowing Salinas to edge back ahead and score the round win.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.797 sec., 322.81 mph) E1: Langdon defeated by Salinas – 3.821 sec., 271.35 mph to 3.821 sec., 282.19 mph
Quotable: “Just bad luck. The guy took a shot at the tree last week and goes red, and this week, he does the same thing and goes green. To have the second best light of the round and lose on a holeshot is a tough pill to swallow as a driver. We were making a great run and it shreds the blower belt. Not sure why as the motor was clean, but it shreds the blower at 800 feet and shuts off. Just bad luck. The Global Electronic Technology guys are doing a great job, we have a good car and we make good qualifying runs, but something just goes wrong on raceday. Cannot dwell on it. We will go to Brainerd and keep making good runs, and hopefully things start going our way because we have a car capable of winning.”
Point Standings: 11th; trails Troy Coughlin Jr. by 24 points for 10th
Coughlin Jr.’s SealMaster team continues to gel
Race Recap: Coughlin Jr. and the SealMaster team closed their first Western Swing at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
Coughlin Jr. made a good qualifying pass in the evening session on Friday that bumped him among the top half qualifiers going into Saturday. He would not improve on Saturday, but the SealMaster machine was still qualified solidly in the 11th position.
In the first round, Coughlin Jr. drew Tony Schumacher for the first time. Coughlin Jr.’s early numbers were strong, but the SealMaster ride fell quickly to tire smoke and Schumacher was able to score the round win.
Qualified: No. 11 (3.854 sec., 320.43 mph) E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Schumacher – 4.615 sec., 169.83 mph to 3.741 sec., 328.94 mph
Quotable: “We are going to go to Brainerd and start from square one. I need to reset my mind mentally; I did not hit the tree very well at all. We have a great program; the guys are growing as a group. We have great leadership. The SealMaster Toyota guys are working hard and are a great group. I cannot wait till Brainerd.”
Point Standings: 10th; trails Scott Palmer by 46 points for ninth; leads Shawn Langdon by 24 points for 11th
Todd falls in the first round
Race Recap: The DHL team and driver J.R. Todd were unable to earn their second straight win earlier today in Seattle.
The DHL team, led by Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith, were very strong in qualifying with three consecutive clean passes to start their Northwest Nationals efforts, just missing bonus points in both of the early sessions on Friday and Saturday. They went for it in the final qualifying session and suffered tire smoke. Still, they earned a top ten starting spot and a first round draw of John Force.
Todd and Force were the last nitro pair on track. Todd got the jump on Force on the starting line, but soon after hit tire smoke. Todd pedaled, but Force made a clean run to score the round win.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.981 sec., 325.22 mph) E1: Todd defeated by J. Force – 4.884 sec., 193.60 mph to 3.939 sec., 327.03 mph
Quotable: “We smoked the tires in the first round. Not what we had in mind with the DHL Toyota Camry. We found some issues in the bellhousing that we are trying to work out, so we go back to the shop, get things worked out and get ready for Brainerd.”
Point Standings: Ninth; trails Tim Wilkerson by three points for eighth; leads Cruz Pedregon by 155 points for 10th
DeJoria closes the gap on the top ten
Qualified: No. 7 (3.963 sec., 324.05 mph)E1: DeJoria defeated Lindberg – 3.931 sec., 327.90 mph to 3.999 sec., 322.81 mphE2: DeJoria defeated by Hagan – 3.956 sec., 324.12 mph to 3.958 sec., 326.71 mph
Point Standings: 14th; trails Cruz Pedregon by 49 points for 10th