DeJoria scores first win of the season; moves into top ten of the standings
Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria raced her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry to victory at the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday.
Along her way to the Brainerd Winners Circle, DeJoria defeated Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon, John Force and Tommy Johnson Jr. Sunday’s victory was DeJoria’s fifth career Funny Car win and eighth visit to the final round.
The Patrón Funny Car pilot qualified 10th for the Brainerd event and started race day ranked 14th in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship points system, 48 points out of the No. 10 spot. After defeating Tim Wilkerson in the first round of eliminations, DeJoria found herself in a crucial Countdown matchup with Pedregon. Both DeJoria and Pedregon are part of a fierce five-way battle for the coveted final NHRA Countdown Top 10 spot. DeJoria’s 3.883-second pass easily defeated Pedregon’s 4.505 and advanced Team Patrón to the semifinals.
DeJoria faced John Force in the semifinal round and once again, her expertly tuned Patrón Camry made another stout run (3.892) and ended the 16-time World Champion’s day.
The final round saw Team Patrón squaring off against Tommy Johnson Jr. Both drivers were quick off of the starting line but DeJoria’s 3.906-second pass was no match for Johnson Jr.’s 3.933.
With the Brainerd victory, DeJoria has moved in to the No. 10 Countdown spot and will go into the final event of the regular season defending her Countdown to the Championship berth opportunity, rather than chasing it. DeJoria has a 12 point lead over the 11th ranked Countdown contender hopeful.
Sunday’s win also marked the first time two female drivers won a national event in the nitro categories at the same time. DeJoria shared the Winners Circle stage with Top Fuel event champion, Leah Pritchett.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.941 sec., 327.43 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated Wilkerson – 4.416 sec., 210.05 mph to 4.650 sec., 271.13 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated Pedregon – 3.883 sec., 330.96 mph to 4.505 sec., 192.47 mph
E3: DeJoria defeated J. Force – 3.892 sec., 329.02 mph to 3.909 sec., 331.94 mph
Final: DeJoria defeated Johnson Jr. – 3.906 sec., 330.96 mph to 3.933 sec., 324.44 mph
Point Standings: 10th; leads Cruz Pedregon by 12 points for 11th
Kalitta locks in final Traxxas Shootout spot with Brainerd efforts
Race Recap: Despite Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team suffering a tough quarterfinal loss at Brainerd, Kalitta locked in the final Traxxas Shootout spot and will race for $100,000 in Indianapolis.
Kalitta was stout in qualifying. The Mac Tools team earned bonus points three out of the four passes down the Brainerd International Raceway surface. The most outstanding run was in the final round of qualifying as Kalitta was the quickest Top Fuel machine down the track by over three thousandths of a second.
In the first round, Kalitta faced Terry Haddock in the first round for the second straight weekend. The Mac Tools driver got the jump at the line and was clean to the stripe to score the opening round win.
The second round saw Kalitta take on Steve Torrence. Kalitta recorded a solid .055 reaction time, but Torrence was away first. The Mac Tools machine ran the fastest it has ever run at over 332 mph, but Torrence was able to cross the line just in front of the Mac Tools ride. However, even in the loss, Kalitta ranked the highest among the non-winners and claimed the final spot in the Top Fuel version of the Traxxas Shootout.
Qualified: No. 3 (3.694 sec., 330.31 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Haddock – 3.697 sec., 328.54 mph to 4.267 sec., 226.92 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated by Torrence – 3.709 sec., 332.10 mph to 3.723 sec., 328.30 mph
Quotable: “That is not the way we wanted to end what was a solid Brainerd weekend for the Mac Tools team. We got locked into the Traxxas Shootout, which is definitely a positive. The Mac Tools team will go to Indy and try to pick up two trophies there.”
Point Standings: Sixth; trails Brittany Force by 14 points for fifth; leads Clay Millican by 24 points for seventh
Langdon suffers close first round loss after qualifying struggles
Race Recap: After electrical woes cost the Global Electronic Technology team and Shawn Langdon multiple runs in qualifying, they faced a tough draw in the first round. Although they suffered a loss, they recorded a solid run that the hope leads to more consistency to come.
Qualifying did not go the way the Global Electronic Technology team would have hoped. Problems in the evening session on Friday led to the electrical issues on Saturday. The Global Electronic Technology team worked tirelessly to get the issues fixed, even firing up the machine again on Saturday evening to ensure the problem had been fixed.
Langdon would start from the 10th starting position with reigning Top Fuel Champion in the other lane. Langdon would record the second best reaction time of the session, but Brown’s machine was just too much for the Global Electronic Technology dragster and he would score the win. Langdon’s team recorded a solid lap in defeat despite having much less data than their opponent.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.859 sec., 265.43 mph)
E1: Langdon defeated by Brown – 3.734 sec., 318.62 mph to 3.695 sec., 331.77 mph
Quotable: “A gremlin in qualifying set us behind and put us in a bad spot in the ladder. Per the circumstances, great job by the Global Electronic Technology team. We made a great run coming out of the gate after not having a lot of information in qualifying. So to go .058 on the tree felt good, but for my team to make that 3.73 second run is a great job. Just don’t seem to have any luck right now, which is a shame because you need a little luck when you are trying to get in that top ten spot. We will go get ready for Indy, and make some good runs there.”
Point Standings: 11th; trails Troy Coughlin Jr. by eight points for 10th
Coughlin Jr. and SealMaster team see progress with new chassis
Race Recap: Troy Coughlin Jr. and the SealMaster team debuted a brand new chassis for the Brainerd event, and despite the first round loss, the team feels like they made progress going into the U.S. Nationals.
The SealMaster team started the weekend with a short run to make sure all of the components were working correctly. Despite the machine failing to make a clean pass to the line in qualifying, the team learned in each pass with their new machine.
For the second straight race, Coughlin Jr’s SealMaster dragster was paired with Tony Schumacher in the first round. Unfortunately, a part failure caused the parachutes to deploy nearly immediately and the SealMaster team would fall in the first round to Schumacher.
Qualified: No. 13 (4.359 sec., 179.44 mph)
E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Schumacher – 16.216 sec., 22.68 mph to 3.711 sec., 324.67 mph
Quotable: “Well, just a little more adversity. It is just a matter of time. We are going to have respond well and look at where we can improve. It is all about how you respond to the challenges and get better. We are going to look at our data and get the SealMaster Toyota ready for the U.S. Nationals.”
Point Standings: 10th; trails Scott Palmer by 73 points for ninth; leads Shawn Langdon by eight points for 11th
Despite Todd’s stellar efforts at the tree, DHL team loses early
Race Recap: The DHL team and J.R. Todd started qualifying strong, but was unable to continue that performance through qualifying. Despite running the quickest pass in the right lane on Sunday, Todd was defeated in the first round in Brainerd.
Todd’s DHL Toyota blazed down the track in 3.937 seconds to start qualifying at Brainerd International Raceway, however, the machine failed to make another clean pass in the other three attempts and the DHL Funny Car would be bumped to ninth overall.
On Sunday, Todd was part of the final Funny Car pairing. Todd started with a stellar .052 light at the starting line, easily getting out ahead of his opponent, Ron Capps. However, Capps was able to drive back around Todd and beat him to the finish line, ending Todd’s day in the first round.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.973 sec., 323.35 mph)
E1: Todd defeated by Capps – 3.973 sec., 323.35 mph to 3.894 sec., 330.96 mph
Quotable: “Not the weekend we were looking for. We ran good in qualifying on Friday and then struggled on Saturday. Then today, we were just down on power for some reason. Still, we were the only car to make it down the right lane, which shows something. We will go to Indy and test and get ready for the U.S. Nationals.”
Point Standings: Ninth; trails Tim Wilkerson by four points for eighth; leads Alexis DeJoria by 124 points for 10th