Worsham makes the U.S. Nationals final
Race Recap: Coming off of his first win of the season, Worsham was still hungry heading into U.S. Nationals. It had been over a decade since Worsham had scored an U.S. Nationals trophy and he was ready for another.
Campaigning the new look DHL/Mello Yello Toyota Camry Funny Car, Worsham had a lot of pressure in qualifying, but he and the ‘Yello Fellos’ delivered a consistent machine and a solid top half start. However, the draw was something he would have much rather have seen in the finals: his teammate, Alexis DeJoria.
The seventh pair in the Funny Car class, Worsham and DeJoria were ready for their pair. They left together, but DeJoria smoked the tires immediately allowing Worsham to skate by. The next foe would be the upset-minded Dave Richards, who got by Jack Beckman in round one. Worsham moved first and easily defeated Richards, who shut off early.
The semi-finals draw would be the points leader Ron Capps. Worsham and Capps left together, but the DHL/Mello Yello team had the horsepower to make their third straight final round and fifth on the season. Their draw was Matt Hagan for the second consecutive final round. This time, Hagan would get the win in a very close race.
Worsham still would move up in the standings and claim the second seed overall for the Countdown for the Championship.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.874 sec., 328.86 mph)
- E1: Worsham defeated DeJoria – 3.897 sec., 325.92 mph to 9.304 sec., 94.02 mph
- E2: Worsham defeated Richards – 3.986 sec., 321.19 mph to 5.348 sec., 144.06 mph
- E3: Worsham defeated Capps – 3.976 sec., 321.96 mph to 4.059 sec., 308.71 mph
- Final: Worsham defeated by Hagan – 3.958 sec., 324.20 mph to 3.964 sec., 327.43 mph
Quotable: “Disappointing end to a solid weekend. We wanted the trophy and we didn’t get it. Proud to have been associated with both DHL and Mello Yello this weekend. We made moves in the standings and I am looking forward to the Countdown for the Championship.”
Point Standings: Second (-30); trails with first-place Jack Beckman by 30 points, leads third-place Matt Hagan by 10 points
Todd races to best Big Go result
Race Recap: After not seeing the results the team was looking for in Brainerd, the SealMaster team and J.R. Todd spent two days last week preparing for the NHRA’s biggest race: the U.S. Nationals. They made several passes to learn and make progress on the tune-up prior to the Countdown for the Championship.
Todd and the SealMaster team used that data to have a solid start in qualifying. They were unable to improve on Sunday and Todd slipped to right below the top half line, starting in ninth.
The first opponent was his former boss Morgan Lucas. Todd drove for MLR in 2008, scoring a win in Dallas. He showed no mercy with a stellar move off of the line, and a wire-to-wire finish to move to the second round where his draw was the no.1 qualifier Clay Millican. Todd again moved first and earned his first U.S. Nationals semi-final. He drew rival Tony Schumacher, and the SealMaster machine smoked the tires early. Todd pedaled masterfully, but was unable to catch Schumacher’s machine.
With the result, Todd earned the sixth seed in the Countdown for the Championship. That is his highest starting seed since joining Team Kalitta.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.732 sec., 311.63 mph)
- E1: Todd defeated Lucas – 3.718 sec., 326.56 mph to 4.373 sec., 181.64 mph
- E2: Todd defeated Millican – 3.773 sec., 326.40 mph to 4.814 sec., 158.46 mph
- E3: Todd defeated by Schumacher – 4.174 sec., 298.87 mph to 3.981 sec., 298.87 mph
Quotable: “It was a good day. We made two really good runs in the first two rounds. I really didn’t expect to go out there and smoke the tires like we did in the semi-finals. The track warmed up and it was just some conditions that we hadn’t seen all weekend long. We had a few mechanical issues that we were fighting this weekend and to bounce back like we did today and come out of here like we did is good momentum for the Countdown for the SealMaster Toyota guys. So it was a good weekend overall.”
Point Standings: Sixth (-70); trails fifth-place Tony Schumacher by 10 points, leads seventh-place Shawn Langton by 10 points
Kalitta goes rounds at the U.S. Nationals
Race Recap: Kalitta came to the U.S. Nationals focused. After an outstanding test aboard the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, Kalitta was ready for battle. The night conditions sealed Kalitta’s sixth starting spot, but Kalitta was consistent in the heat of Sunday. He scored four of the possible six bonus points on Sunday to set the Mac Tools team up strong for racing conditions.
Kalitta started his Labor Day Monday with a Morgan Lucas Racing machine for the second consecutive race. This time it would be Austrialian transplant Richie Crampton. Kalitta was off of the line first and led all the way to the stripe, recording a solid 3.745 second pass. His second round pairing against Brittany Force would prove to be more eventful. Kalitta’s Mac Tools ride was again off of the line first, but lost a blower belt down track and recorded just a 289MPH pass. However, Force smoked the tires early and Kalitta was able to move back into the semi-finals. Unfortunately, the semi-final is where the run would end as Steve Torrence was able to drive around the Mac Tools driver when the dragster struggled down track.
Kalitta earned the second seed for the Countdown for the Championship.
Qualified: No. 6 (3.726 sec., 321.81 mph)
- E1: Kalitta defeated Crampton – 3.745 sec., 327.35 mph to 4.351 sec., 223.65 mph
- E2: Kalitta defeated B. Force – 3.833 sec., 289.26 mph to 4.791 sec., 163.43 mph
- E3: Kalitta defeated by Torrence – 3.849 sec., 285.83 mph to 4.122 sec., 264.96 mph
Quotable: “Getting beat in the third round sucked. This is a race that we really wanted to win, but we’ll just have to come back out here next year and try again. It’s frustrating. I feel pretty good heading into the playoffs. We have a good hot weather set-up and really the guys have a good handle on the car in all conditions. I think we’re where we need to be at this point of the game. I’m really looking forward to the Countdown.”
Point Standings: Second (-30); trails first-place Antron Brown by 30 points, leads third-place Steve Torrence by 10 points
Early tire smoke ends DeJoria’s hope for another U.S. Nationals win
Race Recap: DeJoria returned to action after two races away due to injury at the site of her biggest race win, the 2014 U.S. Nationals. The Patrón team earned their qualifying spot in the third attempt and finished qualifying with three straight three second passes, earning the 10th starting spot. Unfortunately, her draw was her teammate and reigning Funny Car Champion Del Worsham. Worsham and DeJoria left the line side-by-side, but soon after DeJoria fell to tire smoke yielding the round win to Worsham.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.945 sec., 324.28 mph)
- E1: DeJoria defeated by Worsham – 9.304 sec., 94.02 mph to 3.897 sec., 325.92 mph
Point Standings: 10th (-110); trails ninth-place Tim Wilkerson by 10 points
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Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (2110)
2. Doug Kalitta (2080)
3. Steve Torrence (2070)
4. Tony Schumacher (2060)
5. Brittany Force (2050)
6. J.R. Todd (2040)
7. Shawn Langdon (2030)
8. Clay Millican (2020)
9. Richie Crampton (2010)
10. Leah Pritchett (2000)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (2110)
2. Del Worsham (2080)
3. Matt Hagan (2070)
4. Courtney Force (2060)
5. Jack Beckman (2050)
6. Robert Hight (2040)
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2030)
8. John Force (2020)
9. Tim Wilkerson (2010)
10. Alexis DeJoria (2000)
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. Team Kalitta also manages the McLeod Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Paul Lee. 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, Todd Smith on the McLeod Racing 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.