Post-Race Report Event 19: Carolina Nationals zMax Dragway Charlotte September 16-18

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta

Kalitta reaches third Charlotte final

Race Recap: Kalitta came into zMax Dragway looking for a solid start to the Countdown. He got it in qualifying for the Carolina Nationals.

Starting with the first pass, Kalitta, crew chief Jim Oberhofer and the Mac Tools team were on it. They scored six bonus points and earned their fourth no.1 qualifying effort of the season with their Friday night 3.721 effort. That gave Kalitta his first career zMax Dragway pole.

And the consistency continued on race day. The first opponent was Ike Maier and the Mac Tools team took him seriously, running a 3.768 second lap to give them lane choice over Countdown for the Championship contender Leah Pritchett.

In the second round, Kalitta was able to get the jump on Pritchett on the line and never looked back running another great 3.817 second pass in the heat of the day. That advanced Kalitta to the semi-finals where the draw would be a new face, Wayne Newby, who advanced to his first semi-final of his NHRA career. Kalitta was again solid on the tree, but the Mac Tools dragster started dropping cylinders almost immediately. Doug held on, and his 3.879 was enough to get the Mac Tools team to their fifth final of the season. The opponent: Antron Brown, the man who sits directly ahead of Kalitta in the point standings.

Doug was ready for the final and was away first on the starting line, but Brown was able to drive around Kalitta for the Charlotte win.


Qualified: No. 1 (3.721 sec., 327.11 mph)

  • E1: Kalitta defeated Maier – 3.768 sec., 324.20 mph to 5.535 sec., 128.37 mph
  • E2: Kalitta defeated Pritchett – 3.817 sec., 320.20 mph to 3.836 sec., 320.13 mph
  • E3: Kalitta defeated Newby – 3.849 sec., 285.83 mph to 4.122 sec., 264.96 mph
  • Final: Kalitta defeated by Brown – 3.811 sec., at 320.28 mph to 3.763 sec., 319.29 mph

Quotable: “Very solid clean weekend for the Mac Tools Toyota team. We definitely wanted to get around Antron there in the final, but that was not in the cards. We are confident in what we learned this weekend and I am looking forward to the Arch and racing in St. Louis next weekend with this Mac Tools, Red Line Oil Toyota team.”

Point Standings: Second (-42); trails first-place Antron Brown by 42 points, leads third-place Steve Torrence by 58 points
Worsham advances to another semi-final

Race Recap: With his third straight final on the record in Indianapolis, Worsham turned to the place that got it all started for him last season: zMax Dragway.

Del Worsham

Worsham relished the opportunity to start the Countdown in a place he won just one year ago.

However, qualifying was not what the DHL Toyota team was hoping for as Worsham lit the tires in the evening session, which was the only run that featured prime weather conditions. That meant a season-worst 12th starting spot, and a first round date with Jack Beckman.

Conditions continued to treacherous throughout race day, but Worsham and crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante were able to get a good tune-up. They raced the race track and that yielded success over Jack Beckman and a first round win. Next up, the upset-minded John Bojec, who took down Worsham’s teammate in round one. The DHL team were prepared, however, and made another clean pass to advance to their sixth straight semi-final or better.

The day did end earlier than Worsham would have liked, as pole sitter Tommy Johnson Jr. was able to drive around Worsham in the semi-finals, but with Ron Capps being eliminated just moments later, Worsham was able to keep pace with the championship points leader.


Qualified: No. 12 (3.963 sec., 318.99 mph)

  • E1: Worsham defeated Beckman – 3.976 sec., 321.12 mph to 4.275 sec., 220.37 mph
  • E2: Worsham defeated Richards – 3.986 sec., 321.19 mph to 5.348 sec., 144.06 mph
  • E3: Worsham defeated by Johnson Jr. – 3.990 sec., 322.27 mph to 3.949 sec., 321.19 mph

Quotable: “After struggling a bit in qualifying, it was a solid day for the DHL Toyota team. We want to go as many rounds as we can in these Countdown races, but we did not lose it today. The DHL guys will head to St. Louis, a place that brings fond memories from just one season ago.”

Point Standings: Second (-42); trails with first-place Ron Capps by 42 points, leads third-place John Force by eight points

JR Todd

Todd suffers early defeat in Charlotte

Race Recap: Todd and the SealMaster team were prepared to go into the Countdown battle when they hit the zMax Dragway surface earlier this weekend. Two consistent runs on Friday clinched a top half start, which allowed the SealMaster team to test some new ideas on Saturday.

They were looking forward to a long Sunday. The brightly accented SealMaster Toyota Top Fuel dragster was the part of the last pair to see the track with his opponent, Pat Dakin. Unforuntately, it would not be the long day that the SealMaster team set out for as Todd suffered tire smoke early on. It was his first loss in the opening round since Bristol in June.


Qualified: No. 6 (3.741 sec., 325.37 mph)

  • E1: Todd defeated by Dakin – 4.667 sec., 173.85 mph to 3.811 sec., 319.90 mph

Quotable: “Not what the SealMaster Toyota guys were looking for as we began the Countdown for the Championship charge. It is unfortunate, but we are not out of it yet. We will go to Gateway and battle hard to get back into the thick of the chase for the title.”

Point Standings: Sixth (-152); trails fifth-place Tony Schumacher by 25 points, leads seventh-place Shawn Langton by seven points

Alexis DeJoria

Stellar qualifying effort doesn’t turn into Sunday success for DeJoria

Race Recap: The Countdown kick-off race showed much promise early on for DeJoria. The Tommy DeLago-tuned Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car made four clean runs down zMax Dragway in qualifying, including earning a bonus point in the third qualifying pass. However, Sunday, DeJoria saw her first sign of tire smoke on her machine, while her opponent, John Bojec, made a clean pass ending DeJoria’s day in the first round.


Qualified: No. 4 (3.887 sec., 324.67 mph)

  • E1: DeJoria defeated by Bojec – DQ (center line) to 4.059 sec., 308.78 mph

Point Standings: 10th (-158); trails ninth-place Tim Wilkerson by 31 points

For further requests for Alexis DeJoria, please contact:

Allison McCormick

Kalitta PR Contact:
Cody Poor

All photos are courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.

Mello Yello Championship Points:

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Antron Brown (2226)
2. Doug Kalitta (2184)
3. Steve Torrence (2126)
4. Brittany Force (2110)
5. Tony Schumacher (2099)
6. J.R. Todd (2074)
7. Shawn Langdon (2067)
8. Leah Pritchett (2054)
9. Clay Millican (2052)
10. Richie Crampton (2046)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (2194)
2. Del Worsham (2152)
3. John Force (2144)
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2132)
5. Matt Hagan (2122)
6. Courtney Force (2094)
7. Robert Hight (2093)
8. Jack Beckman (2084)
9. Tim Wilkerson (2067)
10. Alexis DeJoria (2036)

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.

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