Kalitta wins first career race at Charlotte, takes points lead
Race Recap: Doug Kalitta claimed victory today in his Mac Tools Toyota, his first career win in Charlotte.
Kalitta was on point the entire weekend. He earned five bonus points in qualifying and his second straight Carolina Nationals no.1 qualifier with a Friday evening 3.723 second effort. It was Kalitta’s second no.1 qualifier of the season and 49th of his career.
That had the Mac Tools team excited for eliminations. In the first round, they were able to overcome a dropped cylinder which led to a subpar elapsed time. However, the Jim Oberhofer-led team never looked back from that moment.
Kalitta moved to the quarterfinals and another matchup with Tony Schumacher. This time, it went Kalitta’s way. The Mac Tools driver was away first and never trailed his opponent. He would drive the Mac Tools ride straight to the semi-finals.
The semi-final opponent was Clay Millican and Millican had lane choice. The Mac Tools driver showed his driving excellence by getting the jump on the line and continued that lead to the finish line to move to his third final of the season.
But he was on the search for this first win, and he would get it. Racing his new teammate, Richie Crampton, in the third all-Team Kalitta Top Fuel final in the last two seasons, Kalitta would move first with his Mac Tools machine. He had issues, but so did Crampton, and Kalitta would hold on for his first win of the season, first of his career at Charlotte and 43rd of his incredible career.
With the win, Kalitta took the points lead for the first time this season.
Qualified: No. 1 (3.723 sec., 329.50 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Karamesines – 3.857 sec., 314.31 mph to 6.627 sec., 88.00 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated Schumacher – 3.775 sec., 325.53 mph to 3.791 sec., 325.61 mph
E3: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.784 sec., 322.50 mph to 3.804 sec., 313.73 mph
Final: Kalitta defeated Crampton – 3.775 sec., 318.39 mph to 3.876 sec., 306.40 mph
Quotable: “Getting the first win here at a this great facility is huge for me and Mac Tools and all of our partners. It is nice to get a Charlotte win. We have been coming here a lot of years. It is a great day for sure.”
“All my Mac Tools distributors have been wondering what we are doing. They support us so much. We are so proud to bring this win to them. It is great day for Connie and the team as well.”
Point Standings: First; leads Steve Torrence by 14 points for second
Crampton drives the SealMaster Toyota to the final
Race Recap: In just his second start with Kalitta Motorsports, Richie Crampton drove the SealMaster Toyota to the final round.
The SealMaster team had a very strong effort in qualifying. In the evening session on Friday, Crampton was on a stellar pass before losing the blower belt. It still ran 3.749 seconds and easily allowed the SealMaster team to claim a spot in the top half of the field.
Crampton immediately helped his teammate, Shawn Langdon, with his first round win. Crampton took out Scott Palmer, the man directly in front of Langdon in the standings, with a stellar 3.755 second pass, which was the second best run of the entire session.
Crampton would not stop there. Next up, he picked his lane against the points leader coming into the race, Steve Torrence. Crampton got the jump at the tree and never trailed. His 3.768 second elapsed time was again the second-best pass of the session.
The SealMaster team would move on to the semi-finals and a date with Brittany Force. For the third time today, Crampton got the starting line advantage. Force never caught up and Crampton was on to his first final round appearance in just his second race of the season.
Ironically, it was Crampton’s first final round appearance since Sonoma in 2016 when he lost to now-teammate J.R. Todd, who was driving the SealMaster car.
In the all-Team Kalitta final, Crampton encountered problems. He legged the SealMaster machine down the track, but was unable to pick up the win over his teammate Doug Kalitta.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.749 sec., 284.33 mph)
E1: Crampton defeated Palmer – 3.755 sec., 311.85 mph to 3.837 sec., 322.81 mph
E2: Crampton defeated Torrence – 3.768 sec., 319.67 mph to 3.782 sec., 325.30 mph
E3: Crampton defeated B. Force – 3.809 sec., 308.28 mph to 3.859 sec., 312.71 mph
Final: Crampton defeated by Kalitta – 3.876 sec., 306.40 mph to 3.775 sec., 318.39 mph
Quotable: “It was huge to be able to go to the final round. Most importantly, it was a big day for the SealMaster team and Toyota. Everyone on this team works hard and they’ve had a rough year, so it is a lot of fun to go rounds with this team. What a day. And in the big picture it was a great day for Kalitta Motorsports. Now, let’s see what we can do the rest of the year.”
Todd starts Countdown with strong effort
Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team continued his strong recent performance with a semi-final effort at the Carolina Nationals earlier today.
Todd started the run with his best qualifying effort of his season. Todd started qualifying by running low elapsed time of the first session, and backed that up with the second best run of the evening session. He would earn the second starting position, which is a new career-best in Funny Car.
He started eliminations strong as well. In the first round against Jeff Diehl, Todd got a great jump at the line and the Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer tuneup was on point with a stellar 3.954 second pass that gave him lane choice in the second round.
The opponent in the second round: the defending champion Ron Capps. Todd was again off the line first and it mattered. Capps closed, but Todd would hold on for the holeshot win to move back to the semi-finals.
Against the new points leader, Robert Hight, Todd got the starting line advantage and was ahead at 660 before his Camry encountered issues. He still ran a 3.999, but Hight was able to drive around to move to the final and the eventual race win.
Qualified: No. 2 (3.954 sec., 327.19 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Diehl – 3.954 sec., 327.19 mph to 4.829 sec., 177.49 mph
E2: Todd defeated Capps – 3.975 sec., 321.81 mph to 3.968 sec., 323.50 mph
E3: Todd defeated by Hight – 3.999 sec., 315.19 mph to 3.985 sec., 325.14 mph
Quotable: “All-in-all it was a good weekend for the DHL/WIX Filters team. We had those guys covered in the semis and it burned a cylinder out of it by half track. It is bittersweet to know we had a shot at winning this thing and moving up even higher in the standings. But I can’t complain coming out of here fifth in points. The car is coming around at the right time of the year, and I hope it stays hot these next few races.”
Point Standings: Fifth; tied with Hagan
Langdon loses early in Charlotte
Race Recap: Shawn Langdon flew different colors this weekend as WIX Filters took the primary position aboard his dragster. Unfortunately, despite a stellar Saturday qualifying effort, Langdon was defeated in the first round.
Friday did not yield the results that the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-tuned machine would have liked, but Saturday was a different story for the WIX Filters team. Langdon started with a solid 3.831 second pass which earned the team a bonus point. The final lap was even better as the WIX Filters team recorded a 3.778. That pass moved them to the top half of the field and gave Langdon two more valuable bonus points.
The WIX Filters team would be seeded eighth and have a first round draw of Tony Schumacher. With the sun beating down on zMax Dragway, Langdon and Schumacher were pushed to the final pair of the round. Langdon was stellar on the tree, recording a .043 light, but it was not a clean round WIX Filters machine, and Schumacher was able to drive around for the round win.
Qualified: No. 8 (3.778 sec., 318.84 mph)
E1: Langdon defeated by Schumacher – 4.073 sec., 286.62v mph to 3.765 sec., 325.45 mph
Quotable: “It just sucks. With it being the first race of the Countdown, we needed to make moves. We had a good qualifying effort on Saturday, and felt good coming into today. Running Schumacher, you have to make a good run against him. It stings a little bit, but we still have five races to make a comeback. Fortunately the guys at the top did not go a lot of rounds, so we still have an opportunity. We just have to make the best of it.”
Point Standings: 10th; trails Scott Palmer by six points for ninth
Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria and the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team had one of the strongest performing cars at zMAX Dragway throughout the NHRA Carolina Nationals.
Three out of DeJoria’s four qualifying passes were ‘Top Three’ runs, earning her a qualifying spot in the top half of the field going into race day.
DeJoria’s first round opponent was No. 12 qualifier Jonnie Lindberg. The NHRA Brainerd winner piloted her Patrón Toyota Camry down the track in 3.980-seconds, easily defeating Lindberg’s tire smoking pass.
Second round found DeJoria squaring off against Jim Campbell and once again, DeJoria’s crew chiefs Nicky Boninfante and Tommy DeLago were ready with the hot track tune-up. Unfortunately for Campbell, the race was over before it even started when he jumped the gun and set off the red light.
In the semifinal round, DeJoria drew Courtney Force. Both women made solid runs, but Force’s 3.957-sec pass edged out DeJoria’s 3.976, ending Team Patrón’s day at the semis.
DeJoria and her team leave zMAX Dragway with the bragging rights of being the only Funny Car team to run in the three-second zone all weekend. They look to carry the momentum into the NHRA Nationals in Reading, Penn., kicking off in five days.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.910 sec., 324.51 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated Lindberg – 3.980 sec., 319.45 mph to 7.831 sec., 103.88 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated Campbell – 3.979 sec., 320.05 mph to Foul
E3: DeJoria defeated by C. Force – 3.976 sec., 322.04 mph to 3.957 sec., 325.06 mph