Todd reaches semifinal as consecutive round winning streak halts at 10
Race Recap: Coming off back-to-back wins, J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team reached the semifinals in St. Louis, seeing their streak of 10 consecutive round wins come to an end.
Todd continued his remarkably consistent streak through qualifying, as he entered eliminations seventh in the qualifying order after four strong passes: all of which were under the four-second mark. He was able to pick up one bonus point with the third-best run in the first round of qualifying.
In the first round of eliminations, Todd lined up against teammate Shawn Langdon. The DHL team, led by Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith, powered Todd to a 3.954-second pass, which was the fifth-best pass of the round to give him the victory against a strong run from Langdon.
In the second round, Todd lined up with No. 15 qualifier Cruz Pedregon who had upset Ron Capps in the first round. Although Todd was slower than Pedregon, Todd’s 4.064 run was enough to take out his opponent due to a red light violation.
In the semis, Todd matched up with Tim Wilkerson, who he defeated in the finals last week in Reading, Pa. The DHL/WIX Filters team ran into almost instant smoke, and his 6.100 at 152.28 was not enough to keep his winning streak alive.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.928 sec., 323.66 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Langdon – 3.954 sec., 318.69 mph to 3.997 at 320.20
E2: Todd defeated Pedregon – 4.064 sec., 307.58 mph to red light start
E3: Todd defeated by Wilkerson – 6.100 sec., 152.28 mph to 5.186 sec., 175.23 mph
Quotable: “We definitely got a lucky break there in the second round against Cruz. We had a hole out pretty early and I thought it was over. I didn’t realize he had red-lit. Then in the semis, we had a fuel leak out of the header on the right side and that caused us to smoke the tires. Then I just couldn’t get it to hook up and get by Wilkerson. It’s a shame to give up the points lead that way, but it’s still early in the fight. We’re not going to give up. We’ll go to Dallas and be ready to go there. It’s nice to have a week off for the guys. They’ve been working non-stop since Reading. We’ll go back to the shop, go through all of our parts and stock up. We’ll go to Dallas and try to get as many of those qualifying points as we can. We didn’t get as many as we needed here, but we’re leaving here less than two rounds out of the lead. As long as we can keep it close, we still have a chance at this thing.”
Point Standings: Second; trails Robert Hight by 30 points for first; leads Courtney Force by 40 points for third
Kalitta knocked out in tight first round matchup
Race Recap: Despite four consistent runs in qualifying to start off the weekend, Doug Kalitta was unable to build off that momentum in eliminations on Sunday.
Kalitta entered Sunday as the No. 10 qualifier where he matched up against Antron Brown.
The Mac Tools team certainly put up a fight, but their 3.972 at 323.58 was not enough to earn a victory.
Kalitta was knocked out in the first round for the first time in the past three events, as he was also unable to add-on to his three career victories at the facility.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.790 sec., 326.63 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Brown – 3.728 sec., 328.86 mph to 3.792 sec., 323.58 mph
Quotable: “This Mac Tools team worked hard all weekend and we had a consistent car each day. We ran into a tough opponent with Antron Brown and they were able to run a little quicker than us. We will regroup this week and be ready for Dallas.”
Point Standings: Sixth; leads Mike Salinas by 16 points for seventh; trails Antron Brown by 34 points for fifth
Langdon comes up short against teammate Todd in first round
Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology crew had a consistent weekend overall, but could not take down teammate J.R. Todd in round one of Sunday’s eliminations.
After four strong runs throughout qualifying, Langdon was once again able to put together a clean pass on Sunday. His 3.943 at 322.81 was enough to land in the No. 10 spot in qualifying, where he matched-up with Todd in eliminations.
In eliminations, Langdon was unable to get off the tree first, as his .075 off the line came up short against Todd’s .065. The Global Electronic Technology team ended up with a 3.997, which came up short to Todd’s 3.954 at 318.69/
He enters the third race of the Countdown 10th in the standings.
Qualified: No. 10 (3.943 sec., 322.81 mph)
E1: Langdon defeated by Todd – 3.997 sec., 320.20 mph to 3.954 sec., 318.69 mph
Quotable: “We keep getting tough draws, so we need to start doing a better job with qualifying. We have made some good power, but we need to get the car better down low so it can accelerate to meet the times that we think we should be running.”
Point Standings: Tenth; trails Jack Beckman by 27 points for ninth
Crampton knocked out in first round at Reading
Race Recap: Richie Crampton and the CRAFTSMAN team were unable to get out of the first round in St. Louis after falling against Tony Schumacher.
Qualifying concluded with Crampton 11th in the qualifying order, as a 3.774-second run was almost strong enough to move into the top half of the class.
In his first round matchup with Schumacher, Crampton left first, but smoked the tires and Tony moved head. Crampton was unable to track down his opponent and now sets his sights on an improved weekend in Dallas in two weeks.
Qualified: No. 11 (3.774 sec., 320.05 mph)
E1: Crampton defeated by Schumacher – 5.641 sec., 115.95 mph to 4.067 sec., 257.73 mph
Quotable: “We knew it was going to be a tough race with Tony Schumacher, so we definitely didn’t want to leave anything on the table. It bit us in the end, but we’re trying to do our best to take out the people who are contending with Doug for the championship. Obviously, the performance wasn’t what we wanted today, but we’re moving in the right direction for Dallas. At this point, we’re just trying to get a head-start on 2019. Of course, we still want to do as well as we can over the final four races.”