Post-Race Report Event 20: NHRA Nationals Maple Grove Raceway Reading, Penn.

Doug Maple Grove

Doug Maple Grove

Kalitta loses in the quarterfinals

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta set a new career-best MPH, but was defeated in the quarterfinals earlier today in Reading, Penn. 

For the second straight race to start the Countdown for the Championship, the Mac Tools driver was stout in qualifying. He earned seven bonus points and ran two of the four fastest runs in NHRA history. He would earn the second starting spot, a mere five hundredths of as second behind the no.1 qualifier, Clay Millican.

Kalitta faced a debuting Audrey Worm in the first round and showed her no mercy with a stellar .051 reaction time. The Mac Tools machine’s elapsed time was strong as well as the 3.766 second elapsed time gave him lane choice in the second round.

His quarterfinal opponent was local Dom Lagana. The Mac Tools driver was again solid at the tree, but his ride fell to near immediate tire smoke. Kalitta pedaled, but was unable to catch Lagana. 

Qualified: No. 2 (3.704 sec., 333.66 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Worm – 3.766 sec., 328.14 mph to 4.436 sec., 271.13 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated by Lagana – 7.164 sec., 127.99 mph to 4.301 sec., 243.24 mph

Quotable: “It is very disappointing to have such a short day here in Reading. My Mac Tools team is working so hard, and we will go to St. Louis and attempt to pick up some of the points that we lost here.”

Point Standings: Second; leads Brittany Force by one point for third, trails Steve Torrence by 22 points for first

Richie Maple Grove

Crampton suffers first round loss

Race Recap: Richie Crampton and the SealMaster team were unable to continue their Charlotte magic this weekend in Reading as they bowed out in the first round.

The SealMaster group continued the strategy of early shut off passes in qualifying to allow themselves to acquire all the data they needed to make good decisions for raceday. Despite not making a full pass, Crampton still earned the ninth seed with a run that didn’t clear 300 mph.

In the first round Crampton and the SealMaster dragster lined up against defending champion Antron Brown. Unfortunately, at about 100 feet, the SealMaster machine suffered mechanical woes and Antron Brown was able to make a clean pass to the stripe for the round win.

Qualified: No. 9 (3.767 sec., 282.60 mph) 

E1: Crampton defeated by Brown – 7.999 sec., 70.92 mph to 3.758 sec., 290.94 mph

Quotable: “My SealMaster Toyota team is working really hard and we really wanted to take out Antron there to continue helping our teammates. However, we are definitely making progress, and I am excited to get to St. Louis and see what we can do there.”

Shawn Maple Grove

Tough weekend for Langdon ends early

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon returned to the familiar Global Electronic Technology colors, but unfortunately the struggles continued for the former champion.

After tire smoke in both runs on Friday, Saturday did not start much better for Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team as the car had problems on the starting line and forced Langdon and the team to not complete the run. However, the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn led team came back with a vengeance in the final qualifying pass and was able to score a solid 3.780 second pass.

That run gave Langdon the 10th starting spot and a first round draw of local driver Dom Lagana. Langdon got a huge jump at the tree and was driving away before he again hit tire smoke. Langdon pedaled, but Lagana’s clean run easily got to the stripe first ending the Global Electronic Technology driver’s day early. 

Qualified: No. 10 (3.780 sec., 326.56 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated by Lagana – 4.503 sec., 203.71 mph to 3.790 sec., 320.20 mph 

Quotable: “We got behind in qualifying. We made a good run in Q4 and we felt good about it. But we just pushed it too hard and smoked the tires in the first round. It was just unfortunate. I had a good jump at the tree, but it just didn’t work out for today.”

Point Standings: 10th; trails Scott Palmer by six points for ninth

JR Todd Maple Grove

Close race doesn’t go Todd’s way in Reading

Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota team lost by mere inches in the first round in Reading today.

The Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith machine was solid in qualifying with three complete runs. Their best, a 3.929, gave the DHL driver the seventh starting spot going into Sunday’s eliminations.

For the fifth time this season, Todd would face Tim Wilkerson. Todd had yet to take a loss to the veteran, but that streak would end. Todd scored a stellar .059 reaction time, which was among the top five in the class, but Wilkerson was able to just edge ahead at the finish line. Todd’s combined reaction time and elapsed time would have defeated five of the other seven first round Funny Car winners.

Qualified: No. 7 (3.929 sec., 326.87 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by Wilkerson – 3.958 sec., 326.71 mph to 3.953 sec., 326.56 mph

Quotable: “Really tough loss in a very close drag race there in the first round with Wilk. I really hate it for my DHL Toyota team; we haven’t been running exactly what we wanted to all weekend. So when you lose in a close race like that it really stings. However, we are still focused and know we have a shot at it. Our plan is to go into St. Louis and run strong.”

Point Standings: Seventh; leads John Force by 19 points for eighth; trails Tommy Johnson Jr. by 24 for sixth

Alexis Maple Grove

DeJoria loses in the first round

Race Recap: Team Patrón’s performance consistency from the last several events carried over into the NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The Patrón Toyota Camry made solid runs three out of four times during qualifying, and their strong performance yielded a starting position from the top half of the field on race day.
As the sixth seeded contender, Alexis DeJoria had lane choice over 11thqualified Tommy Johnson Jr. in round one. The Patrón Camry smoked the tires early into the run. DeJoria skillfully pedaled the car in an attempt to chase Johnson Jr. down, but he was already too far down track and despite smoking the tires later in the run, was able to cross the beams first.
DeJoria, who was celebrating a birthday on Sunday, will not have to wait long to have another shot at putting her Patrón Camry in the Winner’s Circle for the second time this year. Team Patrón competes next at the NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis, beginning Friday, September 29th

Qualified: No. 6 (3.914 sec., 328.70 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated by Johnson Jr. – 4.684 sec., 266.27 mph to 4.226 sec., 226.62 mph