Post-Race Report Event 21: AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Gateway Motorsports Park Madison, Ill.

Doug Kalitta Sunday

Doug Kalitta Sunday

Kalitta advances to the Gateway final

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team advanced to the final before losing a close race to Steve Torrence at Gateway Motorsports Park earlier today.

Kalitta started his weekend with bonus points and new career-best in qualifying. It occurred in the second round of qualifying on Friday evening as Kalitta took the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster to the 1,000 foot line in 3.681 seconds, which lowered his career-best elapsed time by one thousandth of a second. Kalitta eventually qualified his Mac Tools machine in the fourth position for the stacked field.

In the first round, Kalitta faced fellow Countdown competitor Scott Palmer. Kalitta got off the line first, and that ended up giving him the win. He was on a great pass before a problem caused a massive explosion. Kalitta was only going 275mph at the line, but thanks to his starting line skills, he was still able to get the win.

After the Mac Tools team put their car back together, they came back to the line to face Brittany Force. Kalitta was ready with a .035 reaction time to give him the early advantage. Kalitta would never give it up and move on the semi-finals defeating the driver directly behind him in the point standings.

In the semi-finals, Kalitta drew the upset-minded Dom Lagana, who reached the semi-finals for the second straight weekend. Kalitta again got the jump at the line and steadily pulled away to move to his fourth final round of the year. His opponent was the man he is chasing for the title: Steve Torrence.

The final pair to the Gateway Motorsports Park surface was the duo, and Kalitta moved first at the starting line. Unfortunately it was not enough as Torrence was able to drive back around and get the win. 

Qualified: No. 4 (3.681 sec., 331.85 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Palmer – 3.845 sec., 275.34 mph to 3.827 sec., 306.74 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated Force – 3.717 sec., 329.83 mph to 4.250 sec., 231.83 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated Lagana – 3.718 sec., 330.23 mph to 3.760 sec., 326.24 mph

Final: Kalitta defeated Torrence –  3.698 sec., 331.28 mph to 3.684 sec., 329.34 mph

Quotable: “Tough way to end a great race weekend for this Mac Tools Toyota team. We had a great hot rod, and just came up a little short there in the final. We still have a shot at this title and I have the best group behind me. We will put these Mac Tools to work and go some more rounds in Dallas.”

Point Standings: Second; leads Brittany Force by 41 point for third, trails Steve Torrence by 42 points for first

Richie Crampton Sunday

Crampton falls in the first round

Race Recap: Richie Crampton’s day ended early at the AAA Midwest Nationals as the SealMaster driver lost in the first round.

Crampton had an outstanding second qualifying pass on Friday evening. The SealMaster Toyota Top Fuel dragster blazed down Gateway Motorsports Park in 3.714 seconds at nearly 327 mph. That clinched Crampton’s spot in the field, and after a little bumping in the final qualifying session, the ninth starting spot.

Crampton and his fellow Countdown spoiler, Dom Lagana, were the first pair to hit the track on Sunday morning. Crampton had an great .048 second light, but soon after the SealMaster machine hit immediate tire smoke. Lagana made a clean run to move on.

Qualified: No. 9 (3.714 sec., 326.87 mph) 

E1: Crampton defeated by Lagana – 9.662 sec., 85.00 mph to 3.727 sec., 325.69 mph

Quotable: “First round losses are tough. But big picture, we had a very constructive weekend and made some gains on the performance and reliability with this SealMaster car. I am pretty excited about Dallas.”

Shawn Langdon Sunday

Langdon dealt tough opening round loss

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team were unable to claim a round win earlier today in St. Louis.

Qualifying was solid for Langdon, as the Global Electronic Technology team made four passes to the line. Each pass was a 3.7 second run, but they were unable to dip into the 3.6 second range, so Langdon was forced to start from the bottom half of the field in the tenth spot. 

Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team drew the points leader, Steve Torrence, in the opening round. Langdon was solid on the tree, but the Global Electronic Technology machine started dropping cylinders. Torrence was clean to the line to score the round win. 

Qualified: No. 10 (3.726 sec., 322.04 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated by Torrence – 3.675 sec., 329.58 mph to 3.675 sec., 329.58 mph 

Quotable: “We got put in a position where based on qualifying, we had to race Steve (Torrence) in the first round. He has the hottest car; he is leading the points for a reason. We did the best that we could. I felt really good about my .051 reaction time. By the early numbers, we were probably going a 3.69 or a 3.70 until it smoked the tires. We were there in case he made a mistake. Unfortunately, he didn’t. He made a good run and cut a good light. It sucks, but it is what it is. At this point, we need to focus on picking up a couple spots in points. It will be real tough for us to go after the Championship. I think we make sure Doug is good, and take care of him, and do the best we can.”

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

JR Todd Sunday

Tire smoke ends Todd’s day early

Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL team fell in the first round at the AAA Midwest Nationals.

Todd and the DHL team did not get all they would have liked in qualifying, but the ended up with a solid 3.904 second pass in the final qualifying session which gave the DHL team a bonus point. They would earn the 10th starting spot and a draw of fellow Countdown competitor Courtney Force.

Todd got the jump at the starting line with the second best reaction time in the class in the first round, but was forced to pedal his DHL Toyota Camry early. Todd expertly pedaled, but Force made a clean run and picked up the round win on Todd. 

Qualified: No. 10 (3.904 sec., 332.02 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by C. Force – 4.321 sec., 270.21 mph to 3.877 sec., 334.32 mph

Quotable: “It is very disappointing to lose in the first round. My DHL/WIX Filters guys are working hard, and they deserve to win. We will get back to the shop and get everything ready and make another run at them in Dallas.”

Point Standings: Eighth; leads Tim Wilkerson by 38 points for eighth; trails Tommy Johnson Jr. by 23 points for seventh

Alexis DeJoria Sunday

DeJoria gets a St. Louis round win

Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria powered her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry down the Gateway Motorsports Park dragstrip in 3.863-seconds at 333.16-mph on Friday evening. Not only was the impressive run a career-best E.T. and speed for DeJoria, but it was enough to earn her third consecutive top-half qualifying spot.
As the No. 4 qualifier, DeJoria faced thirteenth qualified Cruz Pedregon in round one of eliminations. With her 3.886-sec pass, DeJoria easily defeated Pedregon’s 4.063 and raced her way into the NHRA Midwest Nationals quarterfinals.
Round two found Team Patrón squaring off against Jonnie Lindberg. DeJoria and Lindberg ran an exciting side-by-side race, but unfortunately Team Patrón’s solid 3.939-sec effort wasn’t enough to take down Lindberg’s session-best pass.

Qualified: No. 4 (3.863 sec., 333.16 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated Pedregon – 3.886 sec., 329.34 mph to 4.063 sec., 296.31 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated by Lindberg – 3.939 sec., 325.45 mph to 3.870 sec., 330.96 mph