Todd reaches season-high fifth final round
Race Recap: Todd and the SealMaster team waited to the last pass on Saturday to set their spot in the field as the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-tuned dragster blazed the Las Vegas Motor Speedway surface with a 3.751 second pass. Todd just missed the top half of the field and earned the ninth starting spot.
Todd and his opponent, Shawn Langdon, were first the pair to hit the track after pre-race ceremonies. Team SealMaster was ready as Todd drove straight down the track with a number that nearly equaled his qualifying pass defeating the tire-smoking Langdon. However, Todd and the SealMaster guys were not done. Against no.1 qualifer, Clay Millican, the SealMaster Toyota dragster went 1,000 feet in 3.709 seconds, setting low elapsed time of race day and earning Todd his third semi-final or better in the last four events, and ninth in the last 12 races.
Todd was not done. Taking on the new Top Fuel champion Antron Brown, Todd again laid down the best run of the session aboard his SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, achieving a new career-high with five final round appearances this season. However, a second victory this season was not in the cards as Todd’s opponent, Steve Torrence, defeated him in a close race.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.751 sec., 321.81 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Langdon – 3.752 sec., 324.12 mph to 10.405 sec., 82.67 mph
E2: Todd defeated Millican – 3.709 sec., 328.94 mph to 3.727 sec., 328.38 mph
E3: Todd defeated Brown – 3.719 sec., 329.02 mph to 7.720 sec., 92.29 mph
Final: Todd defeated by Torrence – 3.762 sec., 321.96 mph to 3.734 sec., 323.81 mph
Quotable: “Tough way to end a strong day for the SealMaster Toyota team. We wanted to pick up the win with all of these great Toyota people on site, but it was not our day. Look forward to Pomona and hopefully ending this season on a strong note.”
Point Standings: Sixth (-244); trails fifth-place Shawn Langdon by 13 points, leads seventh-place Leah Pritchett by 18 points
Worsham has tough defeat in the second round
Race Recap: At Toyota’s race, Worsham and the DHL Toyota team came into Las Vegas motivated to run strong. The earned their spot in a stellar Funny Car field with their sub-3.9 second run in the evening session on Friday night and started seventh overall.
Worsham would draw a fellow Championship competitor in the first round in Tommy Johnson Jr. All the eyes were on this pair as they were the only top five matchup in round one. Worsham and Johnson Jr. left together but the DHL Toyota driver steadily pulled away to end Johnson Jr.’s day. Unfortunately, Worsham did not get the win he desired as went out in the second round despite recording an outstanding .041 reaction time, which was the best-of-class that session.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.895 sec., 325.69 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Johnson Jr. – 3.923 sec., 327.35 mph to 3.949 sec., 321.65 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by Hagan – 3.935 sec., 326.71 mph to 3.887 sec., 329.02 mph
Quotable: “Definitely wanted to go further than the second round today at Toyota’s race in the DHL Toyota Camry, but just got beat on a better run. Excited to finish the season strong, so we will head to Pomona and look to repeat last year’s success.”
Point Standings: Sixth (-173); trails with fifth-place John Force by 14 points, leads seventh-place Courtney Force by 39 points
Kalitta loses close race in quarter-finals
Race Recap: Defending Toyota Nationals champion Doug Kalitta was motivated for a repeat. His Mac Tools team performed amongst the best on Friday qualifying with three bonus points, and after the completion of qualifying Kalitta was scored in the third starting position.
The Mac Tools Toyota driver ended up earning a single in the first round as his opponent, Scott Palmer, lost fire. Kalitta ended up dropping a clyinder at the early part of the run and were scored with a 3.976 second pass. That moved Kalitta to the second round and a draw of Steve Torrence. The Mac Tools dragster moved first but Torrence was just able to track him down to end Kalitta’s chance at a repeat.
Qualified: No. 3 (3.709 sec., 324.20 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Palmer – 3.976 sec., 251.77 mph to no run
E2: Kalitta defeated by Torrence – 3.739 sec., 324.75 mph to 3.732 sec., 324.83 mph
Quotable: “Great race there with Steve that just did not go our way. The Mac Tools team performed strong all weekend and I look forward to ending the season strong in Pomona.”
Point Standings: Third (-168); trails second-place Steve Torrence by 168 points, leads fourth-place Brittany Force by 47 points
(Doug Kalitta, Del Worsham, J.R. Todd)
All photos are courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
Team Patrón elects to sit out final eliminations
Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team did not compete at the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, Sunday, October 30.
The team elected not to participate in Sunday’s elimination rounds and will focus their efforts on regrouping for the 52nd Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, November 11-13.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.909 sec., 326.32 mph)
Point Standings: 10th (-362); trails ninth-place Tim Wilkerson by 78 points
For further requests for Alexis DeJoria, please contact:
Photo is courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
Lee hits career-best numbers in Vegas
Race Recap: Paul Lee’s long-awaited Kalitta Motorsports debut saw many highs in Las Vegas. He clinched his spot in the fastest qualified field in NHRA history with a career-best pass in the second round of qualifying and earned a career-best MPH on Saturday morning. Qualified 13th in the field, Lee drew points leader Ron Capps. Lee and Capps left together, but Capps picked up the round win. In the defeat, Lee reset his career-bests again with his 3.965 at 329.34 MPH pass.
Qualified: No. 13 (3.986 sec., 312.13 mph)
E1: Lee defeated by R. Capps – 3.965 sec., 329.34 mph to 3.916 sec., 323.66 mph
For further requests for Paul Lee, please contact:
Photo is courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (2581)
2. Steve Torrence (2424)
3. Doug Kalitta (2413)
4. Brittany Force (2366)
5. Shawn Langdon (2365)
6. J.R. Todd (2352)
7. Leah Pritchett (2334)
8. Tony Schumacher (2332)
9. Clay Millican (2232)
10. Richie Crampton (2227)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (2546)
2. Matt Hagan (2460)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2433)
4. Jack Beckman (2395)
5. John Force (2387)
6. Del Worsham (2373)
7. Courtney Force (2334)
8. Robert Hight (2313)
9. Tim Wilkerson (2262)
10. Alexis DeJoria (2184)
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.