Post-Race Report Event 24: Auto Club Finals Auto Club Raceway of Pomona Pomona, Calif.

Shawn Langdon Pomona Sunday.jpg

 Shawn Langdon Pomona Sunday.jpg

Runner-up finish for Langdon at the Auto Club Finals

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team earned their second final round appearance in the last three races of the season today at the Auto Club Finals.

Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team did not have the start to qualifying that they would have liked as they started the Saturday’s qualifying session not qualified. However, Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn had the right tuneup on Saturday and had two solid passes to get the Global Electronic Technology machine qualified in the 11th position. 

However, that forced Langdon to have a a tough draw to start eliminations as the Global Electronic Technology driver faced Tony Schumacher in the first round. Langdon was ready as he got a hundredth of a second on the starting line and took that advantage to stripe to defeat Schumacher on a holeshot. 

That advanced Langdon to face another Don Schumacher Racing machine, Leah Pritchett. Langdon took advantage at the starting line and never trailed as the Global Electronic Technology dragster was ahead the whole way and Langdon would record his best elapsed time of the season, a 3.683, to easily defeat Pritchett. 

In the semifinals, Langdon took on his teammate Doug Kalitta. Langdon moved first and earned his second holeshot win of the day as he took out Kalitta in a close race to advance Langdon to his second final round of the season and 30th of his career.

Langdon faced the same driver he faced in the Dallas final: Brittany Force. Langdon had a huge jump at the line, but the Global Electronic Technology machine hit near immediate tire smoke. Langdon pedaled once, but Force made a clean pass to take the win. 

Qualified: No. 11 (3.784 sec., 315.56 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated Schumacher – 3.725 sec., 328.38 mph to 3.724 sec., 328.38 mph 

E2: Langdon defeated Pritchett – 3.683 sec., 321.81 mph to 3.714 sec., 320.20 mph

E3: Langdon defeated Kalitta – 3.718 sec., 318.54 mph to 3.703 sec., 331.04 mph

Final: Langdon defeated by B. Force – 9.818 sec., 89.16 mph to 3.668 sec., 330.07 mph

Quotable: “I really wanted to end my Top Fuel time with a win; these Global Electronic Technology guys really deserved it. I am so proud on how they came together and what we achieved in such a short time. It is going to be a short offseason, and I am really looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Final Point Standings: Seventh

Doug Pomona Sunday 

Kalitta closes the season with a semi-final finish

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team closed out another stellar season with a semi-final finish in today’s Auto Club Finals in Pomona. 

Kalitta was consistent in qualifying but was unable to earn any qualifying bonus points. However, the Mac Tools team did what they had to do and kept their deficit to under 90 points to give them a shot at the title going into Sunday. The Mac Tools driver would be seeded seventh overall and faced Australian Wayne Newby in the first round.

Kalitta and Newby left together, but Kalitta continued to gain and grow the advantage. The Mac Tools ride ended up running the low elapsed time of the first round and set a new track speed record at over 332 mph. 

After Brittany Force would claim the title in front of Kalitta in the second round, the Mac Tools team turned their focus to another Auto Club Finals trophy. The mission was still in tact with a nice 3.687 pass in the quarterfinals that allowed Kalitta to advance past Clay Millican. 

That moved Kalitta to the semifinals, where he would face his teammate Shawn Langdon. Langdon got a couple hundredths on the starting line and he was able to take that advantage to the finish line to eliminate Kalitta. 

Even in defeat, Kalitta had another stellar season in his hall-of-fame career. He would end the season in the third spot in the standings. 

Qualified: No. 7 (3.738 sec., 325.37 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Newby – 3.684 sec., 332.59 mph to 3.786 sec., 326.32 mph **TRACK MPH RECORD**

E2: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.687 sec., 330.96 mph to 3.698 sec., 328.38 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Langdon – 3.703 sec., 331.04 mph to 3.718 sec., 318.54 mph

Quotable: “A great race to end with the teammate. We would have loved to had got the win today for all the Mac Tools distributors, but we had a great season. I am already looking forward to 2018.”

Final Point Standings: Third

Richie Pomona Sunday

Crampton claims a round win in Pomona

Race Recap: Richie Crampton finished his solid run in the SealMaster Toyota Top Fuel dragster with another round win. 

In four passes in qualifying, the SealMaster team led by Donnie Bender made three solid runs. Their best was a 3.748 second effort recorded in the second qualifying session on Friday afternoon. They just missed recording bonus points, but the run kept the SealMaster driver in the top half of the field all weekend and eventually seeded them eighth overall. 

For the second straight Sunday, Crampton drew Terry McMillen in the first round. Crampton and McMillen were the first pair to see the track and left side-by-side, but Bender had a great tune-up behind the SealMaster Toyota and Crampton would earn the round win. 

In the quarterfinals, Crampton came up against Brittany Force. Again, the drivers would leave beside each other, but Force laid down the low elapsed time of the eliminations and Crampton’s 3.757 proved to be not enough.

Despite only starting seven events, Crampton had a solid run. He earned a final round appearance in Charlotte and scored five round wins. 

Qualified: No. 8 (3.748 sec., 316.23 mph) 

E1: Crampton defeated McMillen – 3.724 sec., 328.62 mph to 3.769 sec., 324.36 mph

E2: Crampton defeated by B. Force – 3.757 sec., 323.81 mph to 3.679 sec., 328.22 mph

Quotable: “It was a nice way to end the season. We wanted to do more to help Doug Kalitta to win a championship. Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short. Hats off to Brittany and Alan Johnson. That 3.67 was tough to beat. All in all it was a good way to end the year. Finishing up the season for SealMaster and Toyota with the legendary Connie Kalitta was like a dream come to true. I’m extremely proud of this team and I can’t thank him enough.”

JR Todd Sunday Pomona

Todd’s season ends in early defeat in Pomona

Race Recap: J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Camry team had a tough finish to their season as they were defeated in the first round of the Auto Club Finals.

Friday qualifying did not go to plan for co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith as the DHL Toyota Camry sat outside the field going into Saturday. However, they got a handle of the track in the third qualifying session on Saturday afternoon and recorded a solid 3.946 which slotted Todd right in the middle of the field. Todd ended up earning the ninth starting spot and a first round draw of John Force. 

It was close at the starting line, but Todd was forced to make quick pedal. John Force had mechanical woes and Todd was rapidly chasing him down before he just ran out of track and Force was able to move on. 

Qualified: No. 9 (3.946 sec., 325.53 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by J.Force – 4.203 sec., 310.05 mph to 4.178 sec., 232.39 mph

Quotable: “To lose in the first round is a very disappointing way to close out this season for the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota team. We have accomplished a lot, but we definitely strive to be the best. My guys will work hard in the offseason and I am confident we will be ready for pre-season testing in Phoenix next January.”

Final Point Standings: Ninth

Alexis Pomona

DeJoria ends career with a strong Pomona effort

Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria’s six-year Funny Car career came to an end at the Auto Club NHRA Finals on Sunday afternoon.
After qualifying fifth for the 141st event of her professional career, DeJoria faced Jim Campbell in the first round of eliminations. The five-time Funny Car winner had the advantage off of the starting line. She powered her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry down the track in 3.932-seconds at 331.45-miles per hour, defeating Campbell’s tire smoking effort.
The Southern California native drew Tommy Johnson Jr. in the quarterfinal round. DeJoria made another strong run, but Johnson Jr.’s 3.911 E.T. edged out DeJoria’s 3.944-sec. at 327.90-mph pass, which would be recorded as the final run of DeJoria’s 12-year NHRA career.
“I could sit here and say it was a tough day and hard to go out with a loss, but honestly, we ran hella good throughout qualifying, ran well on race day, it just wasn’t our day to win that trophy,” said the 2014 U.S. Nationals Funny Car event champion.
DeJoria, who announced her retirement following the conclusion of the 2017 season last month, hands over the reins of her Nicky Boninfante-Tommy DeLago-led operation to Kalitta teammate, Shawn Langdon, beginning with the 2018 NHRA season.
“This is a top-notch team. Shawn’s going to be stepping into a really good car, and my guys are going to get a great driver. I’m glad the operation will continue with Global Electronic Technology on the side.”
As the feeling of finality sank in for the only driver to claim a win in each of the Funny Car, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Super Comp categories, DeJoria expressed gratitude and appreciation for her time, and friends made, along the NHRA tour.
“I want to thank all of my sponsors for their support. Patrón, Toyota, Mac Tools, Red Line Oil, Justice Brothers, Global Electronic Technology, and most of all, the Kalitta family. I say ‘family’ because that’s what they truly are. Everybody connected to this family here has just been incredible and I’m going to miss them so much. My team, my crew chiefs, all those guys, they always give me a great car on race day.
“I’m going to miss racing against all of these guys and girls. When we’re on that line, it’s one thing, we’re out for blood, but behind the scenes, we’re family.
“Lastly, thank you to all of our incredible fans for coming out and supporting us through thick and thin for all of these years.” 

Qualified: No. 5 (3.894 sec., 331.94 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated Campbell – 3.932 sec., 331.45 mph to broke

E2: DeJoria defeated by Johnson Jr. – 3.944 sec., 327.90 mph to 3.911 sec., 329.34 mph