Post-Race #Route66Nats

1922 07256 8359

Kalitta and Mac Tools Race to Semifinals

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster were racing for win number four at Route 66 Raceway this weekend. His last victory at the super stadium outside of Chicago came in 2006 and the Michigan resident was set up for a long day at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

For the sixth race in a row Kalitta qualified in the top half heading into race day as the No. 5 qualifier. His first round opponent was Shawn Reed who he dropped a close race to earlier this season in Atlanta. This was the fifth time for these racers to square off and today Kalitta took a 3-2 career head-to-head record with a first round win. The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster moved first off the line and never trailed in the drag race. Kalitta also posted his quickest run of the weekend, a stout 3.752 second run at 326.63 mph for the win.

In the second round Kalitta pulled up beside long time Top Fuel racer Pat Dakin. As the two dragsters launched almost simultaneously Kalitta was pulling away as they passed the Christmas Tree. Kalitta’s winning time of 3.812 seconds at 321.04 mph set up a semifinal match-up with No. 1 qualifier and eventual runner-up Mike Salinas.

Kalitta knew he would need every inch of the race track to advance to his second final round of the season. As the starting line tree activated Kalitta hit the throttle just .021 seconds early earning a red-light disqualification.

“That was a tough way to lose,” said Kalitta. ”You have to grab every advantage you can in this class. I was just a little too aggressive and it cost us. I have won a lot of races on hole shots and this time it didn’t work out for the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. We will be right back at in next weekend.”

Doug Kalitta on hosting Mac Tools executives this weekend: “I always love having Mac Tools executives at the races. It was great to host Ken Hartman (Mac Tools president), Josh Cowley (President Stanley Black & Decker, Industrial Group), Mike Button, Ben Frank, and John Wolfe at the races. These are the people that make the program work and I am glad we were able to put on a good show for them this weekend.”

Qualified: No. 5 (3.764 sec., 322.96 mph) 
Bonus points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q1)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T           ET           MPH  
Doug Kalitta                       5             .057        3.752       326.63 (W)
Shawn Reed                       12           .087         3.786       324.83
Second Round
Driver                                  Qual       R/T           ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                       5             .060        3.812       321.04 (W)
Pat Dakin                            13           .058         3.946       294.88                  
Driver                                    Qual        R/T          ET           MPH 
Doug Kalitta                        5              -.021       4.383       183.74
Mike Salinas                         1              .045        4.083        209.17 (W)

1922 07256 8359

Crampton Races DHL to Quarterfinals

The DHL Top Fuel dragster and driver Richie Crampton battled tough track conditions for two days as they worked on a race day tune up during the 22nd Route 66 NHRA Nationals. The back-to-back Gatornationals winning team qualified No. 11 and looked to the first round as a chance to get aggressive with a new clutch set-up. The team was looking at cooler temperatures and decades of crew chief experience to take a calculated risk.

“We didn’t start qualifying off like we wanted to,” said Crampton. “The team dug in and worked hard and we bounced back pretty well. I was really proud of my guys. They did a good job and we put up a decent run in Q4, which qualified us pretty well.”

For the second week in a row Crampton and his DHL Top Fuel dragster faced rookie Austin Prock in the first round.   It was an exciting race as Crampton made his quickest run of the weekend with a solid 3.758 second pass at 322.73 mph.  The young Australian got the win by seven thousandths of a second which translated into about a four foot margin of victory at the finish line.

“We knew it was going to be a tough first round draw against Austin Prock and the JFR team,” said Crampton. “They’re just as hungry for round wins as we are. It felt good to turn on the win light. Connie
(Kalitta) and Kurt Elliott tuned a great race car for me and we were able to get down there first.”

In the second round Crampton drew the reigning Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence. When the tree lit up Crampton launched just ahead of his opponent but his lead did not last long. As Crampton was trying to race around the other dragster his Goodyear slicks lost traction at around half-track.

“In the second round, we knew we’d have to aim high and we just smoked the tires early,” added Crampton. “All in all, it was another good day at the office for this DHL Toyota team. We knew it was going to be a tough race day no matter what. We had a pretty stacked side of the ladder. But there’s really no easy side anymore.  We needed some round wins and we got one today. Now we’ll just focus on trying to get some more next week.”

Richie Crampton on four races in a row: “We are going to take the positives from this weekend and head to Topeka. We have some work to do but these guys are all pros. I am looking forward to getting to the next race and seeing what we can do in Kansas. That track is known as a high performance facility and Team Kalitta has had a lot of success there.”

Qualified: No. 11 (3.796 sec., 320.13 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                   Qual        R/T         ET           MPH  
Richie Crampton                11           .070        3.758      322.73 (W)
Austin Prock                       6             .065        3.770      327.51
Second Round
Driver                                  Qual        R/T         ET            MPH 
Richie Crampton               11           .082        4.627       164.29
Steve Torrence                    3            .085        3.748        327.59 (W)

1922 04126 8351

Langdon Escapes Tough First Round In Chicago

Shawn Langdon rolled into race day with confidence on the heels of his best qualifying effort of the season. The Global Electronic Technology Funny Car was starting from the No. 4 position at Route 66 Raceway. Langdon set career best elapsed time and speed marks on Saturday during the final qualifying session running 3.896 seconds at 332.84 mph.

In the opening session Langdon, the winner of the Carolina Nationals earlier this season, was racing Jeff Arend when just past half-track his Funny Car backfired and destroyed its carbon fiber Toyota Camry body. Langdon was able to maintain control of his Funny Car and he wrestled it to a stop just past the finish line.

“It was running good and it was actually on a strong run,” said Langdon after the incident. “I was trying to run a low 3.90 and probably would have been a top three run of the round. It went out there and took the tire off. I got off the gas and as soon as I got back on it the thing boomed on me pretty good. That is the first one I have had like that. I was not expecting that and it blew the body up. It tried to split it in half but luckily these guys at Toyota Racing gave me a safe Camry race car. The tether system did its job of keeping the body on the race car. It was aggressive. I just tried to get the car stopped. I am just bummed I wrecked a really nice and quick Global Electronic Technology Camry body.”

The loss of the race car was especially tough for Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team as his race car was beginning to perform at a high level.

“I have a dang good race car right now,” said Langdon. “It probably shouldn’t have smoked the tires like that. We have a fast race car. The car is going to win some more races. We have a lot of work in front of us going into a four race stretch. We are up for the challenge.”

The explosion was a first for Langdon behind the wheel of a nitro Funny Car. The two-time Top Fuel world champion had never experienced that type of incident and he is not eager to repeat the performance.

“It is what it is. You can’t put a motor behind you in a Funny Car,” said Langdon. “I want to race Funny Cars and I am really starting to like them. That run definitely got my attention but I will be ready to get back inside this Global Electronic Technology Funny Car in Topeka.”

Langdon on getting his race car back together: “We are going to get our other body out. We have another body that is being put together as we speak. It was a big enough explosion that we are going to put the chassis on the jig and make sure it didn’t bend any of the frame rails.”

Qualified: No. 4 (3.896 sec., 332.84 mph) 
Bonus points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q2)

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET            MPH  
Shawn Langdon                4              .084        5.234       117.81  
Jeff Arend                           13            .066        4.366        259.76 (W)

1922 07414 8361

J.R. Todd Ready to Put Chicago Behind Him

During qualifying at the 22nd annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car were one of the most consistent and quick combos on the property. On Friday he posted the quickest run of the late night session and in the opening session Todd was just on the outside of earning qualifying bonus points with the fourth quickest run to start the day.

On Saturday conditions changed and the teams had to sit out a two hour plus rain delay between qualifying sessions. The final session was pushed well into the evening and Todd once again posted a solid run to set the team up for a successful day during eliminations.

Todd, the reigning Funny Car champion, would square off with the 16-time Funny Car champion John Force in the first round. Todd was the No. 6 qualifier and he knew that his opponent was no normal No. 11 qualifier.

As the Funny Cars pre-staged tension was high as both champions were poised to get the best start. Both race cars staged and as the starting system activated Todd by his own admission missed executing a strong start. He hit the throttle uncharacteristically late affording his opponent an insurmountable advantage. Todd’s DHL Toyota Camry had an elapsed time advantage of 3.938 seconds to 3.956 seconds.

“We had a great DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and I was ready for first round,” said Todd. “Maybe I was a little worked up or had a little bit of lack of focus. That was a tough loss but I am going to put it behind me.  I have done that before but it has been a long time since it happened. There is no excuse.  In my mind that is unacceptable especially at a race like this where we have a lot of big sponsor reps here. That is just bad timing.”

Todd is going to put the misstep behind him and focus on getting a win at the next NHRA national event in Topeka which begins in four days. With a month-long stretch of races Todd will have ample opportunity to pick up more wins.

“It is good I am going to be back on the track in a few days,” said Todd.” I can’t wait for Q1 of Topeka. We will be ready to do some more work there. In the meantime I am definitely going to put more work in to staying focused. This DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car is too good of a race car to not go rounds. I have a lot of confidence in myself that I will put it behind me and get ready for these next races.”

J.R. Todd on racing in Chicago: “This was a big weekend of us. We had a lot of people from DHL here as well as Wix. When you have sponsors at the race you want to perform at the highest level. We showed them during qualifying we have one of the best race cars in the category. We will continue to get better on race day too.”

Qualified: No. 6 (3.904 sec., 327.43 mph)
Bonus points: +3 (Quickest of Q2)

Race Details:
First Round
Driver                                    Qual         R/T         ET            MPH  
J.R. Todd                              6              .238        3.938        319.98
John Force                            11            .035        3.956        328.46 (W)