NHRA Arizona Nationals No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta and his Autodesk Toyota Top Fuel dragster will be racing for his first four-wide win while J.R. Todd will be chasing his third Funny Car four-wide title but first in Charlotte behind the wheel of the DHL Toyota GR Supra. Shawn Langdon and the CMR Construction and Roofing Toyota Top Fuel team will be looking to add a Top Fuel Charlotte title to his Funny Car win from 2019.
J.R. Todd and DHL GR Supra Ready to Grab Charlotte Four-Wide Win
The DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team made significant progress last weekend racing to the semifinal round of the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston and driver J.R. Todd is confident he can build on that at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway this weekend. The first win for the brand-new Toyota body style is still up for grabs and Todd would like to get a DHL double winning his first four-wide race in Charlotte and getting the first Supra Funny Car win.
“I would definitely like to get that first win with GR Supra Funny Car body,” said Todd. “To get it winning my first four-wide race in Charlotte would be pretty cool. We have won the four-wide in Las Vegas so I would like to get a win at both of Bruton and Marcus Smith’s race tracks.”
Last year Todd nearly grabbed the title finishing with a runner-up effort as the No. 4 qualifier. The unique format continues to be a challenge for all the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors but Todd enjoys mixing the formats up.
“It keeps you on your toes,” said Todd. “I am glad we do it a couple times a year since I think a lot of fans enjoy it. There is a lot going on at the starting line and when four cars launch and stay hooked up it is an impressive sight for sure.”
The 2018 Funny Car world champion is looking for his first win at the track located 25 minutes north of Charlotte in the heart if NASCAR country. In addition to last year’s four-wide second place finish he has a runner-up finish at the fall Charlotte Nationals to his credit from 2018 in Funny Car and 2015 in Top Fuel.
“We have been close in Charlotte in the spring and the fall,” said Todd. “This is a great facility and the track is amazing. We get a ton of NASCAR guys at the track from other drivers to crew guys so that is cool to talk with them and show off a little.”
Todd has experience winning four-wide races considering he picked up back-to-back victories at zMax Dragway’s sister facility The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2018 and 2019. He remains the only Funny Car driver to have won two consecutive four-wide races.
“I got on a hot streak in Las Vegas for a couple years and that was great,” said Todd, 19-time national event winner. “It would be cool to say you won both four-wide nationals for sure. Our focus this weekend will be to just get the most out of qualifying since we get four runs and then just get down the track before at least two other guys.”
2021 NHRA Circle K Four-Wide Nationals Highlights: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 4; Beat Jim Campbell and Tim Wilkerson, Beat Mike McIntire and Terry Haddock; Lost to John Force
Last Event Recap (2022 SpringNationals): Qual 13; Beat Bob Tasca III, Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Career Stats: 260 events, 252 starts, 285 round wins, 19 wins, 40 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 108 events, 108 starts, 10 wins, 20 finals, 137 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Beat Bobby Bode; Lost to Ron Capps
Arizona Nationals: Qual 8; Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Gatornationals: Qual 11; Lost to Blake Alexander
Las Vegas1: Qual 9; Beat Tim Wilkerson and Jason Rupert; Lost to Ron Capps and Matt Hagan
Houston: Qual 13; Beat Bob Tasca III, Jim Campbell; Lost to Matt Hagan
Doug Kalitta Racing Autodesk Top Fuel Dragster at Circle K Four-Wide Nationals
Through the first five races Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel team have been battling through one of the most competitive fields in recent history and also some early season issues that appear to have corrected themselves last weekend in Houston at the NHRA SpringNationals. Headed into the annual Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Kalitta will be racing a new look Autodesk Toyota Top Fuel dragster for one race and the perennial championship contender will be focused on securing his first four-wide trophy. The veteran driver has captured wins at almost every NHRA national event including the historic U.S. Nationals, but the four-wide race win has eluded the driver from Michigan.
“We have run well at the four-wide races in Charlotte and in Las Vegas, but we just haven’t sealed the deal,” said Kalitta. “I feel good about this weekend. We made a lot of progress in Houston and I am ready to get behind the wheel of my Autodesk dragster and go some rounds.”
Kalitta has posted three career runner-up finishes at four-wide contests with two of those efforts coming at xMax Dragway. In 2018 and 2010 Kalitta outran two of his three competitors in the final quad. He was also runner-up at the 2021 Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals.
“The four-wide is a cool race in the first couple of quads because you can be the season car to the finish line and get to come back in race,” said Kalitta. “That final quad has been tough for us beating three other cars at once. I think we have a race car that can run with anyone and I have a lot of confidence.”
Last weekend Kalitta qualified No. 3 on the strength of a strong run to close out three rounds of qualifying. Earlier this year he secured the No. 1 qualifier at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. He has also made some of the quickest runs on Sunday as several events early in the season. The veteran who is chasing win No. 50 knows that success is right around the corner.
“I have been racing for a long time and sometimes it just takes a few races for things to come together,” said Kalitta. “This is a long season and I have a great team. We have (crew chiefs) Alan Johnson and Brian Husen over here for the first time. We used to have to race against those guys and now they are in our corner which is awesome.”
Qualifying for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will begin with two sessions on Friday followed by two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will commence at noon ET with the race being broadcast on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET.
2021 NHRA Circle K Four-Wide Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 12, Beat Billy Torrence and Kyle Wurtzel; Lost to Brittany Force and Josh Hart
Last Event Recap (2022 SpringNationals): Qual 3; Lost to Billy Torrence
Career Stats: 549 events, 542 starts, 725 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Arizona Nationals: Qual. 1; Lost to Rob Passey
Gatornationals: Qual 5; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Las Vegas1: Qual 6; Lost to Leah Pruett and Shawn Langdon
Houston: Qual 3; Lost to Billy Torrence
Langdon Returns to CMR Construction and Roofing Top Fuel Chasing Second Four-Wide Win
Shawn Langdon will return to the CMR Construction and Roofing Toyota Top Fuel dragster for this weekend’s Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals with one goal on his agenda, adding another North Carolina four-wide win to his record. The 2019 Funny Car four-wide winner earned his first career Funny Car title with his first win the fan-favorite format. This weekend he will be looking to build on the momentum of a quarterfinal finish at the NHRA SpringNationals that features a wild first round pedalfest win.
As the No. 10 qualifier Langdon knew he would need to have a total package, quickest reaction time and solid elapsed time, to get the upset win over his opponent. Langdon was up to the task getting a significant jump off the starting line before his Goodyear’s overpowered the track. He was able to pedal his DHL dragster and power down the track for the win with his parachute prematurely blossoming behind him. It was a dramatic round win that advanced his to the quarterfinals.
“That first round win was big for us,” said Langdon. “We just need to build some momentum and get a little bit of luck on our side. I am looking forward to heading to Charlotte for the four-wide nationals. That race you can make a mistake or have something go wrong and still advance. Our goal will be to make four quick runs in qualifying and then get three win lights on Sunday.”
Langdon raced to a runner-up finish at the Circle K Four-Wide Nationals in 2014. A Top Fuel win this weekend would make him the only winner of both nitro categories at the Bellagio of Drag Strips.
“It would be cool to be the only driver with a Top Fuel and Funny Car win at zMax Dragway,” said Langdon. “A bigger deal would be getting a win for CMR Construction and Roofing. Steve and Chandra Soule and everyone on the CMR team has been super supportive. This team has been working hard and I think we figured a few things out that will help us in Charlotte this weekend.”
Earlier this season at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Langdon advanced to the second quad from the bottom half of the field before narrowly missing a chance to race in the final quad. The veteran driver who also has world championships in the Lucas Oil ranks thinks that his time behind the wheel racing Super Comp helps keep him sharp for events like four-wide racing.
“Any time you are getting time taking the Christmas Tree in competition you should be getting better,” said Langdon. “I do think racing in Super Comp makes me a better Top Fuel racer. The competition is tough in both classes but the margin for error on the starting line is razor thin in my Super Comp dragster. I am hoping to be at the top of my game this weekend and I know this CMR Construction and Roofing dragster will be ready to go.
2021 NHRA Circle K Four-Wide Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown and Krista Baldwin
Last Event Recap (2022 SpringNationals): Qual 10; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Brittany Force
Career Stats: 292 events, 288 starts, 312 round wins, 17 wins, 35 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 244 events, 240 starts, 15 wins, 32 finals, 273 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual 8; Lost to Josh Hart
Arizona Nationals: Qual 7; Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Gatornationals: Qual 21; DNQ
Las Vegas1: Qual 11; Beat Doug Kalitta and Rob Passey; Lost to Steve Torrence and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual 10; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Brittany Force