Doug Kalitta Racing for Third Title at Brainerd International Raceway
Heading to Brainerd Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel team will be focused on finishing the regular season on a high note and moving into the NHRA Countdown with momentum. The traditionally cool and fast track at Brainerd International Raceway has been the site of four final round appearances for Kalitta including two wins for the 49-time Top Fuel winner. The pursuit of the 50th Top Fuel win could come to a conclusion this weekend with a strong performance from the Mac Tools team.
“We would love to get that 50th win for sure but really we want to build some momentum heading to Indy and into the Countdown,” said Kalitta. “This Mac Tools team has been working hard all season and we are ready to get those four round wins on Sunday.”
Throughout the season Kalitta has had a consistently quick race car in qualifying starting from the top half of the field every race except one. They have scored a No. 1 qualifier in Arizona and have also tallied six top four starts. During his career in Brainerd Kalitta has recorded three No. 1 qualifiers in 2010, 2004 and 2002.
“We have been quick in Brainerd in the past and won here a couple times,” said Kalitta. “The fans here are awesome and you see quite a few folks from Canada which is neat. We’ll get four qualifying runs and we want to get as many bonus points as possible and try to move up in the top ten.”
As the regular season winds down Kalitta is solidly in the top ten and within striking distance of a move up as high as fifth place. He is sitting in the eighth spot and when the championship points reset he could be within four or five rounds of the No. 1 position. The perennial championship contender knows Brainerd and then the U.S. Nationals with points and half will be great opportunities for his Mac Tools team.
“We have been working all season to be in a position to race for the championship,” said Kalitta. “I have a lot of confidence in this team and all the guys working on my car. We have been close a couple times this season to having really successful race days and we just need one or two things to go our way. We are working to make our own luck.”
The first two qualifying sessions will get underway on Friday followed by two more Saturday before final eliminations take off Sunday morning at 11 a.m. CT.
2021 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 9, Lost to Clay Millican
Last Event Recap 2022 Topeka Nationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Career Stats: 558 events, 551 starts, 732 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumachersix top four
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
Charlotte1: Qual 4; Beat Alex Laughlin, Doug Foley; Lost to Mike Salinas, Cameron Ferre
Richmond: Qual 6; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Austin Prock
Epping: Qual 4; Beat Cameron Ferre; Lost to Shawn Langdon
Bristol: Qual 12; Lost to Brittany Force
Norwalk: Qual. No. 6; Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Josh Hart
Sonoma: Qual. 2; Beat Ron August, Josh Hart; Lost to Mike Salinas
Seattle: Qual. 4; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to L
Shawn Langdon Returns with CMR Construction and Roofing Top Fuel
Shawn Langdon is winding down the NHRA regular season with a consistent and quick Top Fuel dragster and the 2013 Top Fuel champion is eager to get to Brainerd International Raceway. The 15-time Top Fuel national event winner will be racing the CMR Construction and Roofing Toyota dragster that he powered it to a runner-up finish at the Thunder Valley Nationals earlier this season. Since that race Langdon has tallied another final round, a semifinal and two quarterfinal finishes.
“We have been on a pretty good run since Bristol and I am looking forward to getting back in the CMR Construction and Roofing Top Fuel dragster,” said Langdon. “I almost got the double up win in Bristol with a Super Comp and Top Fuel Wally. We got close in Denver but had an issue in the final. This team can win every weekend which is the position you want to be in at this time of the season.”
Langdon and the CMR Construction and Roofing Toyota dragster will once again be facing the toughest group of competitors the Top Fuel class has seen in recent memory. This season seven different drivers have won in Top Fuel with an almost equal number scoring runner-up finishes. The past six races have seen six different winners.
“Anyone can win any weekend in Top Fuel right now and we just need to keep working hard and putting ourselves in position to be that team,” said Langdon. “We have come close the winning a lot this season and it seems like the teams we lost to usually went on to win the race. There is no margin for error and I know our time is coming.”
Brainerd International Raceway is one of the few tracks Langdon has not raced to at least one final round. Langdon looks at this fact as an opportunity for his CMR Top Fuel team to turn their luck around. His team is led by some of the brightest crew chief minds in the sport with Connie Kalitta, Kurt Elliott and Jason McCulloch working together and calling the shots.
“Every race is a new opportunity for success,” said Langdon. “Connie, Kurt and Jason work so well together I have a great race car every weekend. It won’t be as hot on track like we have seen the past couple of races so everyone will have to adjust. I like my chances with this CMR team.”
2021 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Antron Brown
Last Event Recap 2022 Topeka Nationals: Qual. 9; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Mike Salinas
Career Stats: 301 events, 297 starts, 325 round wins, 17 wins, 37 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 253 events, 249 starts, 15 wins, 34 finals, 286 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
Charlotte1: Qual 14; Lost to Clay Millican, Josh Hart
Richmond: Qual 12; Beat Doug Foley; Lost to Brittany Force
Epping: Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Doug Kalitta; Lost to Justin Ashley
Bristol: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 9; Beat Spencer Massey, Mike Salinas, Antron Brown; Lost to Justin Ashley
Norwalk: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Tripp Tatum
Denver: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 12; Beat Greg Carrillo, Mike Salinas, Josh Hart; Lost to Leah Pruett
Sonoma: Qual. 9; Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pruett; Lost to Brittany Force
Seattle: Qual. 6; Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Topeka: Qual. 9; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Mike Salinas
J.R. Todd Eager for Brainerd Success with DHL Toyota GR Supra
The DHL Toyota GR Supra team and J.R. Todd are in a strong position with two races left in the NHRA regular season. They are sitting in sixth place in the point standings and if they can hold off the handful of drivers pursuing them over the next two races they will enter the six race playoffs three rounds out of first place. Two races ago they raced to a runner-up finish in Seattle on a track that was incredibly tricky so getting on track at Brainerd International Raceway in conditions that play to his team’s strengths has the 2018 Funny Car champion eager to get behind the wheel.
“We have been racing on tracks where the track temperatures have been 140 degrees or hotter,” said Todd, a 10-time Funny Car national event winner. “(Crew chiefs) Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer have been doing a killer job getting this DHL Toyota GR Supra to put up good numbers. This weekend conditions will be cooler and I think we can really get after it. I am looking forward to four great qualifying runs.”
This season Todd and the DHL team have made significant strides with the new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car body that Todd, Kalitta Motorsports sponsors Revchem Composites and Toyota Gazoo Racing North America all contributed to on the development side. In addition to the Seattle final round Todd has raced deep into eliminations in Norwalk and Epping.
“We have been going rounds and just haven’t gotten over the hump yet,” said Todd. “We are about to head to tracks where we have a lot of positive results and I would like to get some momentum started this weekend in Brainerd.”
2021 NHRA Brainerd Nationals Highlights: Qual. No.11, Beat Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Last Event Recap 2022 Topeka Nationals: Qual. 8; Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Career Stats: 269 events, 261 starts, 295 round wins, 19 wins, 41 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 117 events, 117 starts, 10 wins, 21 finals, 147 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
Charlotte1: Qual. 6; Beat Dale Creasy Jr, Chad Green; Lost to Ron Capps, Mike McIntire
Richmond: Qual. 5; Lost to John Force
Epping: Qual. 10; Beat Blake Alexander, Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Bristol: Qual. 11; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Norwalk: Qual. 7; Beat Blake Alexander, John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Denver: Qual. 6; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to John Force
Sonoma: Qual. 10; Beat Tim Wilkerson; Lost to John Force
Seattle: Qual. 7; RUNNER-UP; Beat Blake Alexander, Bob Tasca III, bye; Lost to Robert Hight
Topeka: Qual. 8; Lost to Alexis DeJoria