Pre-Race #MidwestNats


Heading into the third race of the Countdown Team Kalitta has all three teams racing for world championships. Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon will be racing to add more Midwest Nationals titles to their records.  J.R. Todd, No. 4  driver in the Funny Car point standings, will looking to continue his momentum in the Countdown..

Countdown Heats Up in St. Louis for J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car

With five races remaining in the NHRA Countdown J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team sit in fourth place in the Camping World point standings completely in control of their championship aspirations. They are just 46 points out of first place which could be reduced to less than two rounds of racing with a strong qualifying effort at the NHRA Midwest Nationals this weekend. Throughout the back half of the regular season the competition at the top of the Funny Car class has been incredibly close.
“They reset the points for the Countdown but it really didn’t change anything in the standings,” said Todd. “Everyone at the top was so close no one really got hurt too bad or made a big jump in the standings. Every race you see shuffling and that is what makes this season so exciting. It is going to come down to Pomona and we just want to have this DHL Toyota Camry in the fight.”
Over the past six races Todd has raced to two runner-up finishes and two semifinals. He hasn’t lost in the first round in in eight races. The 2018 Funny Car champion knows that avoiding early exits will keep him in contention throughout the playoffs.
“We need to keep doing a good job in qualifying so we can start the race with lane choice,” said Todd. “If you can come out and make a good pass on Friday night that really sets us up with a good qualifying position. You can get a race day tune up on Saturday, but Friday night is becoming the round to give you the best advantage on the ladder.”
Todd’s four final rounds so far in 2021 equal his effort in 2019. His best performance in recent memory was the championship season of 2018 where he raced to eight finals with five of those final rounds coming during the Countdown. That kind of hot streak is doable for the versatile driver from Indiana.
In 2019 Todd raced to a runner-up finish at the NHRA Midwest Nationals and to date that is his best performance at World Wide Technology Raceway. Equaling that performance or grabbing one more win light would go a long way in keeping the rest of the Funny Car class at bay.
“We are wrapping a stretch of four races in a row and that it tough on every team,” said Todd. “I know my guys are giving their best every time they unload this DHL Toyota Camry off the hauler. I am looking forward to racing in St. Louis and then seeing where we stand. My goal is to keep going rounds and try and take out as many Countdown cars as possible on race day. If we can do that we will either be gaining ground on the cars in front of us or creating separation from the cars behind us.”
2020 NHRA Midwest Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 7; Beat Tim Wilkerson, Lost to Alexis DeJoria
Last Event Recap (2021 DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 6; Beat Mike McIntire; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Career Stats: 250 events, 242 starts, 275 round wins, 19 wins, 39 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 98 events, 98 starts, 10 wins, 19 finals, 127 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
2021 Season: 
Gatornationals: WINNER; Qual. No. 6; Beat Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Robert Hight
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon and Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps and Bob Tasca III
Atlanta: Qual. No. 1; Beat Alexis DeJoria, bye; Lost to John Force
Charlotte1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No.4; Beat Terry Haddock, Jim Campbell, Tim Wilkerson; Beat Mike McIntire, Terry Haddock; Lost to John Force, Beat Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria
Houston: Qual. No. 8; Beat John Force; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Epping: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon, Lost to John Force
Norwalk: Qual. No. 9; Beat Mike McIntire, Lost to Ron Capps
Denver: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Sonoma: Qual. No. 12; Beat John Force; Lost to Robert Hight
Pomona1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 7; Beat Jeff Diehl, Robert Hight, Jim Campbell; Lost to Ron Capps
Topeka: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 1; Beat Bye, Ron Capps, Blake Alexander; Lost to John Force
Brainerd: Qual. No. 11; Beat Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Reading: Qual. No. 7; Beat Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 6; Beat Mike McIntire; Lost to Cruz Pedregon


Langdon Back In Familiar DHL Top Fuel Dragster for Midwest Nationals

Shawn Langdon, driver of the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, has a unique history at the NHRA Midwest Nationals. The 2013 NHRA Top Fuel champion is one of only two drivers to have won a playoff national event in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and he is the only driver to have done it at the same event. Langdon took the Funny Car title at World Wide Technology Raceway in 2019 three years after he collected his Top Fuel title in 2016. The Countdown contender will be looking to pick up his second win this weekend.
“There are some tracks where you just feel good racing and St. Louis has one of those tracks,” said Langdon. “The playoffs are underway and we are looking to win some rounds and move up in the points. The first two races didn’t go our way but we have five more races starting this weekend at the NHRA Midwest Nationals.”
The team stayed over in Charlotte following the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals and tested on Monday. The results should hopefully translate to qualifying and race day success in St Louis. After a season opening runner-up finish to rookie Josh Hart, Langdon and the DHL Top Fuel team have been chasing a consistent performance. Throughout the season there have been flashes of success during qualifying or on race day, but the combination needed to turn on four win lights on Sunday has eluded the championship contending team.
“I know we have a great team over here and I love racing for Connie and Kurt,” said Langdon, referring to team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta and crew chief Kurt Elliott. “We have run really well and we just need to string a couple runs together to really make some headway. I love the competition out here and I don’t think we are out of this championship chase. A long weekend in St. Louis would go a long way.”
2020 NHRA Midwest Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 12; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Last Event Recap (2021 DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals):  Qual. No. 14; Lost to Clay Millican
Career Stats: 282 events, 279 starts, 310 round wins, 17 wins, 35 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 234 events, 231 starts, 15 wins, 32 finals, 271 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
2021 Season: 
Gatornationals: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 6; Beat Doug Foley, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown; Lost to Josh Hart
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence
Atlanta: Qual. No. 11; Beat Leah Pruett, Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown and Krista Baldwin
Houston: Qual. No. 7; Beat Josh Hart, Justin Ashley; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Epping: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Doug Kalitta
Norwalk: Qual. No. 16; Lost to Steve Torrence
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Clay Millican
Sonoma: Qual. No. 9; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Antron Brown
Pomona1: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Antron Brown
Topeka: Qual. No. 7; Beat Antron Brown, Billy Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Brainerd: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Antron Brown
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 16; Lost to Brittany Force
Reading: Qual. No. 11; Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Billy Torrence
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 14; Lost to Clay Millican


Doug Kalitta Chasing Record Setting Fifth Midwest Nationals Title

As the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series moves into the third race of the Countdown Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team are working to take advantage of a familiar track. The NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway has been an event that Kalitta has dominated throughout his career. The 49-time Top Fuel national event winner is the second most winningest driver in track history with four Top Fuel titles. Last year Kalitta raced to the win as the No. 5 qualifier defeating Shawn Langdon, TJ Zizzo, Tony Schumacher, and Steve Torrence.
“We had a pretty good day at the track the last time we were in St. Louis,” said Doug Kalitta. “I really enjoy racing at that track. We have won a lot of races there and been runner-up a couple times too. The track is fast and I am looking forward to getting back their this weekend.”
This season has seen Kalitta chase Top Fuel history looking to record his 50th Top Fuel win. He has recorded two runner-up finishes and raced his way into the Countdown to guarantee his 24th consecutive year with a Top Ten finish.
“We have had a consistent race car for a long, long time and I know we can get on a roll over these last five races,” said Kalitta. “I have been with Mac Tools for 20 years and they are a great sponsor. We want to go out to St. Louis and show them what this team can do. We have five races left in the Countdown and our goal is to make the most of every one of them.”
Kalitta’s success at the NHRA Midwest Nationals dates back twenty years to his first win at the track that is in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. From 2001-2004 Kalitta picked up three Top Fuel wins. He also has two No. 1 qualifiers at the track located ten minutes from downtown St. Louis starting from the top of the class in 2014 and 2005.
This season the Mac Tools Top Fuel team has started from the top half of the field seven times. The veteran driver is working to keep one of the most impressive streaks of consistency alive as the 2021 season nears the finish line. Kalitta has raced to at least three final rounds every season since 2012 a feat that few drivers in any of the professional ranks can match.
“Our goal every season is to win the championship and you want to be in contention over the last handful of races,” said Kalitta. “We have an uphill battle right now but like I have said we have had good luck in St. Louis and then we have four more playoff races to make up some ground. If you can get to Pomona and be close to the top anything can happen.”
Qualifying will begin on Friday night with one session followed by two more runs on Saturday. For the second race in a row eliminations will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be nationally televised on FS1 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
2020 NHRA Midwest Nationals Highlights: WINNER; Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Langdon, TJ Zizzo, Tony Schumacher and Steve Torrence
Last Event Recap (2021 DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 12; Lost to Steve Torrence
Career Stats: 539 events, 532 starts, 722 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers

2021 Season: 
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 4; Beat Arthur Allen; Lost to Justin Ashley
Las Vegas1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 3; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey, Beat Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett; Lost to Steve Torrence
Atlanta: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Antron Brown
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Billy Torrence, Kyle Wurtzel; Lost to Brittany Force, Josh Hart
Houston: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 9; Beat Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon; Lost to Steve Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Langdon, Lost to Mike Salinas
Norwalk: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown          
Denver: Qual. No. 4; Lost to Leah Pruett
Sonoma: Qual. No. 8; Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Pomona1: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Clay Millican
Topeka: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Clay Millican
Brainerd: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Clay Millican
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 3; Beat Krista Baldwin; Lost to Billy Torrence
Reading: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Justin Ashley
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 12; Lost to Steve Torrence