Pre-Race #Route66Nats

Doug Kalitta

Shawn Langdon and Global Electronic Technology Ready for Victory in Chicago

Shawn Langdon cannot wait to get back on the race track. The second year Funny Car driver has had more success in the past month behind the wheel of his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car so he is eager to hit the track at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals. At the end of April Langdon picked up his first Funny Car win in Charlotte and two weeks ago in Richmond he had one of the quickest hot rods at Virginia Motorsports Park on race day.
“It has really been exciting to drive this Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car these past few races,” said Langdon. “The win in Charlotte was huge and in Richmond we had one of the best race cars on Sunday we just ran into the quickest Funny Car in the second round when we lost to (teammate) J.R. (Todd). That was just a tough break but it doesn’t change the fact that we have a race car that can beat just about anybody on Sunday.”
The consistency of Langdon’s Toyota Camry Funny Car has begun to show itself as soon as the car comes off the trailer. Strong runs during the Friday qualifying sessions have given the team the chance to get more info by running a little later each season. That data has been used to perfection by crew chiefs Nicky Boninfante and Del Worsham.
“It has been great to be one of the three quickest Funny Cars on Friday,” said Langdon. “You get those bonus points and it just puts everyone in a great frame of mind going into Saturday and race day on Sunday. We will be running at night in Chicago so that will be a great show for the fans but we will also have to be working on a race day tune up. I know these guys are going to give me a great Camry Funny Car on Sunday.”
Last year in Chicago Langdon qualified in the top half, No. 7, and took out Tommy Johnson Jr., before dropping a close race to eventual runner-up Ron Capps. This weekend Langdon will be looking to become the first Team Kalitta Funny Car driver to hoist a Wally on Sunday.
2018 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Highlights:  Qualified No. 7; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr.; Lost to Ron Capps

Last Event Recap (2019 Virginia Nationals): Qual. No. 5; Beat Tim Wilkerson; Lost to J.R. Todd

Quotable: Langdon on racing four races in four weeks: “There is nothing better than being at the race track every weekend. This is what I love to do and if I wasn’t running this Global Electronic Technology Funny Car I would probably be running a big money bracket race. The stretch of four in a row really helps keep you focused and when you have a great race car like this Toyota Camry I think we can go some rounds too.”
Career Stats: 240 events, 237 starts, 270 round wins, 15 wins, 31 finals, 18 no. 1 qualifiers; in Funny  Car 32 events, 32 starts, 20 round wins, 1 wins, 1 finals, 0 no. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 7; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Tim Wilkseron and Jeff Diehl
Houston: Qual. No. 10; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Ron Capps
Charlotte1: Qual 5; WINNER; Beat Jeff Diehl and Terry Haddock; Beat J.R. Todd and Tommy Johnson Jr; Beat Robert Hight, John Force and Matt Hagan
Atlanta: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Ron Capps
Richmond: Qual. No. 5; Beat Tim Wilkerson; Lost to J.R. Todd

Noteworthy: Langdon became just the 17th racer to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car when he picked up his first Funny Car win in Charlotte.Doug Kalitta 

Doug Kalitta and Mac Tools Seek Fourth Win at Route 66 Raceway

Heading into the Route 66 NHRA Nationals Top Fuel veteran Doug Kalitta will be looking for his fourth win at Route 66 Raceway and first since 2006. The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster has won the spring Chicago events twice (2006 and 2004)  and it picked up its first win in Chicago at the 2002 fall NHRA national event which is no longer contested. Only two other Top Fuel drivers have more victories at Route 66 Raceway than Kalitta and he will be focused on moving into the No. 2 all-time win position with a victory on Sunday.

“It has been a while since we parked this Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster in the winner’s circle at Route 66 Raceway but we have a really good race car this season,” said Kalitta, winner of 45 NHRA Top Fuel national events. “We have been going rounds and I have a lot of confidence in my team. The Chicago event is a big one for us. We’ll have a lot of VIPs from Mac Tools at the race.”

This season has seen Kalitta continue a tradition of success winning the season opening Winternationals and remaining near the top of the Top Fuel point standings as the regular season moves just beyond the halfway mark. Solid qualifying efforts have been the key to maintaining an edge over the competition this season. Kalitta has three No. 1 qualifiers at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, collecting the top spot in 2014, 2003 and 1999.

“We have been running well in qualifying and starting most races from the top half of the field,” said Kalitta. “That gives us lane choice on Sunday to start the day and we are trying to take advantage of that. The key is to get a good qualifying spot and then really race the track on Sunday. We have had some tricky track conditions but I think we have a really good tune up for these next races in the heat.”

Overall this season Kalitta has been one of the best drivers off the starting line winning a handful of races on reaction time advantages that have equated to wins at the finish line. This strong driver performance combined with superior on track performance from the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster have Kalitta and his team ready for a tough string of races over the coming weeks.

“We are getting into a stretch of back to back races which I like. I love driving the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster and when it is running strong there is no better place to be than in that cockpit. This weekend in Chicago is the start of four in a row and I am looking to get on a streak starting this weekend,” added Kalitta.

2018 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Highlights: Qualified No. 8; Beat Terry McMillen, Luigi Novelli; Lost to Clay Millican

Last Event Recap (2019 Virginia Nationals): Qual. No. 5; Lost to Scott Palmer

Quotable:  Kalitta on racing four weeks in a row: “You really get into a nice groove. When you are having success you can really feed off of those wins. When you maybe make a mistake you know you can put it behind you and get right back in the car in a couple days.”  

Career Stats: 497 events, 490 starts, 663 round wins, 45 wins, 97 finals, 49 no. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 7, WINNER; Beat Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence, Terry McMillen and Steve Torrence
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5, Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Jordan Vandergriff
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11, Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 7, Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman; Beat Steve Torrent and Richie Crampton; Lost to Mike Salinas and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 8, Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 4; Beat Richie Crampton and Lex Joon; Lost to Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed
Richmond: Qual. No. 5; Lost to Scott Palmer

Noteworthy: With a win Doug Kalitta will tie Hall of Famer Kenny Bernstein as the No. 2 all-time winningest Top Fuel racer at Route 66 Raceway with four wins.

JR Todd

J.R. Todd and DHL Camry Looking To Continue Consistency at Chicago

Two weeks ago J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car came within one round of picking up win number two of the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing season. The strong performance moved the team up to the No. 2 position in the Mello Yello point standings and continued to serve as motivation for the reigning Funny Car champion.
“It is a long season but you definitely want to be at the top of the points going into the Countdown,” said Todd. “We are heading into the second half of the regular season so it is only going to get more serious. We have four races in a row coming up and then the Western Swing. It will be the U.S. Nationals before we know it. Our focus right now is the Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Chicago is a great race track and I am really happy with the performance of this DHL Camry Funny Car.”
This season Todd has picked up a win in Las Vegas and a runner-up finish in Phoenix and two weeks ago in Richmond. The Virginia Nationals is a race that Todd and the team felt like they had a great chance of winning. Throughout race day they had one of the quickest Funny Cars each session posting back-to-back 4.04 second runs heading into the final. They had a decisive performance advantage but at the hit of the throttle Todd knew something wasn’t right.
“We are not exactly sure what happened,” explained Todd after the run. “There is really no excuse because the guy next to us went down the track. It is definitely not the way we wanted to end the day. It was still a good weekend for us but we would have liked to have gotten one more round win for sure.”
Todd has been enjoying his reign as Funny Car world champion most recently taking advantage of some freedom from his hometown mayor. After Todd won the Mello Yello championship the city of Lawrenceburg, Indiana named a street after Todd. This week Todd made good on a promise and with the mayor’s permission executed a perfect burnout in his Toyota truck.
“It was really cool to have a street named after me and I told the mayor I wanted to do a burnout on my own street. We got a lot of positive comments from my social media posts. I am really proud to be the Mello Yello Funny Car champion and to be from Lawrenceburg,” added Todd.
2018 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Highlights: Qualified No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III

Last Event Recap (2019 Virginia Nationals): Qual. No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat Bob Tasca III, Shawn Langdon, Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps
Quotable: J.R. Todd on four races in a row: “This is the part of the season when it gets serious. You are on the track every weekend and you can really make up some ground. A team can also figure a lot out that can help them later in the season. You want to be focused every run and racing every weekend helps.”

Career Stats: 208 events, 200 starts, 223 round wins, 18 wins, 32 finals, 10 no. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 56 events, 56 starts, 9 wins, 12 finals, 74 round wins, 1 no. 1 qualifier

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; RUNNER-UP; Beat Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson Jr., Robert Hight, Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Jack Beckman
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell in first quad, Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in second quad and in the final quad beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson.
Houston: Qual. No. 4; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 8; Beat Bob Tasca III and Bob Glibertson; Lost to Shawn Langdon and Robert Hight
Atlanta: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Richmond: Qual. No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat Bob Tasca III, Shawn Langdon, Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps

Richie Crampton

Richie Crampton and DHL Have Eyes On Chicago Win

The DHL Top Fuel dragster and driver Richie Crampton are rolling into Route 66 Raceway with a number of goals and a lot of confidence. The back-to-back Gatornationals winner is looking at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals as a springboard for success for the rest of the regular season. This will be the first of four races in a row for all the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series teams and no one more than Crampton is ready to get this stretch started.

“I know my DHL dragster can go rounds on race day and I am excited to get to Chicago,” said Crampton. “We have had a bit of an up and down season but we are in a position to move up in the points with some wins on Sunday. You look at the Top Fuel class and there are a lot of dragsters that are competitive and I know we are one of those dragsters.”

Between races Crampton is active in the Team Kalitta fabrication and machine shop and his knowledge of race cars is expansive. Two weeks ago in Richmond Crampton was working on his own clutch throughout the race and that kind of hands-on involvement helps keep the young Australian driver dialed in to his race team.
“There is no doubt everyone at Team Kalitta is part of one big team,” said Crampton. “We all win together and lose together. You can see it on the mosh pits when we win. I enjoy working on the cars and chassis back at the shop and I really enjoy working on the race car at the track. We still do a lot of fan events and sponsor events but when you are totally focused on your car it definitely helps me on the track.”
Throughout his career Crampton has nine Top Fuel victories and the driver of the DHL Top Fuel dragster would love to get No. 10 in Chicago this weekend. He knows his work will be cut out for him with a strong field of race cars stacking the entry list.
“I think there are over twenty Top Fuel dragsters on the entry list for this weekend which shows you how strong NHRA is right now. This is a major city with a great race track so everyone wants to get in on the racing. We will be ready to show off this DHL dragster and I have a lot of confidence,” added Crampton.
2018 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Highlights: Qualified No. 11; Lost to Blake Alexander

Last Event Recap (2019 Virginia Nationals): Qual. 7; Lost to Austin Prock

Quotable: Crampton on racing four weekends in a row: “This is the time of the season when you really have a lot of fun. You are with your team all the time and you are constantly at a race track. I am excited for the next four races with this DHL Top Fuel team. I think once we get into a really good groove we will win a lot of rounds on Sunday.”

Career Stats: 111 events, 110 starts, 93 round wins, 9 wins, 11 finals, 5 no. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6, Lost to Terry McMillen round one
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 15, Lost to Terry McMillen round one
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 12, WINNER, Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, TJ Zizzo and Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6, Beat Scott Palmer, Cameron Ferre; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 13; Lost to Clay Millican
Charlotte1: Qual. 12; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. 7; Lost to Scott Palmer
Richmond: Qual. 7; Lost to Austin Prock