After four races Team Kalitta sits second in Funny Car and fourth and seventh in Top Fuel in the point standings. Last weekend J.R. Todd led Team Kalitta with a runner-up finish to join his season opening Gatornationals victory. Shawn Langdon and Doug Kalitta have also tallied runner-up finishes this season.
Doug Kalitta Flies Mobil 1 and TRD Colors at Houston’s Spring Nationals
Doug Kalitta will be campaigning a special Mobil 1 TRD Top Fuel dragster this weekend at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. The technical alliance partners will raise their profile with Kalitta Motorsports, the multi-time world championship drag racing team, as they continue to work together to develop next-generation Mobil 1 synthetic lubricants to improve engine and gearbox performance. Kalitta’s crew will also sport Mobil 1 TRD uniform shirts and he will be in a special Mobil 1 TRD firesuit for the race.
“Mobil 1 and TRD are a major part of our success on and off the track,” said Kalitta. “The dragster looks amazing and we are looking forward to showing it off at the Spring Nationals in a couple days. We are going to have a lot of Mobil 1 guests at the race so it will be a busy and exciting weekend.”
Kalitta’s performance this season has been steady with a runner-up finish at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals as the highlight of the first four races. At the season opening Gatornationals the perennial championship contender qualified No. 4 and raced to the quarterfinals in the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. The 49-time Top Fuel winner is celebrating 20 seasons with Mac Tools and throughout the season the team will be highlighting some of his significant moments.
In 2016 Kalitta won the Spring Nationals which started a three race win streak that included victories at Atlanta and then Topeka. It was Kalitta’s second consecutive win at Houston Raceway Park after he captured the title in 2015. His first win in Houston was 2003 when took the top prize as the No. 1 qualifier. Kalitta has two other No. 1 qualifier efforts to his credit in 2002 and 2013 at the Spring Nationals.
“We have had some good wins at Houston,” said Kalitta. “The track is really fast and when you are down at sea level you can really make some big power. I am looking forward to seeing what Rob Flynn and Ronnie Thompson can put together. We tested after Charlotte and I feel really good about our chances.”
2019 NHRA Spring Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 5; Beat Kebin Kinsley; Lost to Antron Brown
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA NGK NTK Four-Wide Nationals): Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Billy Torrence and Kyle Wurtzel; Lost to Brittany Force, Josh Hart
Career Stats: 528 events, 521 starts, 716 round wins, 49 wins, 106 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
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
Shawn Langdon Looking for Lone Star State Win for DHL Top Fuel Team
Shawn Langdon and the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel team will be looking for their first win in the Lone Star State when the Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park get underway this weekend. The Gatornationals runner-up and reigning U.S. Nationals champion will be looking to go one more round than his previous best finish in Houston, a runner-up in 2013. That was the season Langdon dominated the tour on the way to his Top Fuel world championship.
“We got off to a strong start this year at the Gatornationals and have really been right in the mix of things,” said Langdon. “We are fourth in the points right now and getting a win in Houston would help our cause for sure.”
Prior to last weekend’s Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals Langdon and the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster raced to the semifinals at the Southern Nationals. While the performance numbers were not dominant the team did what it needed to do to pick up two important round wins and almost grabbed third in a close semifinal loss to points leader Steve Torrence.
“We have had some good round wins and missed on some,” said Langdon. “We are only four races into the season and I know how good this team is. (Crew chief) Connie (Kalitta) and Kurt (Elliott) are doing a great job and I just love driving this DHL Top Fuel dragster. My job is to do my routine and be consistent in the cockpit. Everyone on this team is pulling in the same direction.”
As the only driver in NHRA history to have won national and world championships in the junior dragster ranks as well as the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Camping World Drag Racing Series Langdon knows the season is a marathon not a sprint. With the return of the NHRA Countdown which now includes a national event in Bristol, Tennessee, bringing the total number of playoffs races up to seven Langdon is ready to keep the momentum moving forward as the season unfolds.
“We have the Countdown back this year to we want to be a high as we can get in the top ten coming out of the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend,” explained Langdon. “Last year we won that race and there are a lot of races between now and then. The competition is tough but if we keep working hard we will see positive results. This DHL team is too good to not go rounds on Sunday.”
2019 NHRA Spring Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 8; Beat Justin Ashley; Lost to Steve Torrence
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA NGK NTK Four-Wide Nationals): Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown and Krista Baldwin
Career Stats: 271 events, 268 starts, 303 round wins, 17 wins, 35 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 223 events, 220 starts, 15 wins, 32 finals, 264 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
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
J.R. Todd and DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car Carrying Momentum to Houston
The DHL Toyota Funny Car team led by J.R. Todd is cruising into the NHRA Spring Nationals with a dominant nitro Funny Car and the confidence of a team on the move up the point standings. Last weekend Todd and his team raced to a runner-up finish at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals after starting the event at the No. 4 qualifier. They posted some of the quickest times in qualifying and then backed it up on race day racing to the final quad before just being edged out for Todd’s first four-wide win in North Carolina to go with his two four-wide wins in Las Vegas.
“We were right there in the final round in Charlotte,” said Todd, who is currently No. 2 in the point standings. “It was a tough final four with John Force, Cruz Pedregon and my Toyota and Mobil 1 teammate Alexis DeJoria. There was a lot of horsepower on the starting line for sure. I was happy to get as far as we did and I think we are off to a great start this season so far.”
Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team opened the season with a win at the historic Gatornationals. The win added Todd’s name to an exclusive club of Funny Car drivers that have won all four NHRA “Majors” (Winternationals, Gatornationals, U.S. Nationals and World Finals) and won a Funny Car world championship. While Todd isn’t chasing history he can appreciate what that accomplishment means to get the season started.
“I don’t know if I have ever started the season off this well,” said Todd. “We usually build up momentum as the season goes on but I will take a win, a runner-up and a semifinal finish in the first four races every year.”
For Todd a return to Houston Raceway Park brings back memories of previous wins. Todd is one of just three drivers to have won the Spring Nationals in each of the top nitro classes. His Funny Car win in 2018 and Top Fuel win in 2007 had him add his name to a list that previously only included Mike Dunn and Del Worsham.
“We’ve won at Houston in the past and anytime you get back to a track where you’ve had success, you look forward to going there,” said Todd. “We’ll have some executives from Mobil 1 and Toyota there, so it’s a great time to show off in front of your sponsors. I won there in dragsters in 2007 and in Funny Car in 2018. It’s pretty cool to have won there in both classes. It always blows my mind to hear stats about ‘only you and so-and-so have ever done this’. I’m just fortunate to have a great team behind me and lucky to be driving this DHL Toyota Camry. We have a really good hot rod. We’re right in the thick of it – second in points. We just need to keep racking up points in Houston.”
2019 NHRA Spring Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 3; Beat Terry Haddock; Lost to Tommy Johnson, Jr.
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA NGK NTK Four-Wide Nationals): 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
Career Stats: 239 events, 231 starts, 259 round wins, 19 wins, 37 finals, 13 No. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 87 events, 87 starts, 10 wins, 17 finals, 111 round wins, 4 No. 1 qualifiers
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