Pre-Race #USNATS

Doug Kalitta

J.R. Todd Racing for Third U.S. Nationals Funny Car Title

With the 68th NHRA U.S. Nationals on tap this weekend J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota GR Supra team will be looking to race into the history books as just one of seven drivers to have won the prestigious event three times in Funny Car. The back-to-back winner in 2017 and 2018 was runner-up in 2020 and has his sights set on a third U.S. Nationals crown.
“This is the biggest race of the season and you want to get that win and take some momentum into the Countdown,” said Todd. “We won this race in 2018 and went on to win the Funny Car championship. We are sixth in the points and we want to hold onto that spot in the standings.”
Todd and the DHL GR Supra team raced to a runner-up finish in Seattle at the end of the Western Swing. Over the past six races Todd has collected a runner-up a semifinal finish and three quarterfinal finishes to maintain his position in the standings. Throughout this season with the newly designed Toyota GR Supra Funny Car body Todd has been in the mix every weekend on race day. Over the off-season with the help from Toyota, Revchem Composites and his DHL team Todd worked to make sure the new Funny Car body was ready to make a statement in the 2022 NHRA season.
“I think we have a team that can compete for the championship and the U.S. Nationals title,” said Todd, a ten-time Funny Car national event winner. “We were right there in the final in Seattle. We have had some very close races this season and now is when you have to dig deep. This is a championship caliber team and we have been through this before. Indy will be a busy weekend, but we just need to stay focused on the task at hand.”
For the first and only time this season Todd and his DHL Toyota team are scheduled to get five qualifying runs before final eliminations on Monday. The extra session combined with his team’s experience has Todd filled with confidence going into race weekend at the sixteenth national event of the season.
“If you give (crew chiefs) Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer some time and a good race track they will find the best tune-up,” said Todd. “We have made progressively better runs throughout qualifying this season and then stepped it up on race day. I think we can do the same thing this weekend with really good results.”
2021 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 5, Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Last Event Recap 2022 Brainerd Nationals: Qual. 7; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight
Career Stats: 270 events, 262 starts, 296 round wins, 19 wins, 41 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 118 events, 118 starts, 10 wins, 21 finals, 148 round wins, 5 No. 1 qualifiers
2022 Results
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 Qual. 7; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight 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
Brainerd: Qual. 7; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta Geared Up For Another U.S. Nationals Top Fuel Title

Another win at this weekend’s NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis would catapult Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team right into the middle of the Top Fuel championship discussion. The 2019 U.S. Nationals winner and three-time finalist has had a tough regular season but the resilient championship contender who is sitting eighth in the Top Fuel point standings knows all a driver needs is a chance to run for the championship.
“We have been close to the championship before and we are going into Indy and the U.S. Nationals with a great attitude. We are looking at points and a half at that race so we know we can make a move up the standings,” said Kalitta. “We have won this race before and been to a couple more finals. I feel good about our chances.”
For the first time since 2019 when Kalitta captured the U.S. Nationals title the event will be contested over four days with eliminations on Monday. Teams will have five qualifying rounds with each session offering the four quickest competitors bonus points for their efforts. Four points will go to quickest run, three points for second quickest, and so on for the top four. The additional possible 20 points just in qualifying runs could be a game changer for Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster.
“We have a No. 1 qualifier from the Arizona Nationals earlier this season and we have been starting races near the top of the field almost every weekend,” said Kalitta, who is looking for his 50th career Top Fuel win. “Grabbing some of those qualifying bonus points would go a long way this weekend. I have been No. 1 qualifier at this race twice, but it has been a while. We have a race car that can make quick runs and win rounds on Sunday for sure.”
At the beginning of the season Kalitta was joined by world championship crew chiefs Alan Johnson and Brian Husen. The tandem of world-class tuners have made steady progress all season and with one race left in the regular season before the six-race Countdown playoffs begin they know they have time to make a significant move. Kalitta has only qualified outside the top eight two times all season and many of the races has the 51-time No. 1 qualifier starting fourth or higher. Last year in Indy Kalitta started No. 3 and raced to the quarterfinals.
“We want to come off the trailer on Friday and take advantage of that first run. We will get four more shots at the track over Saturday and Sunday,” said Kalitta. “This race is a marathon, but it is our biggest race of the season. I am looking forward to going rounds with his Mac Tools and Revchem Composites race car for sure.”
2021 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 3, Beat Krista Baldwin; Lost to Billy Torrence

Last Event Recap 2022 Brainerd Nationals:  Qual. 10; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Career Stats: 559 events, 552 starts, 732 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers

2022 Results
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 Leah Pruett
Topeka: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Brainerd: Qual. 10; Lost to Tony Schumacher

Shawn Langdon

Fourth U.S. Nationals Trophy Up For Grabs for Shawn Langdon

Shawn Langdon started winning the U.S. Nationals, the NHRA’s most prestigious national event, over a decade ago when he captured the Super Gas title in Indianapolis in 2010. Since that hard fought win the 2013 Top Fuel world champion has added two more Top Fuel U.S. Nationals titles to his trophy case winning in 2013 and 2020. The driver who is the only full-time professional to have a junior dragster national championship, a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series championship and a Camping World Drag Racing Series championship is eager to race for his fourth U.S. Nationals title. This weekend behind the wheel of the DHL Toyota Top Fuel dragster Langdon will be looking to pick up his third Top Fuel win at the biggest race of the year.
“I live here so this is a home race for me which is nice,” said Langdon, who has competed in Top Fuel and Super Comp at select events this season. “Winning the U.S. Nationals is a big deal no matter what class you are competing in. We almost won Super Comp and Top Fuel earlier this season in Bristol and I would love to double up this weekend at the U.S. Nationals.”
At the Thunder Valley Nationals Langdon took the Super Comp national event win and was runner-up in Top Fuel. This weekend the driver who has spent almost every weekend this season behind the wheel of some sort of race car will be competing in two classes as well as managing sponsor commitments.
“I have been lucky to have great sponsors like DHL, CMR Construction and Roofing, Toyota, Revchem Composites and so many companies support our racing efforts,” said Langdon. “Every time I am in a race car, I feel like that is an opportunity to get better and stay focused.”
This season Langdon has started peaking at the right time with the regular season wrapping up this weekend. Since his Bristol runner-up Langdon added a runner-up finish at the Mile-High Nationals in Denver as well as a semifinal in Sonoma and three consecutive quarterfinal finishes coming into the U.S. Nationals. Currently sitting sixth in points well within striking distance of fifth place Langdon and the DHL team will be the beneficiary of the Countdown point reset to erase an over 400-point deficit with six races remaining.
“We just want to give our DHL Toyota team the best chance to win the championship,” said Langdon. “After Indy we will have six races to battle the best teams in the world for the title. I have a great race car right now with a great team behind me.”
2021 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Antron Brown
Last Event Recap 2022 Brainerd Nationals: Qual. 16; Lost to Brittany Force
Career Stats: 302 events, 298 starts, 326 round wins, 17 wins, 37 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 254 events, 250 starts, 15 wins, 34 finals, 287 round wins, 19 No. 1 qualifiers
2022 Results
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
Brainerd: Qual. 11; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Justin Ashley