NHRA Arizona Nationals No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon will each be racing to pick up their first Vegas four-wide win while Funny Car teammate J.R. Todd will be racing for his third title at the Spring Vegas race.
J.R. Todd and DHL Team Looking for Third Las Vegas Four-Wide Trophy
Two-time Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Funny Car winner J.R. Todd is ready to get to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. With three races under his belt behind the wheel of the newly designed DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car Todd is ready for a breakout event. Last year the 2018 Funny Car world champion started the season with a win at the first race and it set up him up at the top of the standings for the rest of the season. This year Todd is battling a tough group of Funny Car competitors and everyone is looking for a competitive performance edge.
“I am really loving driving this new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car,” said Todd, a ten-time Funny Car national event winner. “I am getting more comfortable in this race car with every run. I don’t think most people understand how hard it can be to bring a brand-new design into competition. We tested over the off-season, but you really don’t start getting great information until you are in race day conditions. We have three races behind us and we are getting better with every pass.”
Todd’s dominance in the desert began behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster when he raced to three runner-up finishes in 2006, 2014 and 2016. When he made the switch to Funny Car in 2017 wins at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway began piling up. In 2018 he won the four-wide race followed by a win at the fall national event on the way to his first Funny Car world championship. The next Spring he won for the third consecutive event picking up back-to-back four-wide wins.
“I love racing at The Strip and we have had a lot of success in Las Vegas,” said Todd. “I don’t know what it is about racing there but I just have a lot of confidence and my DHL Toyota team has performed great there. I would love to start another win streak with this new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car this weekend.”
2021 NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 9; Beat Cruz Pedregon and Jonnie Lindberg; Lost to Ron Capps, Bob Tasca III and Robert Hight
Last Event Recap (2022 Gatornationals): Qual 11; Lost to Blake Alexander
Career Stats: 258 events, 250 starts, 282 round wins, 19 wins, 40 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 106 events, 106 starts, 10 wins, 20 finals, 134 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
Mac Tools Top Fuel and Doug Kalitta Looking for Jackpot at Las Vegas
This weekend Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel team will be looking to improve on their 2021 runner-up performance at the NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. The No. 1 qualifier at this year’s Arizona Nationals has shown improved performance at each of the first three NHRA national events this season and has a history of strong runs at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Through three rounds of tracing last year in the desert Kalitta who was the No. 3 qualifier, advanced to the final quad comprised of eventual winner Steve Torrence, Clay Millican and Antron Brown and he was only edged out by Torrence.
“We came pretty close last year at the Vegas four-wide,” said Kalitta, who also racked up a runner-up finish at Houston’s SpringNationals in 2021. “I am really happy with the direction this Mac Tools team is moving. We had some good runs two weeks ago at the Gatornationals. I am excited to get to The Strip and see what we can do.”
Over the off-season Kalitta Motorsports added world champion Top Fuel tuner Alan Johnson along with Brian Husen to the Mac Tools team. The pair of world championship winning crew chiefs and an experienced crew has started to show progress in a highly competitive Top Fuel field that has seen not only three different winners to start the season but six different finalists.
“The competition is fierce out here and I am so glad I have Alan and Brian in my corner,” said Kalitta. “We raced against those guys for a lot of years and I am really glad to have them on my team now.”
Kalitta’s success at the Las Vegas track has primarily been realized at the fall national event inside the NHRA Countdown playoff window. He has collected two wins finishing first in 2004 and 2015 with a runner-up finish in 2007. Kalitta did collect his first final round appearance at The Strip’s spring race in 2003 well before the transition to four-wide racing.
“I enjoy the four-wide racing because it is something different and I think the fans like it,” said Kalitta. “We have been working on a consistent tune-up and we are right around the corner from having a lot of success I feel. This could be a really exciting weekend for us.”
2021 NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Highlights: RUNNER-UP; Qual No. 3; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey; beat Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett; Lost to Steve Torrence, beat Clay Millican and Antron Brown
Last Event Recap (2022 Gatornationals): Qual 5; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Career Stats: 547 events, 540 starts, 724 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Arizona Nationals: Qual. 1; Lost to Rob Passey
Gatornationals: Qual 5; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Shawn Langdon and DHL Top Fuel Team Ready to Make it Happen at Vegas Four-Wide Nationals
After the first three races at the start of the season 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon is ready to start building some momentum. The DHL Toyota Top Fuel dragster team is looking to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals as the perfect race and location to turn their luck around. Langdon along with his Toyota teammates J.R. Todd, Antron Brown and Alexis DeJoria will meet with the media in advance of the Las Vegas NHRA national event to talk about their wildly popular “Hangover” themed Toyota social media campaign which launcher earlier this season.
“This weekend will be a great time to start building some consistency,” said Langdon. “We will get four qualifying runs which will be great to get that data and then on Sunday the racing should be really competitive. There are a lot of tough race teams out here that are in the same position as us. This is a great opportunity for this DHL Toyota Top Fuel team to make some good runs and go rounds on Sunday.”
Langdon has had success in the four-wide racing format picking up his first career Funny Car win in 2019 racing a Toyota Funny Car at the Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals. Later that same season he picked up his second Funny Car win at the St Louis Midwest Nationals. In his Top Fuel career Langdon has collected fifteen national event wins.
“I would love to add a Top Fuel four-wide win to my record,” said Langdon. “The key will be to come off the trailer and make a couple good runs on Friday. We can build on that information on Saturday to go into race day with a solid strategy. I have a lot of confidence in this DHL Toyota Top Fuel team and we will be ready to get after it this weekend.”
Qualifying for the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals will begin with two sessions on Friday at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. followed by two more session on Saturday. Final eliminations will start at noon on Sunday with the race being televised on FS1 nationally.
2021 NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 6; Beat Tory Buff and Rob Passey; Lost to Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta
Last Event Recap (2022 Gatornationals): Qual 21; DNQ
Career Stats: 290 events, 286 starts, 311 round wins, 17 wins, 35 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 242 events, 238 starts, 15 wins, 32 finals, 272 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