DHL Top Fuel and Shawn Langdon Ready to Close Out Season with Strong Nevada Nationals
As the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season is winding down with two more races on the schedule 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon and the DHL Toyota team are heating up heading to the North Las Vegas desert. The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the penultimate Countdown national event and Langdon will be looking to secure the win and end his season on a high note. The past two national events have shown a resurgence that Langdon and the DHL keep showed in the summer months when they raced to two runner-up finishes and two semifinal finishes in a five-race stretch.
“We had a good stretch in the summer and I think we have found our stride again,” said Langdon, who will be campaigning a pink DHL dragster for the final two national events. “The last two races we have been running pretty well and I have been really comfortable in the DHL Toyota Top Fuel dragster. We would like to finish the season with a couple wins and I feel like we have a team that can do that.”
Two weekends ago at the Texas Fall Nationals Langdon’s superior driver skills were on full display as he won a tough second round match up with fellow Countdown contender Brittany Force on a holeshot after outrunning four-time Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence in the first round leaving the starting line first in that match-up as well.
“Every driver out here is bringing their best to the starting line,” said Langdon. “I think this is the toughest group of Top Fuel drivers I have ever raced against. I love the competition and I am proud this DHL team is holding its own against all these teams. Everyone on this team has been battling all season and we are focused on these last two races. We want to move up in the Top Ten and finish as high in the standings as possible.”
Langdon contributed 40,000 meals to the Feeding America program with his semifinal finish at the Texas Fall Nationals. This weekend he will be looking to add additional meals as well as raise awareness for breast cancer research and men’s health care with his pink DHL Toyota Top Fuel dragster. The team will have four qualifying sessions to prepare for a long race day.
“I like the fact we are getting four qualifying runs again this weekend at the Nevada Nationals,” said Langdon. “The team gets in a good groove and we get a lot better feel for the track. When you have more data you can make better decisions on race day and put on a better show for the fans.”
The two Friday qualifying sessions will be contested at 1:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. with two Saturday sessions scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. with the race being broadcast on FS1 nationally.
2021 Nevada Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 12; Lost to Billy Torrence
Last Event Recap 2022 Texas Fall Nationals: Qual. 11; Beat Steve Torrence, Brittany Force; Lost to Justin Ashley
Career Stats: 307 events, 303 starts, 330 round wins, 17 wins, 37 finals, 19 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel: 259 events, 255 starts, 15 wins, 34 finals, 291 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
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
Indianapolis: Qual. 15; Lost to Justin Ashley
Reading: Qual. 12; Lost to Steve Torrence
Charlotte2: Qual. 12; Lost to Doug Kalitta
St. Louis: Qual. 3; Beat Kyle Wurtzel, Tony Schumacher; Lost to Josh Hart
Dallas: Qual. 11; Beat Steve Torrence, Brittany Force; Lost to Justin Ashley
J.R. Todd Looking to Return to Vegas Winner’s Circle at Nevada Nationals
The DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team and J.R. Todd are fired up to be returning to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the NHRA Nevada Nationals. The track located 20 minutes north of the Las Vegas strip has been the site of some of Todd’s biggest wins and dominant performances. During his 2018 Funny Car championship season Todd won both the spring national event and the fall national event, the second win putting him the driver’s seat for his first Funny Car championship. The following spring Todd won the Funny Car title for the third consecutive time at the track. This season Todd would like nothing more than to turn on four win lights and capture his fourth win at The Strip.
“We had a great run here a few years ago and I would love to get another win streak started at The Strip,” said Todd. “These DHL Yella Fellas have been busting their tails all season and I know a win is right around the corner. This would be a great event to win and close out the season on a high note.”
In addition to his Funny Car success in Las Vegas, the versatile driver has three runner-up finishes in Top Fuel at the Nevada Nationals. Todd raced to the final round in 2016, 2014 and 2006. The success in both categories is something Todd is proud and appreciates.
“I started in Top Fuel and we had some success in Las Vegas but I love driving this DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car,” said Todd. “There is a lot going on when you hit the throttle in one of these Funny Cars. I love the challenge of driving this Toyota GR Supra Funny Car and this season has been a process getting more experience with the new body.”
Todd made his debut runs in the newly designed Supra at the Winternationals and throughout the season he has been instrumental making the new body perform at the highest level. He raced to the final round in Seattle at the Northwest Nationals during the Western Swing and has three additional semifinal finishes. Currently, Todd is sitting No. 8 in the Funny Car standings and with strong performances over the final two races he could easily move into the top five.
For the second race in a row Todd’s traditional yellow and red DHL Funny Car will be flying the pink livery promoting breast cancer research and raising awareness for men’s health in November. His primary sponsor DHL is also wrapping up a four race Feeding America promotion with Kalitta Motorsports. Todd along with Top Fuel teammates Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon are turning on win lights on Sunday to donate 20,000 meals to the national company focused on ending food insecurity in America thanks to donations from Kalitta Motorsports and DHL.
“I think we have donated about 180,000 meals over the first three races and I would love to turn on four win lights on Sunday and add another 80,000 meals to that total for Feeding America,” said Todd. “It is cool to have a sponsor like DHL who gives back to the community and I am glad Kalitta Motorsports and Kalitta Air are involved so actively.”
Todd and the DHL team will start working on getting win lights with four qualifying sessions, two each on Friday and Saturday. Final eliminations will begin on Sunday at 11 a.m. with FS1 broadcasting the race nationally.
2021 Nevada Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Paul Lee
Last Event Recap 2022 Texas Fall Nationals: Qual. 7; Lost to Paul Lee
Career Stats: 275 events, 267 starts, 299 round wins, 19 wins, 41 finals, 14 No. 1 qualifiers; In Funny Car: 123 events, 123 starts, 10 wins, 21 finals, 150 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
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
Indianapolis: Qual. 8; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Ron Capps
Reading: Qual. 6; Beat Chad Green; Lost to John Force
Charlotte2: Qual. 6; Lost to Alexis DeJoria
St. Louis: Qual. 10; Beat Alexis DeJoria; Lost to John Force
Dallas: Qual. 7; Lost to Paul Lee
Doug Kalitta Looking for Third Nevada Nationals Title this Weekend in Las Vegas
Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster will head to the desert for the NHRA Nevada Nationals chasing career win No. 50 and a strong finish to the 2022 NHRA season. Since the historic U. S. Nationals in Indianapolis Kalitta has raced to three semifinals and a quarterfinal finish to continue to keep his Top Ten position in the points and highlight the progress the Alan Johnson and Brian Husen tuned 11,000-horsepower dragster have made since taking over at the beginning of the 2022 season. With two races left on the racing calendar Kalitta is heading to familiar territory and a track where he has enjoyed sustained success.
The veteran driver has race to two NHRA Nevada Nationals winner’s circles at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway most recently in 2015 and 2004. Additionally, Kalitta has raced to the 2007 Nevada Nationals final round and four final rounds at the spring national event (2021, 2014, 2005 and 2003).
“We love racing at Las Vegas,” said Kalitta. “There are just some tracks where you go rounds and The Strip is one of those places for me. We will be looking for four win lights on Sunday to make a big donation to Feeding America and also get that 50th Top Fuel win.”
Since the Charlotte Countdown race Kalitta along with teammates Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd have been racing in support of Feeding America and every win light on race day means Kalitta Motorsports donates 10,000 meals with long-time sponsor DHL matching the donation for a total of 20,000 meals for every round win. So far, the three Kalitta drivers have donated 180,000 meals to Feeding America. This weekend will be the final race of a four-race stretch for the program and Kalitta Air has also joined the initiative with additional donations.
In addition to the final round and race win dominance in Top Fuel at The Strip Kalitta and his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster has secured two No. 1 qualifiers (2005 and 2003). Kalitta has started from the top half of the field 17 times this season with a No. 1 qualifier, his career 51st, at the Arizona Nationals earlier this season. On seven of those occasions Kalitta has started from No. 4 or higher including the Midwest Nationals two races ago when he raced to the semifinal round.
“We have a really quick hot rod and we are starting to see it come around on race day,” said Kalitta. “I am excited about this race in Las Vegas and finishing the season on a high note. We have been winning rounds on Sunday and you get into a good groove. I have a lot of confidence in Alan and Brian and this whole Mac Tools team. I know we are moving in the right direction.”
The first of two Friday qualifying sessions will get underway for Kalitta and the rest of the Top Fuel field at 1:30 p.m. with two more sessions on Saturday before final eliminations for the 16-quickest land rockets begins at 11 a.m. local time.
2021 Nevada Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 13; Lost Mike Salinas
Last Event Recap 2022 Texas Fall Nationals: Qual. 7; Lost to Justin Ashley
Career Stats: 564 events, 557 starts, 739 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
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
Indianapolis: Qual. 12; Beat Clay Millican, Mike Salinas; Lost to Brittany Force
Reading: Qual. 7; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Justin Ashley
Charlotte2: Qual. 5; Beat Shawn Langdon, Mike Salinas; Lost to Justin Ashley
St. Louis: Qual. 4; Beat Doug Foley, Brittany Force; Lost to Steve Torrence
Dallas: Qual. 7; Lost to Justin Ashley