INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 5, 2020) — Shawn Langdon and the DHL/Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster team earned the 87th No. 1 Top Fuel qualifier for Kalitta Motorsports, the multi-time world championship team, today at the 66th annual U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Langdon powered down the track on Friday night in the first qualifying session with a 3.728 second pass at 313.22 mph. The run held up through two more qualifying sessions today and gave Langdon his second No. 1 qualifier at the historic event and 19th overall Top Fuel No.1 in his career.
“It feels good. It feels like we are back to how the car was running in testing and the first day of Pomona this year,” said Langdon. “This DHL dragster is fast. We were fast last night. At the top end it dropped cylinder and ended up hurting the motor pretty good. Today we were trying to take a conservative approach. We missed a little on the second qualifying session. We went after it on the final session. The reason the miles per hour were down is because it was a planned shut off. We weren’t really sure if it would drop a cylinder. It was probably going to run 3.69 seconds or a 3.70.”
“My DHL crew guys did a great job. We have been working really hard and been doing some testing trying to get this car turned around. Our results the last couple of traces don’t show how good this race car is. This car is capable of so much more. It is a good running car so we are glad we got a lot of things worked out and back in sync for this home stretch of races starting with the U.S. Nationals,” added Langdon.
Langdon’s last No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel was the Gatornationals in 2015 and his previous U.S. Nationals No. 1 qualifier came in 2012 where he advanced to the second round before bowing out of the race. He won the U.S. Nationals in 2013 on the way to his first Top Fuel world championship. Langdon will face Joey Haas in the first round.
His Top Fuel teammate and defending U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner Doug Kalitta will enter the race as the No. 5 qualifier. He will square off with veteran Pat Dakin in the first round. Kalitta will be chasing back-to-back victories beginning at 10 a.m. ET tomorrow.“Getting another U.S. Nationals win would be huge,” said Kalitta. “My teammate J.R. Todd and the DHL Camry Funny Car have gone back to back (2017 and 2018) so we would like to do that too. We are going to get after it.”
Kalitta and his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster made the second quickest run of the final session. They picked up two qualifying bonus points as well as confidence going into race day.
“I feel good. We are going for it on that last qualifying run. It blew it up pretty good. We have plenty of parts and Mac Tools. We will bang this thing back together. We have been going down the track and I feel good about tomorrow for sure,” added Kalitta. “We are looking forward to the race tomorrow. We are looking for another win here.
”The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and driver J.R. Todd will be heading into eliminations as the No. 8 qualifier and will face Blake Alexander. Through three rounds of qualifying Todd had a solid race car but the 2018 world champion would have liked to have been higher in the qualifying order. His DHL Camry made the second quickest run of the first qualifying session today moving him into the No. 8 position.
“We didn’t qualify like we wanted to or expected but we qualified in the top half so that will give us lane choice tomorrow,” said Todd. “Who knows if that will even matter. It is going to be a tough day of racing if we want to win our third U.S. Nationals. I have all the faith in the world in these DHL Yella Fellas. Hopefully we will be talking at the end of the day from the winner’s circle.
”The NHRA restarted the season in early July and hosted three consecutive national events at the home of the U.S. Nationals. For all the drivers the previous three races were welcome national events to move closer to the Mello Yello NHRA world championship but even though they were in Indianapolis they were not the U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious national event in drag racing,“This race feels different. It is the U.S. Nationals,” explained Todd. “The other three were just national events honestly. One of them didn’t even get finished until today as part of the U.S. Nationals. Those first three races in Indy felt different. We have more fans this weekend. They didn’t have the prestige of the U.S. Nationals. I knew it would feel different and now the intensity is ramped up. I guarantee you tomorrow it will be even more intense out here. Guys will be feeling it and be ready to go.”