SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2015) – Doug Kalitta, driver of Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster, has established a track record at the picturesque Sonoma Raceway that is unchallenged in the competitive NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel class.
The 2008 inductee of the Sonoma Raceway Hall of Fame, Kalitta earned his first career No.1 qualifier and took that all the way to victory in his rookie season of 1998, which led to his selection as the AAA Road to the Future winner. However, that is only the beginning of Kalitta’s Sonoma success. He would start his career 3-for-3 in wine country earning wins in 1999 and 2000, and would follow that with two more victories in back-to-back fashion in 2004 and 2005. Combine that with an additional Top Fuel final round appearance and three more no.1 qualifiers, Kalitta is near the top of everyone’s list of a team to watch in Sonoma.
“It is always incredible to go back to a track with so much great history for me and the team,” said Kalitta. “However, it has been a while since I have won at this great facility, and I would like nothing better than to earn another Wally for Mac Tools and all of our great partners.”
Kalitta turns to the second stop at the Western Swing coming off a rare first round loss in Denver, however, the Mac Tools team continued to hold a top five points position for the third consecutive event.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, has her own run of success at Sonoma Raceway.
In just three starts, DeJoria has earned five round wins and has advanced out of the first round in every season. Guided by now teammate, Del Worsham, she earned her first round win in California by defeating John Force Racing’s Mike Neff in 2012. Tommy DeLago took over the tuning duties in 2013 and guided her to back-to-back semi-final finishes defeating former champions Matt Hagan, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon in the process.
DeJoria is coming off of her best career start to the Western Swing. Last weekend in Denver, she advanced to her fourth semi-final finish of the season defeating fellow top ten contenders Courtney Force and Tim Wilkerson in the first two rounds. Those round wins moved her up one spot in points to ninth, and helped her grow her advantage over 11th to nearly three rounds.
“Coming off a great race weekend with another semi-final finish, I am excited to go back to a track where I have such a great history,” said DeJoria. “Hopefully, we can take the next step and move into the finals and pick up the win.”
J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster, has fond memories of his first Western Swing. 2006’s Road to the Future winner, Todd picked up two wins in just three events including the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. On that day, he qualified in the sixth position and defeated Tony Schumacher in the final round to earn his second career victory.
This season will be his fifth career start in the valley, and he has had a run of success. Three of his first four starts saw him advance out of the first round and a 2008 start saw Todd also start from the first spot.
His 2006 victory was special for Todd, as he shared the winner’s circle with his friend, the late Eric Medlen. Todd will continue to honor his legacy this weekend as a featured driver at the Eric Medlen Nitro Night on Thursday which raises money for charity in his honor.
“Sonoma is one of my favorite races on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season,” said Todd. “I was able to share a win there with Eric and now it is nice that we are able to go back and celebrate his life.”
Todd returns to the Red Line Oil colors this weekend. This is the seventh time this season that Todd has paraded the red, white and blue scheme. The Red Line Oil scheme is scheduled to run three more times this season, including next weekend in Seattle.
Last weekend, Todd earned his tenth round win on the season and the first for primary sponsor, SealMaster, as he defeated former champion Antron Brown in the first round. It was his first career round win over Brown, and allowed him to gain a couple points over Clay Millican, who runs 11th in the standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, is looking for a rebound race as he suffered his first round one loss in six events in Denver. Last season the Western Swing was not kind to the DHL team, and Worsham is looking to put a stop to that run this weekend.
Although the recent races have not been kind, Worsham has done well at this event. 2001 saw Worsham celebrating the win, and he got close again in 2007 as he returned to the final round. His lone Top Fuel start at Sonoma Raceway in 2011 saw him advance to the semi-finals and he was able to guide teammate Alexis DeJoria to her first round win in Sonoma in 2012.
Even with the round one loss, Worsham is still one of just three drivers to maintain a position among the top five throughout the season and the only driver has done that without the joy of victory. With just one Traxxas Shootout position available, Worsham plans on ending that run and finishing where he knows this team belongs: the Winner’s Circle.
“The DHL team has been great in the heat this season,” said Worsham. “It looks like it will be a great weather weekend, and with those temperatures promising to reach the nineties, I am confident that our tune-up will be solid and we can get the first win checked off.”
Sonoma is big weekend for Worsham’s manufacturer, Toyota. The California-based company will have their Toyota PitPass display at the track throughout the weekend. Fans can meet Worsham, DeJoria and the rest of the Toyota drivers on both Friday and Saturday.
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About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Del Worsham drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, by Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.