LAS VEGAS (March 30, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports’ preview the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas. This is the fourth race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.
Kalitta returns to site of most recent win
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, and his crew chief, Jim Oberhofer rolled the dice at our most recent event in Las Vegas. After uncharacteristically struggling on Friday qualifying for the Toyota Nationals, Oberhofer elected to pull the backup chassis out of the trailer. Kalitta made two clean passes on Saturday to qualify in the lucky 13 spot. He would go on to record three stellar passes defeating Steve Torrence, Richie Crampton and Antron Brown before closing the weekend with a Wally by getting by a tire smoking Larry Dixon in the final.
That win gave Kalitta his first three win season since 2006 and his first Vegas win since 2004. In between those wins, Kalitta recorded three final round appearances and a no.1 qualifier at the facility.
Kalitta is ready to go back-to-back at the Strip. A solid start to the season has the Mac Tools team sitting solidly in the top three in the standings, a place he has held after every race thus far this season. However, Kalitta wants the 39th Wally of his career, and he hopes to secure it this weekend.
“The Mac Tools team is pleased with the start of the season,” said Kalitta, who is after his first Top Fuel world championship. “You always want to start strong, and that is what we have done. Next up, we want to win.”
Todd looks for more than just Vegas qualifying success
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, has been very good on Friday and Saturday at The Strip since joining Team Kalitta. In half of his events with Kalitta in Las Vegas, he has earned the Mello Yello green hat as the no.1 qualifier. Those pole wins are two of his eight career no.1 qualifying spots.
Last season at this event, Todd earned the top spot and defeated Steve Faria and Dom Lagana in the first two rounds. Those round wins are part of six round wins he has earned in four Kalitta Vegas events. This weekend, the plan for the SealMaster team is to reach a total of ten round wins and earn Todd his first Vegas trophy.
“Vegas is a great facility that Team Kalitta has had a lot of success at recently,” said Todd. “I would love to take this SealMaster machine to the winner’s circle and add my name to the list of track winners.”
Twice a Vegas runner-up, Todd comes to The Strip off a solid debut for the new SealMaster Top Fuel dragster chassis in Gainesville. The team had two solid qualifying passes on Saturday before laying down the second best elapsed time effort in his first round win over Steve Torrence.
Worsham back at site of first Kalitta win
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, is coming off a championship season, but his first big moment as the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry came in Vegas.
In his second season as a driver for Team Kalitta, Worsham debuted a brand new Toyota Camry at the 2014 Toyota Nationals and qualified 12th. However, the tuning duo of Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante saved the best for Sunday as the reeled off four consecutive passes straight down The Strip with the final lap giving Worsham the race win over John Force. That win made Worsham the only driver to claim Top Fuel and Funny Car wins in Las Vegas.
The defending Funny Car champion is looking for his 2016 breakthrough victory. He sits in sixth after the first three races which includes a Pomona final round appearance.
“The DHL team has a ton of great memories in Vegas and I would love to add another.” said Worsham. “Vegas is bound to warm and fast and I look forward to the challenge.”
DeJoria looks for 2016 breakthrough
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, laid down another solid reaction time and elapsed time on Sunday in Gainesville, but it was not enough to move her to the Gatornationals quarterfinals. However, she only slipped one spot in the standings, allowing her to hold on to a top ten spot for the third consecutive weekend to start the 2016 season.
DeJoria, Tommy DeLago and the Patrón team are looking to improve on Friday and Saturday this weekend to secure a better qualifying spot for race day. DeJoria is just two years removed from her victory in Las Vegas, Tequila Patrón’s headquarters. DeJoria defeated Robert Hight in the final round to become the first driver in the 2014 season to earn two race wins.
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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 six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta is the home of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car World Champions, Del Worsham. He drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the SealMaster 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, Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, Rob Flynn on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster and Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Optima Batteries, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.