COMMERCE, Georgia (May 11, 2016) – Kalitta Motorsports’ preview the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. This is the seventh race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.
Worsham desires first 2016 win on 25th anniversary of his first career win
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, has been attending Atlanta Dragway for many seasons. It will always be special for Worsham and his family as 25 years ago, Worsham earned his first Funny Car win.
Driving a family owned and sponsored nitro machine, Worsham defeated future crew chiefs Richard Hartman in the first round and upset Mark Oswald in the final round to earn the trophy: his first of 30 in the Funny Car ranks. He still ranks as the youngest Funny Car winner in NHRA history.
Now 25 seasons later, Worsham is looking for another first: the first 2016 Wally. He has been close with two final round appearances, but has been unable to turn on four win lights on raceday this season. However, after a special week, which saw the DHL team receive their Championship rings and championship trophy, the motivation is real to return to the winners’ circle.
“I am excited to go to in Atlanta,” said Worsham. “We are getting ready for the biggest stretch of the NHRA schedule and the DHL team is ready. I can’t wait to get back on track and hopefully earn our first win of the season.”
Worsham is looking for his second career Atlanta Dragway win. Two seasons ago, Worsham earned the second starting position, just missing his second career Southern Nationals pole.
Kalitta looks for back-for-back trophies
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, is coming off of the biggest weekend of his 2016 season thus far.
After qualifying among the top two for the fourth time of the young season, Kalitta drove past his first three opponents: Scott Palmer, Kebin Kinsley and Leah Pritchett, placing himself in the final round with hometown driver Steve Torrence. Kalitta was prepared and recorded the best reaction time of any Top Fuel driver during the Springnationals allowing him to win his first race of the season on a holeshot. That win put Kalitta in the history books as the first Top Fuel driver to win back-to-back Houston events.
Kalitta already has his name written in the Atlanta stat book. In 2014, he was a part of the first Kalitta Motorsports sweep of the no.1 qualifiers with his teammate Alexis DeJoria. His 3.732 second pass at 328.86 MPH reset both Atlanta Dragway track records, a mark that still stands.
“My Mac Tools team has been on their game,” said Kalitta. “We are not satisfied with just one win and are looking for back-to-back trophies this weekend in Atlanta.”
With a win, it would be his first streak of consecutive wins since 2006. 2006 also saw Kalitta’s most recent victory and second overall Atlanta Dragway victory.
Todd plans for Atlanta success
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, knows how critical the next seven weeks are in the NHRA schedule. With six events on the calendar, Todd wants to kickoff the run with his first trophy at Atlanta Dragway.
“The SealMaster guys are ready to be back on track,” said Todd. “Six races in seven weeks is a perfect place to get our season rolling. The best way to start a run like this is with a win, and that’s what the plan is for this weekend.”
Todd and the SealMaster team tested several new parts in qualifying at our most recent race in Houston but succumbed to a first round loss for just the second time this season, which ranks among the best of the Top Fuel class. However, Atlanta has the potential for a rebound. In two starts with Kalitta Motorsports, Todd has qualified in the top half both times. Last season, he recorded a first round win over Morgan Lucas.
Prior to the race beginning, Todd will be going to the ballpark: Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves to be involved in the pre-game festivities. He will give the command to ‘Play Ball’ prior to their game on Thursday versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
DeJoria looks for qualifying prowess to turn to raceday highlights
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, has been on quite a hot streak in qualifying recently. By qualifying second in Houston, DeJoria earned her first career consecutive top two start. She reset her career-best elapsed time to a 3.910 second pass.
Atlanta has its own positive qualifying memories for DeJoria. The 2014 season saw DeJoria claim her first ever no.1 qualifying run in Atlanta, part of a nitro clean sweep for Kalitta Motorsports. DeJoria, who is coming off a quarterfinal finish in Houston, is looking for more in Atlanta.
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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.