NORWALK, Ohio (June 26, 2016) – J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, came into Norwalk looking for qualifying improvement. Four straight races qualifying eighth or ninth meant tough draws, and the SealMaster team was looking for more.
They got it. Earning qualifying bonus points with the first pass, Todd qualified amongst the top five for the first time since Atlanta. His first round draw though did not get any easier as Todd drew Terry McMillen, who is fighting for his first Countdown berth. Todd won the race on the tree, with a reaction time of .044, he was ahead instantly and never looked back.
Leah Pritchett would be Todd’s next foe. With a berth in the semi-finals on the line, Todd and Pritchett left neck-and-neck, but the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn tuneup allowed Todd to steadily pull away despite a problem with the SealMaster machine near the finish line.
A repeat of the Atlanta final was next as Todd came up against his teammate, Doug Kalitta. Todd was not about to lose to Kalitta again. He made the best move at the starting line of the round and held on the entire run to reach his second final round of the season.
The opponent: last week’s winner, Shawn Langdon. They were close leaving the starting line, but Todd had taken the lead by the 330 foot mark. However, soon after, the SealMaster ride experienced tire smoke. Todd did an expert driving job, but Langdon was able to get by.
“It is no fun to be so close and not be able to get the trophy,” said Todd. “My SealMaster Toyota guys worked so hard this weekend and they deserved to get the Wally. We will try it again in Chicago and see if we can close the deal there.”
Todd stays in the seventh position in the point standings.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, came to Norwalk looking to repeat and he started the race in the best way possible: on pole.
Kalitta earned his second straight Norwalk top starting spot in the evening session. Amongst the last pair to see the track, Kalitta laid down a 3.719, resetting the Norwalk track record and delivering Kalitta his third pole of the season and eighth top two start.
With just 15 machines on the property, Kalitta earned the right to have a bye. He needed it. The Mac Tools machine smoked the tires almost instantly. However, with no opponent in the other side of the track, Kalitta earned his 11th first round win of the season in just 12 starts.
Next up, Kalitta faced Pat Dakin for the second time in the last two events. Dakin, who defeated Clay Millican in the first round, delivered a solid reaction time in the first round, but was unable to compete with Kalitta this time. The Mac Tools driver left first with a .037 light and took that to the stripe with a wire-to-wire win. His 3.814 second pass gave him lane choice over his teammate in his ninth semi-final of the season. This time, his teammate, J.R. Todd, got the best of the Mac Tools machine, ending Kalitta’s run at a repeat early.
“My Mac Tools team did great work on this four-race run,” said Kalitta. “We are halfway though our season, and we are where we set out to be. We will continue to learn and race hard, and plan to be even better in the second half of 2016.”
Kalitta retains the points lead at the halfway point of the season.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, backed up his second starting position in Bristol in a big way on Friday night in Norwalk. With conditions perfect, Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante had ahold of the tune-up and gave Worsham his career-best run. Worsham’s 3.875 second pass reset the Summit Motorsports Park track record and his 328.70 MPH was also a new track best.
However, the excitement the DHL team felt was short-lived as the DHL Camry parachutes failed to engage on the last pass of qualifying sending the Toyota Camry in the sand. The DHL ‘Yella Fellas’ were resilient and worked to the late hours of the night. They were able to get everything fixed and join Worsham across the stage for driver introductions.
The reward for being the no.1 qualifier was similar to his teammate, a bye first round. It was a great opportunity to test everything and get some good data to move on throughout the day. However, the day would not end with a win as Tommy Johnson Jr., ran the session-best pass in the second round ending Worsham’s weekend.
“Very, very frustrating weekend,” said Worsham. “It started so awesome, but to tear up that new DHL Toyota body is not something we wanted to do. I am extremely proud of the effort out my team and the hours they put in.”
Worsham moved up to fourth in the point standings.
Through twelve events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns four wins, ten final round appearances and three no.1 qualifiers. The NHRA circuit takes the July 4th weekend off then returns to the Windy City for the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill.
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 5 Qualifier (3.759 sec., 319.75 mph)
- E1: Todd defeated McMillen – 3.806 sec., 322.04 mph to 6.379 sec., 109.36 mph
- E2: Todd defeated Pritchett – 3.831 sec., 302.89 mph to 3.881 sec., 314.75 mph
- E3: Todd defeated Kalitta – 3.868 sec., 297.09 mph to 3.874 sec., 312.42 mph
- Final: Todd defeated by Langdon – 3.937 sec., 285.05 mph to 3.846 sec., 319.75 mph
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 1 Qualifier (3.719 sec., 327.51 mph) **TRACK RECORD ET**
- E1: Kalitta – Bye Run – 7.521 sec., 110.42 mph
- E2: Kalitta defeated Dakin – 3.814 sec., 324.05 mph to 11.088 sec., 72.77 mph
- E3: Kalitta defeated by Todd – 3.874 sec., 312.42 mph to 3.868 sec., 297.09 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 1 Qualifier (3.875 sec., 328.70mph) **TRACK RECORD ET and MPH and CAREER BEST ET***
- E1: Worsham – Bye Round – 4.337 sec., 210.50 mph
- E2: Worsham defeated by Johnson Jr. – 4.049 sec., 320.43 mph to 3.958 sec., 320.58 mph
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 Champion, 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, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.