BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 21, 2015) – J.R. Todd, driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, picked up his 100th career round win earlier today at Bristol Dragway as he joined his teammate, Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, in the semi-finals of the Thunder Valley Nationals, a race where team owner and legend Connie Kalitta was named as a Legend of Thunder Valley.
Todd had a solid qualifying session, as he guided the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster down the Bristol pavement in three of four sessions. His best would be the night session on Friday night. His 3.790 second run was fourth best at that point, but due to weather teams were able to advance in the fourth session, where Todd dropped a cylinder. He fell to ninth, and his first opponent was top ten contender Brittany Force.
They were first pair to hit Bristol Dragway, but Todd was ready. He blazed down the track in 3.822 seconds to easily defeat Brittany Force. Rival Tony Schumacher was the next up, but due to a mechanical malfunction, Schumacher was unable to make the call. Todd still laid down a .033 second reaction time to be best in the round and earn him his 100th round win. Tire smoke got the best of him in the semi-finals versus Larry Dixon, but he again had the top reaction time in the class.
“I really wanted to win on Father’s Day for Connie and these Kalitta Air guys,” said Todd. “We are still struggling a little bit in the heat, and look to get that figured out in Norwalk.”
Todd moved to just one round from eighth in the point standings.
Kalitta rolled through four great passes in qualifying. With a good handle on Bristol Dragway and an unexpected night session on Saturday, Jim Oberhofer tuned the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster up. A 3.750 second run moved Kalitta all the way up to second in the qualifying order and a pairing with Terry McMillen on Sunday.
McMillen was a victim of tire smoke almost immediately, and Kalitta laid down the best run of the whole first session. The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster ran a 3.814 at over 320 mph. Dave Connolly tried next, but he also could not compete with Kalitta as his tire smoke moved the Mac Tools team to the semi-finals.
Kalitta got Richie Crampton on the tree in the semi-finals, but Crampton got Kalitta at the finish line to end his day.
“Solid day for the Mac Tools team, but we wanted the Wally,” said Kalitta. “We will take this week off, regroup and look to get them in Norwalk.”
Kalitta heads into the week off in the sixth place in the point standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, continued his consistent run in these three consecutive races. Worsham earned six bonus points in qualifying as he was the second best pass in each of the first three sessions, and then laid a near three second run on the field in the final qualifying session. His 4.006 second pass was good enough for fourth best and a matchup against friend Chad Head in the first round.
A little oil in the pair prior to Worsham caused the car to sit in the heat for an extended period of time, but it did not affect the performance of the DHL Toyota Camry. Head smoked the tires, but it would have been difficult to defeat Worsham, who advanced to a 4.116 second pass. His matchup in the second session was the car that took out his teammate, Tony Pedregon.
Pedregon proved to have Team Kalitta’s card in Bristol as he was able to get past Worsham with a slight reaction time advantage in the second round.
Worsham remains the top driver among both nitro classes in the point standings without a win and leaves Bristol Dragway in the fourth position.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, was solid in what ended up being two night sessions at Bristol Dragway. On Friday evening, DeJoria ran one of two 4.0 second runs, a 4.075, to place her inside the top half of the funny car class. However, after waiting out countless raindrops, Tommy DeLago tuned DeJoria to an even better number. On Saturday evening, DeJoria crossed the finish line in just 4.025 seconds to move her from seventh to fifth in the qualifying order. Her first round matchup was former champion Tony Pedregon.
Racing on Sunday saw us reach the highest temperatures of the weekend, and DeJoria just hazed the tires at half-track to be defeated by Pedregon. She slipped one spot to ninth in the point standings.
After 11 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won one event, advanced to five final rounds and earned two no.1 qualifying positions. After three consecutive events the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series takes next weekend off before going to the closest track to Kalitta Motorsports, Summit Raceway Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
- No. 2 Qualifier (3.750 sec., 329.50 mph)
- E1: Kalitta defeated McMillen – 3.814 sec., 321.88 mph to 9.128 sec., 74.82 mph;
- E2: Kalitta defeated Connolly – 3.901 sec., 302.62 mph to 6.081 sec., 110.59 mph
- E3: Kalitta defeated by Crampton – 3.906 sec., 316.97 mph to 3.859 sec., 319.14 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel Dragster:
- No. 9 Qualifier (3.790 sec., 318.62 mph)
- E1: Todd defeated B. Force – 3.822 sec., 321.58 mph to 3.870 sec., 290.26 mph
- E2: Todd defeated Schumacher – 4.945 sec., 146.07 mph to broke
- E3: Todd defeated by Dixon – 5.364 sec., 131.59 to 3.907 sec., 317.79 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
- No. 4 Qualifier (4.116 sec., 309.98 mph)
- E1: Worsham defeated Head – 4.116 sec., 309.98 mph to 4.648 sec., 192.66 mph
- E2: Worsham defeated by T. Pedregon – 4.171 sec., 302.48 mph to 4.180 sec., 299.66 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
- No. 5 Qualifier (4.025 sec., 314.90 mph)
- E1: DeJoria defeated by T. Pedregon – 8.822 sec., 80.36 mph to 4.261 sec., 247.66 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (826)
2. Tony Schumacher (824)
3. Richie Crampton (734)
4. Larry Dixon (699)
5. Spencer Massey (693)
6. Doug Kalitta (666)
7. Shawn Langdon (626)
8. Brittany Force (585)
9. J.R. Todd (563)
10. Clay Millican (511)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Matt Hagan (866)
2. Ron Capps (779)
3. John Force (713)
4. Del Worsham (704)
5. Jack Beckman (669)
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (643)
7. Cruz Pedregon (592)
8. Robert Hight (576)
9. Alexis DeJoria (574)
10. Tim Wilkerson (570)
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online –
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 Kalitta Air 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 Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.