Englishtown, NJ (June 12, 2016) – Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, earned his fourth semi-final finish or better in Englishtown in four events with Kalitta Motorsports earlier today.
Worsham started qualifying strong. Coming off of a semi-final finish in Epping, the DHL Camry came off of the trailer on a bullet. His 3.931 second run was third best of the first session. That run eventually settled in the fourth position, but he had more performance to show on Saturday.
Co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante were on their game as they laid down the best run of the third session and the second-best of the fourth session to total six bonus points on the weekend.
The fourth starting spot meant Worsham would get the 13th qualifier, this week driven by Blake Alexander. Alexander was making his first start of the season. Worsham got Alexander on the tree, but both cars fell to tire smoke. Worsham pedaled repeatedly and was able to get by Alexander.
Next up, Tommy Johnson Jr., who eliminated Worsham just one week ago. Worsham was again ready at the tree, and Johnson Jr. fell to immediate tire smoke yielding the round win to Worsham, even though Worsham had problems down track.
The semi-final draw was Ron Capps, the Epping winner and the no.1 qualifier. He was the only driver to make it down the track in the quarter-final round, and was the only one to make it down the track this time as well. Worsham laid down the best light of the round, but tire smoke ended his day.
“Incredibly difficult conditions today,” said Worsham. “We wanted the win today for Scott and the team. However, my DHL guys are focused and I know that win is coming soon.”
Worsham holds on to the top five in the standings leaving the Summernationals.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, was impressive in qualifying yet again. He started his run early, achieving the second best run of the first session. However, as impressive as his first effort was, Kalitta’s Saturday put everyone on notice.
The Mac Tools team laid down a 3.808 second pass in the first session to lead everyone by several hundredths. But the Jim Oberhofer-led team was not done yet. In the final lap down the track, Kalitta recorded a 3.784 second run. That was the only 3.7-second pass down the track on Saturday and gave the Mac Tools team six bonus points with the best two passes of Saturday.
Even with that success, Kalitta did not get an easy opponent in the first round. Leah Pritchett, driving for Don Schumacher Racing this weekend, was his foe. They left the tree side-by-side, but then Kalitta steadily started pulling away from Pritchett earning the round win, his ninth first round win in ten events on the season.
Next up, the Mac Tools team lined up against the other full-time female in the Top Fuel class, Brittany Force. In a session that featured all-eight drivers falling to some kind of difficulty, Kalitta recorded an outstanding reaction time and had nearly seven hundredths on Force leaving the tree, but fell to almost immediate tire smoke. He did another incredible driving job, similar to his Topeka efforts, but it was for not as Force was able to get her machine to cooperate sooner leaving Kalitta with just his second quarterfinal finish of the season.
“Very tricky conditions out there as pretty much everyone struggled,” said Kalitta. “This is a track we wanted to win at, so to not get the win is disappointing. However, we have a quick turn with this Mac Tools team and I know we have a car to compete for the win in Bristol.”
Kalitta retains the Top Fuel points lead leaving Englishtown.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, did not see the performance the team was hoping for in the first three passes in qualifying.
After struggling with keeping the blower belt on for the entire run for several events, Todd saw passes he would like to forget on Friday and early Saturday. However, the last lap proved to be a good one. The SealMaster machine was ripping in the early numbers, but it just didn’t stay together in the end. The run was still good enough to be the second-best pass of the round, earning Todd two bonus points and a top half start in eighth.
When Todd rolled up as part of the seventh pair, the car that was sitting in the other lane belonged to good friend Richie Crampton. Crampton, who also struggled in qualifying, was the ninth seed. The race began and Todd was on a tear. He beat Crampton off of the line and recorded a 3.754. That was the best pass of the round by more than four hundredths and the best run of Top Fuel eliminations.
That win advanced Todd to the quarterfinals where he was lined up against no.1 qualifier Steve Torrence. Todd and Torrence were the last pair and Todd was ready. He tied his teammate Kalitta with the best reaction time of the race, an .038, and led Torrence early before both cars fell to tire smoke. Todd pedaled but was unable to get back around Torrence for the round win.
“Great way to start the day in the heat for the SealMaster Toyota guys,” said Todd. “After that, we thought we had something for them, but that session proved to be very tough for all of the teams. We will bounce back from this and make our way to Thunder Valley and hope to do better there.’
Todd moved up to the sixth place in the point standings.
Through ten events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns four wins, nine final round appearances and three no.1 qualifiers. The third stop on NHRA’s longest stretch run of the season takes us to Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol.
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 4 Qualifier (3.931 sec., 318.17 mph)
- E1: Worsham defeated Alexander – 4.621 sec., 250.74 mph to 4.760 sec., 208.84 MPH
- E2: Worsham defeated Johnson Jr. – 4.332 sec., 254.71 mph to 9.235 sec., 84.46 mph
- E3: Worsham defeated by Capps – 8.890 sec., 82.05 MPH to 3.960 sec., 314.68 mph
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 5 Qualifier (3.768 sec., 325.06 mph)
- E1: Kalitta defeated Pritchett – 3.801 sec., 321.96 mph to 3.846 sec., 317.05 mph
- E2: Kalitta defeated by B. Force – Foul (Center Lane) to 4.405 sec., 287.41 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 8 Qualifier (3.818 sec., 278.29 mph)
- E1: Todd defeated Crampton – 3.754 sec., 323.66 mph to 9.033 sec., 88.40 mph
- E2: Todd defeated by Torrence – 5.359 sec., 150.46 mph to 4.481 sec., 239.44 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Doug Kalitta (847)
2. Antron Brown (798)
3. Steve Torrence (762)
4. Brittany Force (698)
5. Tony Schumacher (597)
6. J.R. Todd (528)
7. Clay Millican (507)
8. Richie Crampton (483)
9. Shawn Langdon (478)
10. Leah Pritchett (377)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (758)
2. Jack Beckman (731)
3. Courtney Force (687)
4. Tim Wilkerson (660)
5. Del Worsham (639)
6. Matt Hagan (615)
7. Robert Hight (586)
8. John Force (581)
9. Tommy Johnson Jr. (558)
10. Alexis DeJoria (516)
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.