Epping, NH (June 6, 2016) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, and Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car led the Kalitta Motorsports campaign at the rain-delayed New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.
Kalitta returned to New Hampshire on a certified hot streak. Three straight wins gave Kalitta the strongest run of stretch in his career and he was not looking for a reprieve.
Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster did not have the qualifying effort that he has been accustomed to as he missed the top two spots for just the third time this season. However, Kalitta did earn a top half starting spot, as he has achieved every this season, with his 3.767 second pass that slotted him in sixth.
Kalitta’s first opponent was Terry McMillen, who is looking to finish among the top ten for the first time for his career. McMillen’s run was done early as he fell to early tire smoke yielding the 13th consecutive round win to Kalitta’s Mac Tools ride, who drove to a class-best 3.749 second pass at a track record 329.26 MPH.
Next up, another upset-minded driver: Todd Paton. Paton, who earned his first Top Fuel round win ever over Brittany Force, delivered a clean pass but was unable to compete with Kalitta’s horsepower to deliver the Mac Tools team to their seventh semi-final in just nine 2016 NHRA events.
A rematch of the Topeka semi was next up as Kalitta faced Steve Torrence. The Mac Tools driver picked up two hundredths on the starting line, but was defeated for the first time since Charlotte when the Mac Tools ride fell to early tire smoke.
“When you are on such a high you never want to slow down,” said Kalitta, who retains the Top Fuel points lead. “I am so proud of these Mac Tools guys. We will see if we can start another streak next weekend.”
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, returned to Epping as one of just three Funny Car drivers to earn round wins in every Epping event, but he was not looking for a couple round wins; Worsham wanted his first Epping victory.
The weekend started strong for the DHL Camry. The Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante-led team guided Worsham to three consecutive sub 4.0 second passes, including his 3.909 best, to slot Worsham amongst the top half qualifiers for the eighth event of the season.
However, Worsham earned a first round draw that he much prefers to have in the final, his teammate: Alexis DeJoria. Worsham and DeJoria were the seventh Funny Car pair to see the track and Worsham earned the win by time he crossed the Christmas Tree as DeJoria’s light turned red.
Next up, Worsham’s road was not getting any easier as he lined up against former two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the second round. Worsham knew the challenge ahead and the DHL ‘Yella Fellas’ were prepared as well as Worsham drove right past Hagan’s tire-smoking machine with a solid 3.969 second run.
Another DSR foe was the semi-final draw, as Worsham came up against Tommy Johnson Jr. Worsham beat him off the line, but Johnson Jr. was able to get to the finish line first defeating the reigning champion.
“Definitely wanted to pick up that win today,” said Worsham. “My guys are working hard and have what it takes to win. We will buckle down, go to the Summer Nats here in a couple days and try to get the job done there.”
Worsham moved up to sixth in the point standings.
J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, started the four race NHRA swing on an up note in qualifying. Todd was solid off of the trailer running a 3.781 second pass at nearly 329 MPH. The SealMaster team made it down the track three laps out of four, only missing on the Friday evening session, which featured tricky track conditions.
In the last qualifying session, Todd was able to best his time and lay down a 3.779, tying Shawn Langdon for the 7th position. The tiebreaker in qualifying is MPH and that gave the edge to Langdon. In the unique 13-car Top Fuel ladder, that also gave him lane choice over the SealMaster driver.
The first pair to see the track after Sunday’s rainout, Todd delivered a solid .058 reaction time and 3.788 elapsed time. However, Langdon was just a tick better on the track to end Todd’s day minutes after the race began. In a round full of tire-smoking passes, Todd ended up being the only driver that made a full pass in the first round that suffered defeat. It was Todd’s first back-to-back opening round loss of the season.
“It is tough to lose so early on into the race especially on a solid run,” said Todd. “However, we run again in four days and I am excited to get back in the seat of this SealMaster Toyota machine. We plan on qualifying better, so we don’t have to face these type of pairings in the first round.”
Todd slips to seventh in the standings, just two points out of the sixth place in the standings.
Through nine 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 NHRA’s next stop takes to tour to Englishtown, New Jersey for the NHRA Summernationals.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster: No. 6 Qualifier (3.767 sec., 326.71 mph)
- E1: Kalitta defeated McMillen – 3.749 sec., 329.26 mph to 6.453 sec., 106.39 mph **TRACK RECORD MPH**
- E2: Kalitta defeated Paton – 3.817 sec., 326.71 mph to 3.911 sec., 283.25 mph
- E3: Kalitta defeated by Torrence – 4.570 sec., 202.97 mph to 3.796 sec., 313.29 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car: No. 7 Qualifier (3.909 sec., 324.90 mph)
- E1: Worsham defeated DeJoria – 3.951 sec., 328.30 mph to Foul
- E2: Worsham defeated Hagan – 3.969 sec., 324.75 mph to 4.930 sec., 158.69 mph
- E3: Worsham defeated by Johnson Jr. – 3.954 sec., 323.48 MPH to 3.926 sec., 323.89 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster: No. 7 Qualifier (3.779 sec., 312.35 mph)
- E1: Todd defeated by Langdon – 3.788 sec., 306.05 mph to 3.751 sec., 324.51 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Doug Kalitta (785)
2. Antron Brown (739)
3. Steve Torrence (658)
4. Brittany Force (623)
5. Tony Schumacher (483)
6. Clay Millican (475)
7. J.R. Todd (473)
8. Richie Crampton (450)
9. Shawn Langdon (399)
10. Leah Pritchett (360)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Courtney Force (654)
2. Jack Beckman (639)
3. Ron Capps (632)
4. Tim Wilkerson (608)
5. Matt Hagan (571)
6. Del Worsham (558)
7. Robert Hight (545) |
8. John Force (527)
9. Tommy Johnson Jr. (503)
10. Alexis DeJoria (483)
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.