Worsham wins Championship, Auto Club Finals – Team Kalitta Post-Race Report – Pomona

POMONA, Calif. (November 15, 2015) – Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, is your 2015 NHRA Mello Yello World Champion and winner of the final race of the year: the Auto Club Finals.

He secured the championship by defeating Jack Beckman in the semi-final round of the Auto Club Finals. In a weekend with record-breaking runs, Worsham came out on top, earning Kalitta Motorsports their first Funny Car championship.

This championship makes Worsham the third driver to win a championship in Top Fuel and Funny Car, while delivering Kalitta Motorsports their first title since the late Scott Kalitta won in back-to-back years in 1994 and 1995 in the Top Fuel class.

This was Toyota’s first Funny Car championship since 2008 and only second overall; and with family and friends around, the championship win became very special for Worsham.

“It is an amazing feeling. I have been here before, not that did me any good up there,” said Worsham. “It felt like it was 25 years ago, and I was making my first run. The team has been behind me, regardless of the situation. We are racing for Scott, Connie and the entire Kalitta Motorsports family. My teammates, sponsors, DHL, Toyota, Red Line, thank you for your support. Nicky Boninfante, Jon Oberhofer, Dave Boyer and the entire DHL team, the job they have did has been incredible. They have not made a mistake since September.”

This team means so much to team owner Connie Kalitta, as it was driven by the late Scott Kalitta. “Everytime I get inside this DHL Toyota Camry I see his (Scott Kalitta’s) name. I hop in and think about Scott, and his sons: Colin and Corey,” said Worsham.

Worsham was stout throughout qualifying. He earned two bonus points and started third. The DHL team was able to pick up round wins over former champions Tony Pedregon and Robert Hight securing the crucial matchup in the semi-finals with Beckman.
The winner of the pairing would win the championship. Beckman and Worsham were the class of the field the entire Countdown and that followed in the Auto Club Finals.

They left side-by-side, but Beckman had to pedal, while the DHL Toyota Camry was true down the track. His 3.92 second run was more than enough to beat Beckman’s 4.088 giving the title to Worsham.

However, the DHL Yella Fellas did not settle. Worsham ran a 3.908 to defeat Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round to earn his fourth win on the season.

That completed what was a storybook season for Worsham and the entire DHL team.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, had another solid run in his new chassis. They were solid in qualifying, making it down the track each time. However, they never ran the big number forcing the Mac Tools team to start from the bottom half of the ladder.

However, Jim Oberhofer was ready for the challenge. In the top battle in the Top Fuel class in round one, Kalitta was able to steer his way past a tire smoking Tony Schumacher to gain a spot in points and begin his charge for the Auto Club Finals trophy.

The second round saw Kalitta earn another round win. He took on Billy Torrence, who was stout the whole weekend.The semi-finals did not go Kalitta’s way, but the excitement of Worsham’s win resonated throughout.

“I am so proud to be a part of Kalitta Motorsports,” said Kalitta. “This team rallied and was the one to beat throughout the Countdown. I could not be more proud to be the driver of this Mac Tools ride and I look forward to 2016.”

Kalitta ends the season in fifth in the standings.

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, had been solid throughout qualifying the past few races, but struggled at the Auto Club Finals. Her qualifying pass of 3.987 seconds was only under power for 900 feet. However, that pass stuck inside the top half and gave her lane choice over Courtney Force in first round.

In what has become the norm recently, DeJoria turned on a stellar light in the first round giving her the advantage over Force as they left the tree. It was a close race, but DeJoria won to earn her sixth countdown round win, which is a career best. Although she fell in second round, DeJoria was proud of her team’s efforts.

“Well, we did not get wins this season, but with that being said, I am still impressed with my team’s ability to still be in the top ten,” said DeJoria. “We only dropped one spot. We are sitting in eighth. I am proud of the progress that we have made with all the different changes that we have made to the car that changes the way that it drives. It has been a very long test session for me this year, but we went more rounds in the Countdown this year than last year. We have been in the threes a lot this year; we made three-second runs numerous times. That was really exciting for me. I am looking forward to next season. Thank you to all of my sponsors: Patrón, Toyota, Mac Tools, Red Line Oil, Kalitta Motorsports and everyone that supports this team on a day-to-day basis. I love you so much; thank you for everything. I’m so incredibly proud of the DHL team. They’ve worked so hard this year, and they deserve that championship. I am so incredibly proud of them.”

DeJoria finished the season in eighth in the standings.

J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster, hurt several parts in qualifying but was able to set solid elapsed times each time. Todd and his Optima Batteries team continued to improve with each session finally resetting his own career-best MPH in the final qualifying effort with a 331.61 MPH pass. His elapsed time, a 3.732 second run, placed Todd in the fourth position for the final race day of the year.

Todd’s first round opponent, Troy Buff, was extremely consistent in qualifying setting up an intriguing matchup in round one. Todd was once again stellar on the tree and his 3.778 second run was easily able to get the round win. Although the Optima Batteries team lost another engine in that session, the crew was able to get the machine ready for their second round opponent, Richie Crampton. Todd and team had another solid run, a 3.732, but it was not enough as Crampton was able to just get around him at the top end.

“We had better runs this weekend, but hurt a lot of parts,” said Todd. “We are going to go in the offseason and try to learn a ton and be prepared for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season. I could not be more proud to be a part of this team and cannot wait to celebrate with the DHL boys tonight.”

Todd completes his second season with Kalitta Motorsports in the ninth position in the standings.

After the completion of the 2015 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta is the Funny Car World Champions. Our nitro race cars won eight events, advanced to 14 final rounds and earned four no.1 qualifying positions.

Del Worsham Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 3 Qualifier (3.896 sec., 326.32 mph) ***NEW CAREER BEST ET***

E1: Worsham defeated T. Pedregon – 4.039 sec., 300.93 mph to 4.432 sec., 227.61 mph

E2: Worsham defeated Hight – 3.896 sec., 328.30 mph to 5.255 sec., 150.85 mph

E3: Worsham defeated Beckman – 3.928 sec., 327.35 mph to 4.088 sec., 324.83 mph

Final: Worsham defeated Johnson Jr. – 3.908 sec., 328.14 mph to 4.023 sec., 305.42 mph

Doug Kalitta Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 10 Qualifier (3.771 sec., 319.82 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Schumacher – 3.783 sec., 274.33 mph to 5.732 sec., 118.11 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated B. Torrence – 3.747 sec., 323.66 mph to 7.079 sec., 83.84 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Langdon – 3.774 sec., 322.73 mph to 3.786 sec., 317.94 mph

Alexis DeJoria Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:

No. 8 Qualifier (3.987 sec., 318.02 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated C. Force – 3.978 sec., 323.66 mph to 3.986 sec., 325.14 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated by Capps – 3.955 sec., 325.14 mph to 3.885 sec., 326.87 mph

J.R. Todd Driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster:

No. 4 Qualifier (3.732 sec., 331.61 mph) ***NEW CAREER BEST MPH***

E1: Todd defeated Buff – 3.778 sec., 329.91 mph to 3.845 sec., 311.92 mph

E2: Todd defeated by Crampton – 3.739 sec., 328.22 mph to 3.718 sec., 320.20 mph

Mello Yello Championship Points:

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Antron Brown (2692)
2. Tony Schumacher (2461)
3. Richie Crampton (2430)
4. Larry Dixon (2410)
5. Doug Kalitta (2388)
6. Shawn Langdon (2387)
7. Brittany Force (2363)
8. Steve Torrence (2342)
9. J.R. Todd (2307)
10. Dave Connolly (2303)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Del Worsham (2664)
2. Jack Beckman (2507)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2548)
4. Ron Capps (2490)
5. Matt Hagan (2418)
6. Robert Hight (2370)
7. John Force (2332)
8. Alexis DeJoria (2313)
9. Cruz Pedregon (2286)
10. Tim Wilkerson (2259)

Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:

For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online –

Website: www.teamkalitta.com
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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.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion, 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 Optima Batteries 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 Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster.

Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Optima Batteries, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.