Kalitta desires gain in final standings
Pomona Highlights: One win (Spring 2009); Six finals (Spring 2016, Spring 2014, Fall 2013, Spring 2010, Spring 2004, Fall 1999); Six no.1 qualifiers (Spring 2014, Fall 2006, Fall 2004, Spring 2004, Spring 2003, Spring 2001)
2016 Spring Pomona Event Recap: Qualified second; Finalist (Defeated Scott Palmer in the first round, Antron Brown in the quarter-finals, J.R. Todd in the semi-finals, lost to Steve Torrence in the final)
2015 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified 10th; Semi-Finalist (Defeated Tony Schumacher in the first round and Billy Torrence in the quarter-finals, lost to Shawn Langdon in the semi-finals)
Previous Event Recap (Las Vegas): Qualified third; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Scott Palmer in the first round, lost to Steve Torrence in the quarter-finals)
Quotable: "Although we did not get the ultimate trophy this season, the Mac Tools team still has a goal of finishing strong. We are less than one round out of second in the standings and we would like to get that spot this weekend in Pomona."
Career Stats: 433 starts, 585 round wins (11th all-time), 41 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel), 86 finals, 47 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)
Countdown Stats: Ninth appearance (Kalitta has appeared in every Countdown for the Championship); 53 overall Countdown starts; 2 wins; 2 No. 1 qualifiers; 47 total Countdown round wins
2016 Season Stats: Three wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka); Four No.1 qualifiers (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk, Charlotte-II); Two finals (Pomona-I, Charlotte-II); 40 round wins
Point Standings: Third (-168); trails second-place Steve Torrence by 11 points, leads fourth-place Brittany Force by 47 points
Noteworthy: has won his first round pairing in 20 of 23 events this season; more round wins than season round win total from 2015; clinched his 19th consecutive top ten finish; only driver that has ranked among the top three in the point standings after every race this season
Todd looks for first Auto Club Finals crown
Pomona Highlights: One win (Spring 2007)
2016 Spring Pomona Event Recap: Qualified 11th; Semi-finalist (Defeated Brittany Force in the first round and Terry McMillen in the quarter-finals, lost to Doug Kalitta in the semi-finals)
2015 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified fourth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Troy Buff in the first round, lost to Richie Crampton in the quarter-finals)
Previous Event Recap (Las Vegas): Qualified ninth; Finalist (Defeated Shawn Langdon in the first round, Clay Millican in the quarter-finals, Antron Brown in the semi-finals, lost to Steve Torrence in the final)
Quotable: "Pomona is one of my favorite tracks on the tour. There's always a different feeling when you pull in the gates there because that's where we start and finish the season. That place packs a lot of history. Finishing off the 2016 season with a win with this SealMaster Toyota team will for sure help the winter go by easier back here in Indy and Ypsilanti. It's good to keep everybody's morale up going into the offseason and what better way than to win and we definitely have a car right now that is capable."
Career Stats: 147 starts, 146 round wins, 9 wins, 18 finals, 8 No.1 qualifiers
Countdown Stats: Fourth appearance; third consecutive appearance; 23 Countdown starts; 4 finals; 4 No. 1 qualifiers; 27 total Countdown round wins
2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Four finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago, Las Vegas-II); 34 round wins
Point Standings: Sixth (-229); trails fifth-place Shawn Langdon by 13 points, leads seventh-place Leah Pritchett by 18 points
Noteworthy: Currently has 34 round wins, which is a career-high (previous high was 25; earned 20 round wins in 2015); nine semi-finals or better in the last 12 races; five final round appearances are a career-high.
After recent Pomona success, Worsham makes plans for strong season finale
Pomona Highlights: Four wins (Fall 2015-FC, Fall 2011-TF, Fall 2003-FC, Fall 2001-FC); Four finals (Spring 2016-FC, Fall 2004-FC, Fall 2002-FC, Spring 1993-FC)
2016 Spring Pomona Event Recap: Qualified fifth; Finalist (Defeated Cruz Pedregon in the first round, Alexis DeJoria in the quarter-finals and John Force in the semi-finals, lost to Ron Capps in the final)
2015 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified third; Race Winner (Defeated Tony Pedregon in the first round, Robert Hight in the quarter-finals, Jack Beckman in the semi-finals and Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final)
Previous Event Recap (Las Vegas): Qualified seventh; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round, lost to Matt Hagan in the quarter-finals)
Quotable: "Auto Club Raceway has been very good to the DHL Toyota team recently, so we are focused on finishing the season strong. It has been a solid season, but we would love to get another win to end the year."
Career Stats: 506 starts, 558 round wins, 39 wins (31 in Funny Car, 8 in Top Fuel), 66 finals (55 in Funny Car, 11 in Top Fuel), 20 No.1 qualifiers (13 in Funny Car, 7 in Top Fuel)
Countdown Stats: Seventh appearance (6 in Funny Car, 1 in Top Fuel); Fourth consecutive appearance; 41 overall Countdown starts; eight wins (6 FC, 2 TF); 3 No.1 qualifiers (1 FC, 2 TF); 62 total Countdown round wins (49 FC, 13 TF)
2016 Season Stats: One win (Brainerd); Four finals (Pomona-I, Las Vegas-I, Seattle, Indianapolis); Three No. 1 qualifiers (Norwalk, Sonoma, Seattle); 36 round wins
Point Standings: Sixth (-173); trails fifth-place John Force by 14 points, leads seventh-place Courtney Force by 39 points
Noteworthy: Seven semi-finals or better in the last ten events; 2015 Funny Car Champion, 2011 Top Fuel Champion; one of three drivers with championships in both nitro classes; second in the Funny Car class with 19 first round wins this season; Owns a Top Fuel and Funny Car win at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Arend Pomona pre-race notes
2015 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified 16th; First round defeat (Lost to Ron Capps in the first round)
Previous Event Recap (Las Vegas): Qualified 16th; First round defeat (Lost to Jack Beckman in the first round)
Career Stats: 215 starts, 95 round wins, 4 wins, 9 finals, 2 No.1 qualifiers
Note: Jeff Arend will be substituting for regular Team Patrón driver Alexis DeJoria who is recovering from a racing-related concussion suffered at the NHRA's most recent event in Las Vegas.
Lee Pomona pre-race notes
2015 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified 13th; First round defeat (Lost to Matt Hagan in the first round)
Previous Event Recap (Las Vegas): Qualified 13th; First round defeat (Lost to Ron Capps in the first round)
Career Stats: 54 starts, 13 round wins
Noteworthy: Lee reset his career-best elapsed time (3.965) and MPH (329.34) in Las Vegas.
Todd reaches season-high fifth final round
Race Recap: Todd and the SealMaster team waited to the last pass on Saturday to set their spot in the field as the Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn-tuned dragster blazed the Las Vegas Motor Speedway surface with a 3.751 second pass. Todd just missed the top half of the field and earned the ninth starting spot.
Todd and his opponent, Shawn Langdon, were first the pair to hit the track after pre-race ceremonies. Team SealMaster was ready as Todd drove straight down the track with a number that nearly equaled his qualifying pass defeating the tire-smoking Langdon. However, Todd and the SealMaster guys were not done. Against no.1 qualifer, Clay Millican, the SealMaster Toyota dragster went 1,000 feet in 3.709 seconds, setting low elapsed time of race day and earning Todd his third semi-final or better in the last four events, and ninth in the last 12 races.
Todd was not done. Taking on the new Top Fuel champion Antron Brown, Todd again laid down the best run of the session aboard his SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, achieving a new career-high with five final round appearances this season. However, a second victory this season was not in the cards as Todd's opponent, Steve Torrence, defeated him in a close race.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.751 sec., 321.81 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Langdon - 3.752 sec., 324.12 mph to 10.405 sec., 82.67 mph
E2: Todd defeated Millican - 3.709 sec., 328.94 mph to 3.727 sec., 328.38 mph
E3: Todd defeated Brown - 3.719 sec., 329.02 mph to 7.720 sec., 92.29 mph
Final: Todd defeated by Torrence - 3.762 sec., 321.96 mph to 3.734 sec., 323.81 mph
Quotable: "Tough way to end a strong day for the SealMaster Toyota team. We wanted to pick up the win with all of these great Toyota people on site, but it was not our day. Look forward to Pomona and hopefully ending this season on a strong note."
Point Standings: Sixth (-244); trails fifth-place Shawn Langdon by 13 points, leads seventh-place Leah Pritchett by 18 points
Worsham has tough defeat in the second round
Race Recap: At Toyota's race, Worsham and the DHL Toyota team came into Las Vegas motivated to run strong. The earned their spot in a stellar Funny Car field with their sub-3.9 second run in the evening session on Friday night and started seventh overall.
Worsham would draw a fellow Championship competitor in the first round in Tommy Johnson Jr. All the eyes were on this pair as they were the only top five matchup in round one. Worsham and Johnson Jr. left together but the DHL Toyota driver steadily pulled away to end Johnson Jr.'s day. Unfortunately, Worsham did not get the win he desired as went out in the second round despite recording an outstanding .041 reaction time, which was the best-of-class that session.
Qualified: No. 7 (3.895 sec., 325.69 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Johnson Jr. - 3.923 sec., 327.35 mph to 3.949 sec., 321.65 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by Hagan - 3.935 sec., 326.71 mph to 3.887 sec., 329.02 mph
Quotable: "Definitely wanted to go further than the second round today at Toyota's race in the DHL Toyota Camry, but just got beat on a better run. Excited to finish the season strong, so we will head to Pomona and look to repeat last year's success."
Point Standings: Sixth (-173); trails with fifth-place John Force by 14 points, leads seventh-place Courtney Force by 39 points
Kalitta loses close race in quarter-finals
Race Recap: Defending Toyota Nationals champion Doug Kalitta was motivated for a repeat. His Mac Tools team performed amongst the best on Friday qualifying with three bonus points, and after the completion of qualifying Kalitta was scored in the third starting position.
The Mac Tools Toyota driver ended up earning a single in the first round as his opponent, Scott Palmer, lost fire. Kalitta ended up dropping a clyinder at the early part of the run and were scored with a 3.976 second pass. That moved Kalitta to the second round and a draw of Steve Torrence. The Mac Tools dragster moved first but Torrence was just able to track him down to end Kalitta's chance at a repeat.
Qualified: No. 3 (3.709 sec., 324.20 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated Palmer - 3.976 sec., 251.77 mph to no run
E2: Kalitta defeated by Torrence - 3.739 sec., 324.75 mph to 3.732 sec., 324.83 mph
Quotable: "Great race there with Steve that just did not go our way. The Mac Tools team performed strong all weekend and I look forward to ending the season strong in Pomona."
Point Standings: Third (-168); trails second-place Steve Torrence by 168 points, leads fourth-place Brittany Force by 47 points
(Doug Kalitta, Del Worsham, J.R. Todd)
All photos are courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
Team Patrón elects to sit out final eliminations
Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team did not compete at the 16th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, Sunday, October 30.
The team elected not to participate in Sunday's elimination rounds and will focus their efforts on regrouping for the 52nd Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, November 11-13.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.909 sec., 326.32 mph)
Point Standings: 10th (-362); trails ninth-place Tim Wilkerson by 78 points
For further requests for Alexis DeJoria, please contact:
Photo is courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
Lee hits career-best numbers in Vegas
Race Recap: Paul Lee's long-awaited Kalitta Motorsports debut saw many highs in Las Vegas. He clinched his spot in the fastest qualified field in NHRA history with a career-best pass in the second round of qualifying and earned a career-best MPH on Saturday morning. Qualified 13th in the field, Lee drew points leader Ron Capps. Lee and Capps left together, but Capps picked up the round win. In the defeat, Lee reset his career-bests again with his 3.965 at 329.34 MPH pass.
Qualified: No. 13 (3.986 sec., 312.13 mph)
E1: Lee defeated by R. Capps - 3.965 sec., 329.34 mph to 3.916 sec., 323.66 mph
For further requests for Paul Lee, please contact:
Photo is courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Leah Pritchett (122)
2. Doug Kalitta (105)
3. Antron Brown (79)
4. Tony Schumacher (70)
5. Brittany Force (57)
6. Troy Coughlin Jr. (54)
7. Steve Torrence (53)
8. Terry McMillen (48)
9. Shawn Reed (32)
9. Scott Palmer (32)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Matt Hagan (119)
2. Courtney Force (99)
3. John Force (80)
4. Ron Capps (77)
5. Jack Beckman (53)
6. J.R. Todd (52)
6. Del Worsham (52)
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (52)
9. Robert Hight (36)
10. Alexis DeJoria (35)