POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2017) – Doug Kalitta claimed the provisional no.1 qualifier for the Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway of Pomona earlier this evening.
Kalitta was the last pair in the Top Fuel class to see the track in his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. His Jim Oberhofer-tuned machine blazed down the track in a career-best 3.697 seconds at 325.69 mph to lead the stout Top Fuel field. Rainfall cancelled the second session of qualifying.
"After running that .69 in testing in this Mac Tools Toyota dragster, I can tell you I really wanted to come here and run it officially," said Kalitta. "We love coming here. The track is always maintained well. After our season-ending win last season, we hope to take this all the way and make it two straight."
This effort continues a strong run at Auto Club Raceway for Pomona for the Mac Tools driver. He was the only Top Fuel driver to earn final round appearances at both Pomona events last season. He has two career wins and six no.1 qualifiers at the facility, with his most recent no.1 qualifier coming in the the spring of 2014.
If the no.1 qualifier run sticks through the remainder of Saturday qualifying, it will be the second straight no.1 qualifer for Team Kalitta at Pomona. Kalitta's teammate, J.R. Todd, took the Top Fuel no.1 qualifer in the fall with a track-best 3.680 second run.
The entire Kalitta Motorsports fleet had a great start to the 2017 season. Kalitta's rookie Top Fuel teammate, Troy Coughlin Jr., had a solid 3.730 second pass to place fourth overall. In Funny Car, Alexis DeJoria earned one bonus point in the first session and ranks fourth. J.R. Todd's official Funny Car debut slotted him one spot behind his teammate in the fifth position.
The remainder of nitro qualifying will begin at 1:00pm local time tomorrow.
Kalitta makes plans for second straight Pomona win
Pomona Highlights: Two wins (Fall 2016, 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 Winternationals 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 finals.)
2016 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified second; Race Winner (Defeated Shawn Reed in the first round, Tony Schumacher in the quarter-finals, Shawn Langdon in the semi-finals and J.R. Todd in the final)
Quotable: “We had a great test with this Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel machine and Pomona was great to us last season! The Mac Tools team is really focused on making each race count and we cannot wait to get back to racing this weekend at historic Auto Club Raceway, especially after winning here last fall.”
Career Stats: 434 starts, 589 round wins (10th all-time), 42 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel), 87 finals, 47 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)
2016 Season Stats: Four wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka, Pomona-II); Four no.1 qualifiers (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk, Charlotte-II); Two finals (Pomona-I, Charlotte-II); 44 round wins; second in the final standings
Noteworthy: could become the ninth driver to hit 600 round wins this season; also will reach 1,000 career rounds competed early this year; uncle Connie Kalitta scored first NHRA win at the Winternationals in 1967
Rookie Coughlin Jr. desires solid debut
Noteworthy: First career pro event; a leading candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former Pro Stock champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.)
Quotable: “The test session was very valuable to me and the SealMaster Toyota guys as they worked so hard having this car ready 13 times in four days. It is such a learning curve from the seat that it is humbling in many ways. I cannot thank Connie (Kalitta), Rob (Flynn) and my SealMaster team enough for having patience with me. The car is so much faster and different than anything I have ever driven. We are as ready as we can be for Pomona. I am taking it one lap at a time as the learning never stops in the sport of drag racing.”
Career Info: Five national event wins (Three in Super Gas, Two in Super Comp); 2013 Division III Super Gas Champion; 2015 NHRA Pro Mod Rookie of the Year
Todd, former Winternationals champ, looks forward to new challenge
Pomona Highlights: One win (Spring 2007-TF); One final (Fall 2016-TF); One No.1 qualifiers (Fall 2016-TF); Auto Club Raceway Track Elapsed Time Record Holder (Top Fuel)
2016 Winternationals 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)
2016 Auto Club Finals Event Recap: Qualified first; Finalist (Defeated Troy Buff in the first round, Richie Crampton in the quarter-finals and Antron Brown in the semi-finals, lost to Doug Kalitta in the finals)
Quotable: “It was good to be able to get some full runs under my belt in this DHL Toyota. Each time it seemed like I was getting more and more comfortable but that just comes with time. Now it is time to go to Pomona and have some fun.”
Career Stats: 148 starts, 149 round wins, 9 wins, 19 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers
2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Three finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago); One no.1 qualifier (Pomona-II); 37 round wins; fourth in the finals standings
Noteworthy: Debut Funny Car event; Track record Top Fuel run was the fifth quickest in NHRA history (3.680); next round win will give Todd 150 round wins for career; attempting to become the 16th driver in NHRA history with a Top Fuel and Funny Car win; Todd Smith joins Jon Oberhofer as co-crew chiefs on the DHL Toyota Camry; DHL celebrating 10th year of NHRA sponsorship
(Doug Kalitta, Troy Coughlin Jr., J.R. Todd)
All photos are courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
DeJoria Pomona pre-race notes
2016 Winternationals Event Recap: Qualified fourth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated James Campbell in the first round, lost to Del Worsham in the quarter-finals)
Career Stats: 116 starts, 82 round wins, 4 wins, 7 finals, 4 no.1 qualifiers
2016 Season Stats: One win (Las Vegas-I); One semi-final (Bristol); One No. 1 qualifier (Charlotte-I); 13 round wins; 10th in the final standings
Noteworthy: Tommy DeLago is joined by Nicky Boninfante as co-crew chiefs on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car
For further requests on Alexis DeJoria, please contact:
Photo is courtesy of Gary Nastase.
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)