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Kalitta Motorsports News

Team Kalitta looks to continue 2019 season success which includes two Top Fuel wins and recent Las Vegas Funny Car win by World Champion J.R. Todd.

Points Leader Doug Kalitta Wants First Four-Wide Win

Doug Kalitta is looking for another win in the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster at zMAX Dragway. The veteran driver has tasted victory at Bruton Smith’s palatial race track just north of Charlotte but it was a win against just one other competitor. In 2017 Kalitta won the Carolina Nationals during the Countdown but Kalitta is still on the hunt for his first four-wide nationals win.

“I really want to get that four-wide win,” said Kalitta. “It is a unique format and we have come close a couple times. We were in the final quad a few weeks ago in Las Vegas and I was runner-up at zMAX Dragway last year. I think we can get it done with a complete team effort. That is how we won the Winternationals and we are definitely moving in the right direction.”

Last year Kalitta was narrowly defeated in the final quad by Steve Torrence and had to settle for another runner-up finish. In 2010 at the inaugural Carolina Four-Wide Nationals Kalitta came up a few ticks short to Cory McClenathan. Since the inaugural race Kalitta has been in the mix in the final quad four times.

“We have gone rounds at the four-wide in Charlotte,” said Kalitta. “You really just want to be in that final quad because anything can happen. The crowds really seem to enjoy the four-wide racing so we want to put on a good show for them with this Mac Tools dragster.”

With a victory this weekend Kalitta would become just the fourth Top Fuel driver to pick up a win at the fall and spring national events at zMAX Dragway joining Steve Torrence, Antron Brown and Cory McClenathan. It is an exclusive club there is another group Kalitta is much more focused on; Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion.

As the current Top Fuel points leader Kalitta has been setting the pace for the category starting with a season opening win at the historic Winternationals. He has two additional semifinal finishes at the Gatornationals and at the most recent four-wide nationals in Las Vegas.

“Having the points lead early in the season doesn’t mean a lot other that you are having some early season success,” added Kalitta. “You want to build on that success and carry momentum into the Countdown. Right now we are focusing on each race one by one. The goal this weekend is to get three win lights on Sunday.”

2018 Charlotte Four-Wide Highlights: Qualified No. 6; Runner-Up; Beat Richie Crampton and Antron Brown; Beat Dom Lagana and Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence in final quad

Last Event Recap (2019 Houston SpringNationals): Qual. 8; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force 

Quotable:  On Racing Toyota dragster in Houston “It was great to fly the Toyota colors in Houston. We are going to visit with some Toyota folks before the Charlotte race as well. It is a great relationship and we definitely appreciate all the support from TRD the entire Kalitta racing operation receives. ”

Career Stats: 494 races, 45 wins, 52 Runner-ups, 49 No. 1 qualifiers and career round wins 662

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 7, WINNER; Beat Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence, Terry McMillen and Steve Torrence
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5, Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Jordan Vandergriff
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11, Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 7, Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman; Beat Steve Torrent and Richie Crampton; Lost to Mike Salinas and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 8, Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force

Noteworthy: Kalitta is looking for first four-wide national win

1915 04686 8248

J.R. Todd and DHL Team Racing for Another 2019 Four-Wide Nationals Win

For J.R. Todd the reigning Mello Yello NHRA Funny Car champion winning four-wide races has become a habit on the west coast. The two-time winner at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has yet to transfer that luck from the Bruton Smith owned track in Sin City to the original four-wide race track in Charlotte.

“We got another four-wide win a few weeks ago in Las Vegas and it was a complete team effort,” said Todd. “We won some rounds on hole-shots and then in the final we ran a 3.97 which was awesome to get the win. This DHL team is really clicking and we are ready to get to Charlotte.”

In his first Charlotte four-wide attempt behind the wheel of the DHL Funny Car in 2017 Todd raced to the third quad and settled for a semifinal finish. Last season Todd was ousted in the second quad.

The Funny Car winner’s circle at zMAX Dragway is the toughest Mello Yello Drag Racing Series club to break into. Only eight different Funny Car racers have hoisted a Wally at the famed “Bellagio of Drag Strips.”

“Charlotte is an awesome facility. You look at what Bruton and Marcus Smith have done there in the heart of NASCAR country and it is pretty amazing,” said Todd. “This class is tough when you look at how few Funny Car drivers have won at that track. I definitely want to add my name to that list this year.”

This season Todd has picked up a four-wide national win in Las Vegas and a runner-up finish at the Arizona Nationals. The third year Funny Car racer has steadily moved up to third in the Mello Yello point standings giving the reigning champ early season confidence coming into Zmax Dragway.

“I am having so much fun driving this DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. Just look at the numbers we are putting up. We are consistently qualifying in the top four and you will win a lot of rounds and races that way,” added Todd.

2018 Charlotte Four-Wide Highlights: Qualified No. 4; Advanced to second quad; Defeated Bob Tasca III and Shawn Langdon; Lost to John Force and Courtney Force.

Last Event Recap (2019 Houston SpringNationals): Qual 4; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight

Quotable: J.R. Todd on defending Funny Car championship: “It is just cool to see that No. 1 on the side of this DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. I look at it every time before I get strapped in. I want to keep that No. 1 on there for as long as I can. We are off to a good start but really you have to be ready in the Countdown. No one is going to give you the championship trophy after this race but you can definitely set yourself up for success in the Countdown with consistency now.”

Career Stats: 205 Races; 18 Wins; 13 Runner-ups; 10 No. 1 qualifiers; Career round wins 218; in Funny Car: 52 Races; 8 Wins, 4 Runner-ups, 1 No. 1 qualifier and 69 round wins  

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson Jr., Robert Hight, Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Jack Beckman
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell in first quad, Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in second quad and in the final quad beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson.
Houston: Qual No. 4; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Robert Hight

1915 04042 8245 

Shawn Langdon Focused on Four-WideVictory in Charlotte

Shawn Langdon is looking for more round wins at the Four-Wide Nationals this weekend at zMAX Dragway. The second year Funny Car driver is still getting a handle on what many racing experts consider the wildest racer car on the NHRA tour. The Top Fuel world champion is continuing to fine tune his technique behind the wheel and motor of these 10,000 horsepowered race cars.

“I have won rounds in the four-wide races when I was in a Top Fuel dragster,” said Langdon. “We are just looking for those first couple of four-wide round wins in the Funny Car. I love driving this Global Electronics Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car. You are really driving and you have your hands full for the full three seconds. There is nothing like the experience.”

While four-wide success over the past two years in the Funny Car class has been eluding Langdon, the veteran racer was the 2014 Top Fuel runner-up. The differences between the classes is not lost on Langdon.

“I talk to J.R. (Todd) a lot about driving these Toyota Camry Funny Cars,” said Langdon. “We both have a lot of the same experiences coming up from Jr Dragsters to Top Fuel to Funny Car. The biggest element for me has been fine tuning on my driving skills and being consistent in the cockpit. I want to be first off the line and really work to keep it right in the middle of the groove. Funny Cars are pretty unforgiving and if you get them out of the groove you are in trouble.”

So far this year Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry team have been in the hunt for his first Funny Car victory. Quarterfinal finishes at the historic Winternationals, the Arizona Nationals and most recently two weeks ago at the SpringNationals in Houston have Langdon excited about the team’s direction.

2018 Charlotte Four-Wide Highlights:  Qualified No. 12; Did not advance out of first quad; Lost to J.R. Todd and Jack Beckman

Last Event Recap (2019 Houston SpringNationals): Qual. No. 10; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Ron Capps

Quotable: Langdon on the addition of Del Worsham as co-crew chief: “The addition of Del is monumental for this team because what he brings to the table. He fully understands these cars and can help each individual crew guy to be better in their area. I think for me one of the huge plusses is the fact that Del is a championship driver…we speak that driver language to one another…he understands exactly what I’m saying and he can tell me how to improve.” 

Career Stats: 237 Races, 14 Wins, 16 Runner-ups, 18 No. 1 qualifiers, career round wins 266 (includes 19 Funny Car round wins)

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 7; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Tim Wilkseron and Jeff Diehl
Houston: Qual. No. 10; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Ron Capps

Noteworthy: Langdon is looking to become just the 17th racer to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

1915 02523 8229 

DHL and Richie Crampton Racing for Second 2019 Top Fuel Win in Charlotte

The DHL Top Fuel dragster and driver Richie Crampton are rolling into zMAX Dragway looking  for their second win of the season and the young Australian’s first four-wide victory. The Top Fuel racer has won rounds in the unique format even racing to the final quad in 2015 but the winner’s circle has been just outside of his grasp.

“The four-wide is a fun race. You have to be on your game,” said Crampton. “We are winning rounds but we just haven’t been able to get three win lights on Sunday. This DHL team is doing everything right and we just need to keep moving forward. We are starting to get into a groove and I think that will only make us a stronger team.

Two races ago in Las Vegas at the four-wide nationals Crampton raced to the second quad before being defeated by teammate Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force. An early exit last year in Charlotte isn’t going to affect Crampton.

“Last year we didn’t make it out of the first quad but that doesn’t matter at all this year,” said Crampton. “It is a brand new season and we have been going rounds. The key is to get good info on all four lanes throughout qualifying. We can take all that info and make great decisions on race day.”

The early season win at the Gatornationals has motivated the young driver to keep his focus. It was the second consecutive win at the historic race for Crampton.

“When you win a race like the Gatornationals it gives you a lot of confidence. When you do it two years in a row and especially the 50th anniversary that is a special win for sure. We don’t take any wins for granted and our goal is to keep getting better and win as many races as possible with this DHL dragster. The four-wide nationals this weekend is next on our list,” added Crampton.

2018 Charlotte Four-Wide Highlights: Qualified No. 14; Did not advance out of first quad; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Mike Salinas

Last Event Recap (2019 Houston SpringNationals):
 Qual No. 13; Lost to Clay Millican

Quotable: Crampton on media tour in advance of Charlotte: “When you get the chance to talk about NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing with the media in the middle of NASCAR country you have to take advantage of that opportunity. Our sport is so exciting. You have the fan access that is really like no other sport out there. The Four-Wide Nationals at night will also be amazing for the fans to see the header flames and hopefully some record times.” 

Career Stats: 108 races, 9 wins, 2 Runner-ups, 5 No. 1 qualifiers and career round wins 93

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6, Lost to Terry McMillen round one
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 15, Lost to Terry McMillen round one
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 12, WINNER, Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, TJ Zizzo and Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6, Beat Scott Palmer, Cameron Ferre; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual No. 13; Lost to Clay Millican

 Todd Improves In Point Standings after Houston Quarterfinal Finish

Race Recap: 

J.R. Todd, the defending SpringNationals champion, fell short of repeating today but knows he has a championship contending Funny Car. Looking for his second consecutive win of the season and back-to-back SpringNationals wins Todd squared off with journeyman Jim Campbell in the first round. Todd took a starting line advantage and never trailed in the race. His elapsed time of 3.930 seconds was the third quickest run of the opening session.

“I felt good this morning coming into the race,” said Todd. “That opening run was strong and I knew I had a race car. I love driving this DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car especially when it is putting up numbers like that 3.93 in the first round.”

In the second round facing two-time Funny Car champion Robert Hight Todd was giving up lane choice but the 18-time national event winner was undeterred.  It took the quickest elapsed time of the second round to end Todd’s bid to repeat in Houston. Todd was again the third quickest Funny Car of the session but it wasn’t enough to race to the semifinals. The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car lit up the scoreboard with a 3.940 second run but unfortunately Hight’s 3.914 second run was too much.

“Racing against Robert is always tough. I am really proud of my guys,” said Hight. “We moved up to third place in the points and I have a really good feeling about where we are as a team heading into the middle of the season. We put on a great show in Houston.”

J.R. Todd used an impressive effort in qualifying to move up to third place in the Mello Yello Funny Car point standings going into race day. The defending SpringNationals champion was second quickest in qualifying on Friday night picking up two bonus points and on Saturday the DHL Toyota Camry was the quickest Funny Car in session number three earning another three bonus points. In the final session Todd picked up one more bonus point as the third quickest Funny Car down the track. His final three elapsed times were an impress string of low 3.90s, a 3.903, a 3.916 and 3.914 seconds.

Quotable:
Todd on racing to the quarterfinals: "We had a great race weekend. This DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car was amazingly consistent. My crew had this race car dialed in. We made five consecutive passes in the low 3.90s and that is the kind of performance a team needs to win rounds. We are to the east coast and it will start to get hotter. We have a bad ass race car.”
 
Statistics:
Qualified: No. 4 (3.903 sec., 326.08 mph)
Bonus points: +6 total; +2 Q2 (3.903 sec), +3 Q3 (3.916 sec) and +1 Q4 (3.941 sec) 

Race Details:
 
First Round                                                                           
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH  
J.R. Todd                                 4                    .076       3.930     318.99
Jim Campbell                          13                  .133       8.381     71.17
 
Second Round
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH
J.R. Todd                                 4                    .073       3.940     318.62
Robert Hight                            5                    .052       3.914     314.75

Doug Kalitta sunday Houston 

Kalitta Continues To Lead Points After SpringNationals

Race Recap: 

Doug Kalitta was looking for his record-setting fourth SpringNationals win today at Houston Raceway Park. As the No. 8 qualifier Kalitta had a tough first round versus veteran driver Terry McMillen. Kalitta was riding a three race win streak over Terry McMillen this season. The Team Kalitta veteran driver has eliminated him in the semifinals of the Winternationals and the first round of the Gatornationals and Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals last week.

Kalitta’s streak continued on Sunday morning. Kalitta got the jump off the starting line in the Toyota Top Fuel Dragster and was blasting down the track aggressively pulling away from McMillen. As the Toyota dragster crossed the finish line the engine gave out and Kalitta’s race car trailed a sizeable fireball which the NHRA Safety Safari quickly extinguished.

In the second round Kalitta gave up lane choice to Brittany Force, the No. 1 qualifier. The veteran driver once again took a starting line reaction time advantage but it was not enough to hold off Force. The Toyota dragster made a nice smooth pass but it was not enough to advance to the semifinals. The veteran driver, and winner of the season opening Winternationals, will leave Houston as the Top Fuel Mello Yello Points leader, position he has held since his semifinal finish at the Gatornationals.

Quotable: 
Kalitta on racing the Toyota dragster: “The Toyota wrap on the car looked great and it was great to run it in Houston. We were hoping to get that fourth SpringNationals win,” said Kalitta, the Top Fuel point leader. “Toyota has been a great partner and it’s been a real bonus for our team technically having TRD out there with us. I’m a true believer that having TRD’s involvement was a big part in winning the Funny Car championship last year.”

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 8 (3.727 sec., 322.19 mph) 

Race Details: 
First Round                                                                           
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH  
Doug Kalitta                            8                    .049       3.768     313.44
Terry McMillen                        9                    .327       3.784     279.96
 
Second Round
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH  
Doug Kalitta                            8                    .073       3.744     320.36
Brittany Force                         1                    .083       3.678     323.74

Shawn Langdon

Langdon Races Into Top Ten With Quarterfinal Finish

Race Recap: 

For the third time in four races Shawn Langdon and the Global Technology Toyota Camry squared off with two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon in the first round. In Phoenix it was Langdon coming out on top but weeks later at the Gatornationals Pedregon advanced. Today Langdon and Pedregon were racing for a foothold in the Mello Yello Top Ten and Langdon powered his Toyota Camry Funny Car to a first round win. The sophomore Funny Car driver made his quickest run of the weekend a solid 3.994 second pass.

“That was a nice win,” said Langdon. “We have been racing Cruz a lot lately it seems and we wanted to get that win and spot in the Top Ten. It is still early in the season but you can’t afford to have a lot of first round losses. I think we’ll get some momentum from this for not just this race but for future races too.”

In the quarterfinals Langdon took a starting line advantage over the veteran driver Ron Capps. His lead was short lived and Langdon elapsed time slowed from the first round. While Langdon did not advance to the semifinals the up and coming Funny Car driver knows there is momentum driving his Toyota Camry team.

Quotable:

Langdon on quarterfinal finish: “What I liked about today was we made our best pass of the weekend during the first round of eliminations. We knew we needed to step up and we did. That shows what kind of character this Global Electronic Technology team has. We were the No. 10 qualifier and we took out a tough competitor.”

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 10 (3.948 sec., 319.14 mph) 

Race Details:

First Round                                                                           
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH  
Shawn Langdon                      10                  .064       3.994     316.23
Cruz Pedregon                        7                    .099       4.335     203.77
 
Second Round
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH   Finish
Shawn Langdon                      10                   .061       3.983     318.17
Ron Capps                               2                    .068       3.938     315.78

Richie Crampton sunday Houston

Crampton Exits Early But Holds Onto Top Fuel Top Ten

Race Recap: 

As the No. 13 qualifier Richie Crampton knew he would have a tough battle ahead of him at the NHRA SpringNationals. The most recent Gatornationals winner felt confident going into race day. In the first round the DHL dragster pulled up beside fellow championship contender Clay Millican, the two dragsters would be the second pair of race cars down a drastically cooler race track than the previous two days of qualifying.

Both dragsters launched hard and Millican began pulling away from Crampton before half-track. Crampton’s dragster began hazing the tires and then experienced a quick engine explosion followed by a quick flash of flames.

Crampton will hold onto his solid Top Ten position heading to the next race in Charlotte in two weeks.

Quotable: 
Crampton on first round: “We knew we had a tough first round and we gave it all we had. It started hazing the tires and then the engine let go. We have two weeks to get reading for Charlotte which is another four-wide race. We are holding tight in the top ten and the focus of this team is to keep racing hard and contend for the championship. ”

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 13 (3.780 sec., 320.81 mph)

Race Details: 


First Round                                                                           
Driver                                      Qual              R/T        ET         MPH
Richie Crampton                   13                  .066      5.644     90.35
Clay Millican                          4                   .065       3.765     316.60

Team Kalitta looks to continue 2019 season success which includes two Top Fuel wins and recent Las Vegas Funny Car win by World Champion J.R. Todd.

J.R. Todd Focused on Another Back-To-Back Victory Weekend in Houston 

J.R. Todd, the reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion, is hoping history will repeat itself heading into the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. Last year Todd picked up his first Four-Wide win in Las Vegas and followed it up with a win at the NHRA SpringNationals. He is halfway there coming in to the Lone Star State with a back-to-back win last weekend in Vegas and some positive momentum behind the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car.

“We struggled early this year with cold tracks and shaking the tires,” said Todd after the Vegas win. “I knew that it was eventually going to warm up and sure enough, it was hot and nasty in Las Vegas. That’s been an equalizer for us. We got the win and that 3.97 in the final was stout. We’ll see what we can do in Houston. I have a lot of confidence in (crew chiefs) Jon O (Obberhofer) and Todd (Smith) because if you give them enough shots at it, they’re going to figure it out.”

Todd is in select company at Houston Raceway Park as one of only two drivers to win at the famed Texas track in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Todd joined former driver and current Kalitta Racing crew chief Del Worsham on that list last year when he defeated Robert Hight in the Funny Car final. Todd picked up his lone Top Fuel win in Houston in 2007.

Last year Todd entered race day as the No. 10 qualifier but made quick work of the competition defeating Tommy Johnson Jr, Jeff Diehl, Tim Wilkerson and Hight for the win. It was Todd’s first win streak wheeling a Funny Car and showed the young driver what his team was capable of.

“We didn’t qualify that great last year at Houston but on race day we turned it around with some great numbers,” said Todd. “We stepped up in the first round and never looked back. The Vegas and Houston races last year really gave us some confidence that we carried all year. I want to keep that No. 1 on the side of this Toyota Camry so I am going to keep digging this weekend.”

2018 Houston Highlights:
 Qualified No. 10; WINNER; Beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jeff Diehl, Tim Wilkerson and Robert Hight

Last Event Recap (2019 Las Vegas Four-Wide): Qual 4: WINNER; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell in first quad, Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in second quad and in the final quad beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson.

Quotable: J.R. Todd on feeling more comfortable in a Funny Car: “I think I still have a lot of work to do in the car, especially when it comes to pedaling it and things like that. We came out and blew the tires off in the first round (in Las Vegas). I’m really hard on myself in keeping our DHL Toyota in the groove. Anytime it smokes the tires, I’m the first one to blame myself. It was spinning pretty good in the first round. I lifted and pedaled it, but I probably should have just run right through it. I pedaled it and it backfired the super charger. But it was good enough to hang on and turn on the win light and get us into the second round. That was our lucky break for the day. I robbed us there in the second round. The crew chiefs really had my back in the final round. That was awesome and a hell of a way to cap it off.”

Career Stats: 204 Races; 18 Wins; 13 Runner-ups; 10 No. 1 qualifiers; Career round wins 218; in Funny Car 51 Races; 8 wins, 4 Runner-ups, 1 No. 1 qualifier and 69 round wins  

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson Jr., Robert Hight, Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Jack Beckman
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Gary Densham and Jim Campbell in first quad, Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl in second quad and in the final quad beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Tim Wilkerson.

Noteworthy: Todd is looking for his second consecutive win at Houston Raceway Park; he is one of two drivers to win in Top Fuel and Funny Car at HRP (joins Del Worsham)

Doug Kalitta.jpg

Doug Kalitta Gunning For Fourth Houston Win

The winningest active Top Fuel racer in Houston Raceway Park history is looking for more success this weekend at the NHRA SpringNationals. Current Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta will be racing a new look, red and white Toyota dragster this weekend in Houston as he tries to take sole possession of the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel victories. Currently the veteran racer is tied at three wins apiece with NHRA legends Kenny Bernstein and Larry Dixon.

Kalitta opened the 2019 season in dominant fashion winning the NHRA Winternationals and since then he has picked up two additional semifinal finishes. The race day success has the top fuel pilot feeling confident coming into Houston.

“We are really hitting our stride I think,” said Kalitta. “I really wanted to get that first four-wide win last week but it just wasn’t in the cards. I am excited to be racing this Toyota dragster this weekend and I know we are going to give it our best shot.”

While the Kalitta dragster has been running consistently it has been the right foot of the Ypsilanti-based racer that has drawing the attention of his competitors. Kalitta advanced out of both the first two quads in the unique four-wide format in Las Vegas on hole shot wins. This season Kalitta won over half of his rounds of elimination on hole shots.

“I am just really trying to do my job on the starting line,” said Kalitta, when asked about his reaction time advantage. “You have to bring your best to the starting line. This category is so tough and there are a lot of good racers and dragsters racing now. You can’t take anything for granted or you will have a very short race day.”

Last year Kalitta rolled into race day as the No. 7 qualifier and unfortunately had to race teammate Richie Crampton in to opening round. He took the first round win but was upended in the quarterfinals by eventual event winner Brittany Force.

2018 Houston Highlights: Qualified No. 7; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Brittany Force

Last Event Recap (2019 Las Vegas Four-Wide): Qual. 7; Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman in first quad, beat Steve Torrence and Richie Crampton in second quad; in the final quad finished behind Mike Salinas and Brittany Force and ahead of Clay Millican 

Quotable:  “I am really looking forward to getting back to the race track. You want to start racing a few races in a row to get into a groove.  I feel really confident in the car and with my guys. I just can’t wait to get to Houston, especially in our new colors with Toyota. They've been such valuable partners with Team Kalitta and we'll do everything we can to make them proud.”

Noteworthy: Kalitta previously won at Houston Raceway Park in 2016, 2015 and 2003

Shawn Langdon.jpg 

Shawn Langdon Ready for Victory Lift Off in Houston

Shawn Langdon is continuing to improve behind the wheel of his Global Electronics Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car. The second year Funny Car driver has consistently led the category in reaction time and Langdon knows that his team is poised for a breakthrough. The multi-time world champion at a variety of NHRA competition levels is battling some of the fiercest competition in the Funny Car class. Adding world champion racer and crew chief Del Worsham as co-crew chief alongside Nicky Boninfante has shown early season positive results. Langdon is confident success is just few win lights away.

“I learn something every time they lower that Toyota Camry body on this Global Electronic Technology Funny Car,” said Langdon. “Adding Del to the team led by Nicky has been great and I feel like we are just about to turn the corner. The performance is coming around and I am working on doing my job on the starting line.”

Langdon was upended three races ago in the second round at Phoenix by eventual race winner Matt Hagan and last weekend at the NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Langdon was first off the starting line but lost traction in a tricky lane three. He narrowly missed getting to the stripe second which is all any team needed to advance at the four-wide.

Last year in Houston Langdon qualified No. 11 and squared off with Tim Wilkerson. He took a strong starting line advantage with a quicker reaction time but smoked the tires. He pedaled the Toyota Camry trying to chase down Wilkerson but the gap was a little too wide for the then rookie Funny Car driver.

“I am ready to get back to Houston. I am glad we are going to be back on the track just a few days after Las Vegas. Nicky and Del are working great together and I think we will be a great shape once we get to Houston Raceway Park,” added Langdon.

2018 Houston Highlights:  Qualified No. 11; Lost to Tim Wilkerson

Last Event Recap (2019 Las Vegas Four-Wide): Qual. No. 8; Lost Tim Wilkerson and Jeff Diehl 

Quotable: Langdon on the addition of Del Worsham as co-crew chief: “The addition of Del is monumental for this team because what he brings to the table. He fully understands these cars and can help each individual crew guy to be better in their area. I think for me one of the huge plusses is the fact that Del is a championship driver…we speak that driver language to one another…he understands exactly what I’m saying and he can tell me how to improve.” 

Career Stats: 236 Races, 14 Wins, 16 Runner-ups, 18 No. 1 qualifiers, Career round wins 265 (includes 18 Funny Car round wins)

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 7; Beat Cruz Pedregon; Lost to Matt Hagan
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Cruz Pedregon
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Tim Wilkseron and Jeff Diehl

Noteworthy: Langdon is looking to become just the 17th racer to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

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Richie Crampton and DHL Racing To Get Back To Winning Ways 

For nine-time Top Fuel winner Richie Crampton the start of the 2019 season has been a feast or famine situation. Two races ago the young driver from Australia captured the win at the historic Gatornationals and last weekend at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals he was unable to advance to the final quad wrapping up his race day with a quarterfinal finish.

“We got out of the first quad and in the second quad we were running with Doug and two other dragsters,” said Crampton. “Our goal was to get both Kalitta dragsters to the last quad but we just came up a bit short. The four-wide keeps you on your toes and I am looking forward to getting to Houston.”

Sitting in the No. 5 position in the Mello Yello point standings just over one round of racing from the No. 3 spot Crampton has a good feeling going into the SpringNationals. Last year Crampton qualified No. 10 and was matched up with teammate Doug Kalitta in the first round. Crampton knew he would need every advantage to take out his veteran teammate and unfortunately double-stepped the throttle for a red-light start. Crampton has put that behind him and is focusing on getting back into the winner’s circle.

““For sure heading to Houston for the first back-to-back races of the season is something I am looking forward to. It helps me as a driver staying in a rhythm. It has been a long two weeks since Gainesville. It is refreshing to think we will be back on the track in Houston in a couple days,” said Crampton.

2018 Houston Highlights: Qualified No. 10; Lost to Doug Kalitta

Last Event Recap (2019 Las Vegas Four-Wide): Qual No. 6: Beat Scott Palmer and Cameron Ferre in first quad; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force in second quad

Quotable: Crampton on heading to Houston: “The momentum of the last two races is big going into Houston. What you want to do is minimize those first round losses. We didn’t go all the way in Las Vegas but we didn’t lose in the first round which is key in maintaining our place within the top ten. More round wins equals more points. I have had mixed results at Houston. I know they have a new race track surface so we will just see how we do there.” 

Career Stats: 107 races, 9 wins, 2 Runner-ups, 5 No. 1 qualifiers and Career Round wins 93

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6, Lost to Terry McMillen round one
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 15, Lost to Terry McMillen round one
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 12, WINNER, Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, TJ Zizzo and Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6, Beat Scott Palmer, Cameron Ferre; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force

Kalitta Merchandise

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Funny Car Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

1 Robert Hight 481

2 Matt Hagan 366

3 J.R. Todd 341

4 John Force 339

5 Jack Beckman 332

6 Tommy Johnson Jr 315

7 Ron Capps 286

8 Tim Wilkerson 286

9 Bob Tasca III 250

10 Shawn Langdon 223

Top Fuel Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

1 Doug Kalitta 372

2 Brittany Force 349

3 Steve Torrence 343

4 Mike Salinas 320

5 Clay Millican 307

6 Leah Pritchett 303

7 Antron Brown 278

8 Billy Torrence 265

9 Richie Crampton 264

10 Terry McMillen 231

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