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Kalitta Motorsports News

JR Monday


Todd wins Indy....again

Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team won their second straight U.S. Nationals today.

Todd was the dominate car throughout the race weekend. He started the weekend with a 3.910 second pass that put him in the position to earn his first career no.1 qualifier. He followed that up with several more solid passes, and led the pack with 12 bonus points. He would earn his first pole for the DHL/WIX Filters team and become the 19th driver in NHRA history to earn no.1 qualifiers in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

In the first round, Todd drew Jim Campbell. The DHL team, led by Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith, tuned Todd to a stellar 3.996 second pass, which was the second best pass of the entire round to defeat Campbell. 

However, Todd drew the only man who beat him in the second round, Robert Hight. Hight was on the tree, but had issues. Todd did as well, but the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota Camry hit the line first moving Todd back to the semifinals. 

In the semifinals, Todd faced Tommy Johnson Jr. Todd again moved first, and the tune up was on point once again, as the DHL/WIX Filters machine blazed down the track in 4.045 seconds, which was low of the round.

That took Todd back to the final, this time against Matt Hagan, and Todd would not be denied his second straight U.S. Nationals trophy. He took the lead by the time they passed the Christmas Tree and never looked back. Todd became just the sixth driver to score back-to-back wins at Indy and keeps his Indy record in a Funny Car to perfect. 

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 1 (3.910 sec., 325.42 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated Campbell - 3.996 sec., 315.42 mph to 4.234 sec., 259.71 mph

E2: Todd defeated Hight - 4.160 sec., 286.32 mph to 4.614 sec., 212.53 mph

E3: Todd defeated Johnson Jr. - 4.045 sec., 312.21 mph to 4.130 sec., 278.98 mph

E4: Todd defeated Hagan - 4.062 sec., 311.70 mph to 4.141 sec., 300.60 mph

Quotable: (Tell us about running the gauntlet on race day against Robert Hight, Tommy Johnson and Matt Hagan)
“I don’t know what it is about running against Robert. At Brainerd, he had a .020-something light and today he had an .019 light. Are you kidding me? He’s a bad dude on the starting line and those guys have the number one on the side of the car for a reason. I fully expected it to be a big-time match-up and the track just seemed to go away for everybody and we ended up blowing the tires off there. I expected him to go driving by any second. Then, I looked up and the win light was on and it surprised me. Tommy ran really well in testing last week. That team has definitely turned the corner the last couple of races. Then you never count out Matt Hagan and those guys. They’ve won championships and won this race before. I didn’t know what to think about the final round. To look up and see the win light come on, it was hard to believe. We were fortunate enough to keep it running down the middle all day for the most part. Hopefully that’s a good sign for us coming into the Countdown.”
 
(Have you ever had a car this dominant over an entire weekend with the pole, 12 bonus points in qualifying and the win?)
“I don’t think we had a dominant car. Tommy Johnson made some really good runs in the heat and Courtney Force made a really good run against us in Q4. In the back of my mind, I knew there were other teams that could go out there and out-run us. Robert Hight went 3.98 in the first round. I’m still kind of blown away on how the day turned out for us.”
 
(How does it feel to win a second U.S. Nationals title?)
“I’m just happy to get a win here. The Funny Car division is so tough out here. We came out really strong this spring, then really fell off in the summer. Before this race, we made some pretty big changes going into the Indy test - in some ways going back to the old ways of running the DHL Toyota Camry. It’s really got my confidence up as a driver. I was in a bad mood for about two months because we really weren’t doing so well. I’m really thankful to be able to come out and race for a living. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy throughout an entire weekend at a national event. From day one, I felt like we could come out here and win. In Brainerd, we ran really well in the semi-finals against Tommy Johnson and I felt like I let the team down by not doing my job on the starting line. So I went to the gym and worked on my reaction time and just got myself in the right frame of mind coming in to the U.S. Nationals. I think we’ve got the ball rolling in the right direction. We’re definitely not peaking. I think we’re on the rise. This gives us a lot of confidence heading into the Countdown. We know we can run with these guys now.” 
 
Point Standings: Fifth; leads with Jack Beckman by 10 points for sixth; trails Ron Capps by 10 points for fourth

Doug Monday 

Kalitta advances to the final

Race Recap: Doug Kalitta advanced to his third Indianapolis final today.

Qualifying did not yield any clean passes for the new look Mac Tools machine, but Kalitta was still able to earn a solid starting spot with a 3.824 second pass in Friday's evening run.

On raceday, the Mac Tools team was ready. With a tough first round draw of Leah Pritchett, Kalitta moved first and never looked back. Kalitta had a big boomer at the stripe, but he still had enough to score the round win. 

In the quarterfinals, Kalitta faced another Don Schumacher Racing machine in Antron Brown. Again, Kalitta's Mac Tools team didn't get to the line pretty, but he did get to the final first in 4.089 seconds, which was easily enough to defeat Brown.

In the semifinals, Kalitta's Mac Tools team were on point. With track temperatures nearing 130 degrees, Kalitta made a clean run, but more important he moved first. His reaction time advantage came into play and gave him the round win. 

It was Kalitta's third final round appearance in Indianapolis, and first since 2008. 

In the final, Kalitta drew Terry McMillen. Kalitta's Mac Tools ride got the jump at the starting line, but McMillen took the lead early. Kalitta nearly tracked him back down, but came up just short in the final.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 11 (3.824 sec., 305.77 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Pritchett - 3.888 sec., 273.44 mph to 5.580 sec., 125.12 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated Brown - 4.089 sec., 249.90 mph to 6.903 sec., 104.84 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated B. Torrence - 3.939 sec., 307.02 mph to 3.947 sec., 299.86 mph

Final: Kalitta defeated by McMillen - 4.067 sec., 303.57 mph to 4.037 sec., 300.66 mph

Quotable: “This is one I want very badly, so this is a bittersweet ending for this Mac Tools team. I am so proud of their effort and work this weekend; we almost had it."

Point Standings: Fifth; leads Antron Brown by one point for sixth; trails Leah Pritchett by 91 points for fourth

Shawn Monday 

Langdon clinches Countdown spot with solid U.S. Nationals performance

Race Recap: Shawn Langdon's Global Electronic Technology team had a great U.S. Nationals weekend in the special scheme honoring the Mongoose.

In qualifying, Langdon made several clean passes. His best came in the lone Friday night session, but Langdon's Global Electronic Technology team closed with three solid runs, scoring bonus points in each of them. That helped him gap the 11th spot by over two rounds going into raceday.

In the first round, Langdon faced Cruz Pedregon, who was fighting for his Countdown life. However, Pedregon suffered woes and did not move once the tree dropped. Langdon made the third-best run of the session and advanced to the second round.

In the quarterfinals, Langdon faced the upset-minded Bob Bode. He was away first, and led the entire way to move to another semifinal finish. That moved Langdon up the eighth seed in the Countdown. 

In the semifinals, Langdon drew Matt Hagan. Langdon again got the jump at the line in his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry, but Hagan was able to track him down and move to the finals.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 7 (3.961 sec., 325.22 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated Pedregon - 4.051 sec., 314.31 mph to 25.188 sec., 46.45 mph

E2: Langdon defeated Bode - 4.246 sec., 249.72 mph to 4.549 sec., 196.27 mph

E3: Langdon defeated by Hagan - 4.148 sec., 307.16 mph to 4.129 sec., 298.60 mph

Quotable: “The Global Electronic Technology Camry guys did a great job. I felt like I was driving good. We had a good car in qualifying.  Things were just kind of going our way, then bummer. Here again, four races in a row now, that we lose by a minimal amount – this time by ten one-thousandths of a second. Nothing to really hang our heads about. We were in a tough spot. We were hurrying as the round before we had a big fire and had to rewire a lot of things and put in a new motor. So we were in a big rush. We just went a little bit too conservative.  In hindsight, we should have run faster. But now we have a little more information moving forward. All in all, going to the semis at the U.S. Nationals is not a bad day.”

Point Standings: Eighth; leads John Force by 10 points for 10th; trails Tommy Johnson Jr. by 10 points for eighth

Richie Sunday


Crampton falls short of Countdown berth

Race Recap: Richie Crampton and the CRAFTSMAN team fell in the first round of the U.S. Nationals and missed the Countdown for the Championship cut.

Qualifying ended with the CRAFTSMAN driver's best qualifying pass, as a 3.840 second run clinched Crampton's spot in the stout U.S. Nationals field and gave Crampton two bonus points at his run at a Countdown berth. After a penalty for a competitor, Crampton entered raceday four points to the good.

However, in the first round versus Clay Millican, Crampton left first, but Millican pulled head. Crampton hit tire smoke and could not catch him. With Mike Salinas scoring the round win in the pair behind the CRAFTSMAN team, Crampton was eliminated from championship contention.

Statistics:
Qualified: No. 15 (3.840 sec., 320.74mph) 

E1: Crampton defeated by Millican - 4.486sec., 218.12 mph to 3.821 sec., 321.88 mph

Quotable: “We did not meet our goal for the weekend, which is disappointing. I am still very proud of my entire CRAFTSMAN team. We will go to these last six races, help Doug as much as we can and try to steal some wins."

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J.R. Todd, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car

Q1: 3.910 sec. at 325.45 MPH
Q2: 4.521 sec. at 192.03 MPH
Q3: 4.001 sec. at 315.49 MPH
Q4: 4.018 sec. at 316.15 MPH
Q5: 3.982 sec. at 319.07 MPH

Bonus Points: 12 pts. (Best of the first session, third best of the third session, third best of the fourth session, best of the final session)
Starting Position: 1st
First Round Matchup: Jim Campbell

Quotable: "“That run is a testament to the entire DHL Camry team. Three-second runs had been hard for us to come by till Brainerd where we were able to get it tuned up in the semi-finals for one. I was confident coming into the weekend after our test here last week. The car ran really well and we picked it right back up there in Friday night qualifying. We had a little hiccup in Q2 on Saturday and other than that we’ve been getting down the track and making some great runs. Now we’ve got some good notes for what we want to do tomorrow.”

Notes: Todd claims his first career Funny Car no.1 qualifier and 10th of his career. It is his first no.1 qualifier in Indianapolis. His last number one qualifier was his last race in Top Fuel, the World Finals in Pomona in 2016. He becomes the 19th driver in NHRA history with Top Fuel and Funny Car no.1 qualifiers, and the first to join the list since Del Worsham in 2011. 

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Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 3.824 sec. at 305.77 MPH
Q2: 5.649 sec. at 117.66 MPH
Q3: 7.749 sec. at 98.90 MPH
Q4: 5.617 sec. at 130.11 MPH
Q5: 4.167 sec. at 229.00 MPH

Starting Position: 11th
First Round Matchup: Tony Schumacher

Quotable: “We were looking for more in qualifying with this special look on the Mac Tools ride, but tomorrow is a new day and we will be ready."

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Richie Crampton, driver of the CRAFTSMAN Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 4.402 sec. at 183.72 MPH
Q2: 4.875 sec. at 150.53 MPH
Q3: 3.889 sec. at 317.42 MPH
Q4: 4.866 sec. at 150.87 MPH
Q5:
3.840 sec. at 320.74 MPH

Starting Position: 15th
First Round Matchup: Clay Millican

Quotable: "I am happy with that last run from the CRAFTSMAN team. We made a solid pass that will give us some data going into tomorrow." 

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Shawn Langdon, driver of the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car

Q1: 3.961 sec. at 325.22 MPH
Q2: 6.055 sec. at 112.18 MPH
Q3: 4.019 sec. at 316.60 MPH
Q4: 4.036 sec. at 316.75 MPH
Q5: 4.018 sec. at 316.45 MPH

Bonus Points: 6 pts. (Third best of the third session, second best of the fourth session, third best of the final session)
Starting Position: 7th
First Round Matchup: Cruz Pedregon

Quotable: "Qualifying was great. Really, really happy with this Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry. We made three good runs that earned us bonus points and we have some room in the tune up as well. I am really excited for tomorrow, and am really proud of my entire team."

JR Todd Friday Indy.jpg

INDIANAPOLIS (August 31, 2018) – Defending U.S. Nationals champion J.R. Todd earned his first provisional Funny Car no.1 qualifier at Indianapolis Raceway Park earlier this evening.

Todd's DHL/WIX Filters Toyota Camry blazed the track in 3.910 seconds at over 325mph to lead the pack of 18 Funny Cars after the first session of qualifying at the world's biggest drag race. 

"For us, three second runs have been hard to come by till Brainerd. We saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and then came here last week and tested and ran really well," said Todd. "The Friday night run is key. We want to put on a show for the fans, and with the weather it is very important. When I drove by the scoreboard and saw the 3.910, I was like holy crap. I am so proud of my DHL/WIX Filters Toyota YellaFellas. Looking at the run data, Todd and Jon O said we got all of it, so that feels really good."

This would be Todd's first no.1 qualifier of his Funny Car career and 10th overall. It would also be his first no.1 qualifier in Indianapolis. If it holds, Todd would become the 19th driver in NHRA history with no.1 qualifiers in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. 

Todd's Funny Car teammate, Shawn Langdon also made a solid run and is 5th in his special edition Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry. In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta's Mac Tools ride is 8th and Richie Crampton's CRAFTSMAN machine is 12th. 

Qualifying resumes with two runs tomorrow at 2pm and 5pm eastern standard time and is completed with two runs at 12:45pm and 4:30pm on Sunday.  

2018 Global Indy Mongoo$e car with family.jpg

In honor of Tom “Mongoose” McEwen’s storied career and epic 1978 U.S. Nationals funny car victory, Steve and Samantha Bryson, owners of Global Electronic Technology, wish to honor that special Labor Day for friends Pat Galvin and Bob Lueckenhoff who worked on the Mongoose team. Sporting the retro 78’ “Mongoose” livery to surprise former Crew Chief Galvin and crewmember Lueckenhoff, the Bryson family hopes fans remember the Mongoose and his team for one of the most exciting Indy wins in NHRA history."

Doug Kalitta Indy

Kalitta desires that first U.S. Nationals win

Indianapolis Highlights: Two finals (2008, 2004); Two no.1 qualifiers (2004, 2000)

Last Event Recap (NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qualified 12th; First round loss (Lost to Mike Salinas in the first round)

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Recap: Qualified fifth; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Richie Crampton in the first round, lost to Tony Schumacher in the quarterfinals)

Quotable: “I am ready for another shot at the U.S. Nationals. It is a great race with so many people in attendance. We would love nothing more than to put this Mac Tools ride in the winners circle.”

Career Stats: 475 starts; 647 round wins (ninth all-time); 44 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel); 94 finals; 49 no.1 qualifiers (tied 14th all-time)

2018 Season: One Win (Pomona-I); Four finals (Pomona I, Charlotte I, Richmond, Denver); 24 round wins; fifth in the standings

Noteworthy: Kalitta would hit 650 career round wins with a final round appearance

Richie crampton Indy.jpg

Crampton debuts new scheme and plans to score a Countdown berth

Indianapolis Highlights: One win (2014)

Last Event Recap (NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qualified 11th; First round loss (Lost to Brittany Force in the first round)

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Recap: Qualified 12th, First round loss (Lost to Doug Kalitta in the first round)

Quotable: “I am excited to represent CRAFTSMAN this weekend at the U.S. Nationals and for the rest of the season. We have a tough task ahead of us, but we control our own destiny. If we win, we are in the Countdown and that is exactly what we plan on doing.”

Career Stats: 95 starts; 86 round wins; Eight wins; 10 finals; Five no.1 qualifiers

2018 Season: One win (Gainesville); 11 round wins; 11th in the standings

Shawn Langdon Indy.jpg

Langdon looks to clinch Countdown berth

Indianapolis Highlights: One win (2013); One No. 1 Qualifier (2012); Super Gas in 2010

Last Event Recap (NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qualified sixth; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Bob Tasca in the first round, lost to Jack Beckman in the quarterfinals)

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Recap: Qualified ninth; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Brittany Force in the first round, lost to Kebin Kinsley in the quarterfinals)

Quotable: “We are very excited. Indianapolis is the biggest race and we have a lot on the line. We had a great test session last week. The car is running great and we really learned a lot of about our setup and advanced it. We feel really good going into Indianapolis about clinching our spot in the Countdown and winning the race.”

Career Stats: 222 starts; 259 round wins; 14 wins; 30 finals; 18 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 17 starts; 12 round wins)

2018 Season: 17 starts; 12 round wins; ninth in the standings

JR Todd Indy.jpg

Reigning U.S. Nationals champion Todd looks to go back-to-back

Indianapolis Highlights: One Win (2017 - Funny Car)

Last Event Recap (NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qualified eighth; Semifinalist (Defeated Bob Bode in the first round and Robert Hight in the quarterfinals, lost to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the semifinals)

2017 NHRA U.S. Nationals Recap: Qualified sixth; Race Winner (Defeated Brian Stewart in the first round, Cruz Pedregon in the quarterfinals, Tim Wilkerson in the semifinals and Ron Capps in the finals)

Quotable: “I am really excited with the way our DHL Toyota Camry performed last week in testing. That should give us good data heading into The Big Go where we are going to do our best to go out and repeat.”

Career Stats: 189 starts; 187 round wins; 13 wins; 23 finals; 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 41 starts; Four wins (2017: Sonoma, Indianapolis, 2018: Las Vegas-I, Houston); Five finals (2017: Charlotte-I, Sonoma, Indianapolis, 2018: Las Vegas-I, Houston); 38 round wins)

2018 Season: Two wins (Las Vegas-I, Houston); 20 round wins; sixth in the point standings 

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Mello Yello Championship Points

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Steve Torrence (2592)
2. Clay Millican (2423)
3. Tony Schumacher (2382)
4. Leah Pritchett (2297)
5. Antron Brown (2253)
6. Brittany Force (2243)
7. Mike Salinas (2228)
8. Doug Kalitta (2225)
9. Terry McMillen (2221)
10. Scott Palmer (2149)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Robert Hight (2445)
2. J.R. Todd (2434)
3. Ron Capps (2336)
4. Tim Wilkerson (2334)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2296)
6. Courtney Force (2264)
7. Matt Hagan (2241)
8. Jack Beckman (2229)
9. John Force (2204)
10. Shawn Langdon (2152)

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