Kalitta Motorsports News

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 18, 2013)— In what was their last opportunity to guarantee a spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout with a win at the 32nd annual NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team is now relying on their creative voting campaign to claim the ‘fan vote’ spot after a first round loss on Sunday.

After qualifying fourteenth on the Funny Car ladder, Patrón Toyota Camry driver Alexis DeJoria was matched up against No. 3 qualifier John Force in round one of eliminations. The two have squared off multiple times on race day, but adding interest to this particular matchup was the fact that Force and DeJoria had one of the more bizarre race day rounds at this very event last year. At the 2012 event, Force red lit but was still able to advance to round two after DeJoria pedaled her hot rod over the center line after not receiving the critical message that Force had jumped the gun, giving him a freebie. The determined driver was eager to settle the Brainerd score this year but unfortunately, her solid 4.164-seconds at 265.01-mph effort was not enough for Force’s run of 4.027.

“I was hoping we could change our luck from last year’s first round loss against Force here in Brainerd, but unfortunately, he ran a stout 4.02, and it just didn’t happen for us,” said DeJoria. “I’m pretty disappointed with my reaction time today- there’s no excuse for that. We’re going to be testing next week at Indy and the guys will be working hard to try and get those last little bit of gremlins out of the car. We were pretty consistent this weekend, which was good. Overall, the car is getting better and I’m working on improving my part too.”

“We’ll keep our heads held high, and get after it in Indy. In the meantime, I’m hoping we’ll be able to secure a spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout which occurs during the Indy race. The first seven spots are awarded to the first seven drivers to win a 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, and that eighth and final spot is determined by a fan vote. Voting starts tonight and I’m asking all of my fans to vote for Team Patrón and Team Kalitta. We’ve all been working so hard and we’d love a chance to have a shot at the Shootout. Kalitta Motorsports is going to debut a really awesome campaign video this evening, and I encourage everyone to visit our Facebook page and check it out.”

Alexis DeJoria: Driver of the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry


The Results:

Q1: 6.013 ET at 113.46 MPH

Q2: 4.145 ET at 303.78 MPH

Q3: 4.175 ET at 259.86 MPH

Q4: 4.167 ET at 286.44 MPH

The Competition:

No. 14 Alexis DeJoria vs. No. 3 John Force


Alexis DeJoria, Driver

“It was another interesting weekend of qualifying here in Brainerd. We made it down the track on three out of our four runs, which is awesome. We had some consistent passes, and we were on a great run in Q4 until we had a little tire spinning at the top end, but I drove through it and ran a 4.16. When it was all said and done, we ended up qualifying in the No. 14 spot with our 4.145 from Q2, which puts us against John Force in round one tomorrow.  It’s so fitting that we’re racing him in the first round, because we had each other in E1 last year and it was such a crazy round, to say the least.  He red lit but I didn’t know, so when my car got loose, I started to pedal and just kept pedaling and ended up skimming the center line. He ended up getting a freebie, but I can tell you right now, that’s not going to happen again tomorrow!” 

Tommy DeLago, Crew Chief

“We were on a good run in both Q3 and Q4 today. We ran well to the 330-foot mark and had good early numbers. The groove is really narrow out there in the left lane and she got one tire out of the groove in Q3 and couldn’t keep it in, so she shut it off to be safe. Then in Q4, we were on about the same run, but I’m pretty sure there was still some oil out there from Bob Bode’s fire because there were four cars, including us, that came loose in the same spot. There’s no reason that it should’ve come loose like that, even looking at the data. Tomorrow, we’ll just go after it, go hard, and try and haul butt against Force.”

BRAINERD, Minn., (Aug. 15, 2013) – Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports, entered eliminations at the previous event in Seattle in eighth place in Mello Yello Funny Car championship points, but in a season that the “flopper” class has seen some of the most competitive racing in NHRA history, Worsham and the DHL team left Seattle on the outside looking in to the top ten for the first time since April. This weekend at the annual running of the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int’l Raceway in Brainerd, Minn., Worsham is looking to leap back to where he feels his team rightfully belongs.

“Our DHL Toyota Camry has been great all season,” Worsham, a 43-year old resident of Chino Hills, Calif., said. “We stumbled a bit in Seattle, but everyone has a bad race sometimes. We’re not hanging our heads because we fell out of the top ten. Our DHL team is very resilient and we see this as a great challenge. We know we’re up to the task, and I’m excited about the next two races.”

Funny Car drivers now have only two events remaining to qualify for NHRA’s six-event “playoff”, the Countdown to the Championship, by being in the top ten in Mello Yello championship points when racing concludes at the famed U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Aug. 28-Sept. 2. Worsham is currently in 11th place, a mere three points away from the top ten.

Brainerd is one of only three tracks on the current NHRA national event schedule that Worsham has not been a finalist (Epping, N.H., Topeka, Kan.).

BRAINERD, Minn., (Aug. 16, 2013) – Native Australian David Grubnic, driver of the Optima Batteries/Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster for Kalitta Motorsports, has a hot 10,000-horsepower hot rod. He is confident that he and his team will continue to build on their winning momentum this weekend at the annual running of the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int’l Raceway in scenic Brainerd, Minn.

Grubnic and the Optima Batteries/Advance Auto Parts team are coming of a runner-up finish, their first final round of the season, at the previous event in Seattle. The team was the No. 2 qualifier in Seattle, and they were the No. 1 qualifier at the event prior to Seattle in Sonoma, Calif.

“We have a really quick race car right now,” Grubnic, a 51-year old resident of Bozeman, Mont., said. “My team has been busting their guts all year and their hard work is paying off. It’s very important that we continue our recent success this weekend in Brainerd. We are fighting tooth and nail to get a spot in the Countdown and every point counts. Hopefully we’ll keep our momentum going in the next two races and go into the Countdown on a hot streak.”

Doug Kalitta brainer BRAINERD, Minn., (Aug. 15, 2013) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the 10,000-horsepower “Big Red” Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster for Kalitta Motorsports, will celebrate his birthday Aug. 20, but blowing out candles on a cake is the furthest thing from the wily veterans mind as he and his Mac Tools team roll into Brainerd, Minn., this weekend for the annual running of the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int’l Raceway.

“It’s really just another day, but I’ll be happy to celebrate it with my family next week,” Kalitta, a 48-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. “Right now all that’s on my mind is getting a trophy in Brainerd. We’ve had some success with our Mac Tools dragster at BIR in the past, so I’m hoping we can relive some of that this weekend in the winner’s circle. Yeah, getting a Wally for my birthday would be a really great gift.”

Kalitta has a great track record in Brainerd. He won the event at BIR in 2005 and in 2003. He was the runner-up finisher in 2000. He has been the No. 1 qualifier in the Land of 10,000 Lakes three times (2010, 2004 and 2002).

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (August 13, 2013)— Despite one final and four semi-final round appearances for the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car team throughout their high-profile career, a visit to the coveted Winner’s Circle has continued to elude the Ypsilanti, Mich. based team, now in their sophomore season.

With just eight events left in the 24-race season, Team Patrón has their sights set on one major goal- win a national event. The team has experienced their share of ups and downs throughout the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season, but recent changes to the car has the team feeling optimistic that the chance to pick up their first Wally will happen soon.

That next chance could be this weekend at 32nd annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Following the grueling Western Swing, the black-and-green team had a weekend off from racing to regroup, refocus and prepare for the ever-popular event, which draws legions of loyal fans to the area.

“The Western Swing didn’t exactly play out the way we were hoping it would,” said DeJoria, an Austin, Texas transplant. “That first round loss in Seattle set us back and was definitely disappointing, especially coming off of our visit to the semis in Sonoma. Thankfully, we were able to make progress with our new chassis over that three race stretch.”

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Mello Yello Championship Points

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Steve Torrence (183)
2. Doug Kalitta (144)
3. Tony Schumacher (140)
4. Scott Palmer (139)
5. Antron Brown (133)
6. Clay Millican (122)
7. Leah Pritchett (90)
8. Brittany Force (86)
9. Billy Torrence (71)
10. Greg Carrillo (66)
15. Richie Crampton (51)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Matt Hagan (179)
2. Courtney Force (160)
3. Ron Capps (139)
4. Robert Hight (133)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr.  (128)
6. Jack Beckman (122)
7. Jonnie Lindberg (107)
8. Shawn Langdon (104)
9. John Force (95)
10. J.R. Todd (83)