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Kalitta Motorsports News

DHL and J.R. Todd Runner-Up in Virginia

For the ninth time in fifteen races J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car raced to a final round. This season Todd has raced in three finals with a big win at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals and today the reigning Funny Car world champion just missed another winner’s circle. After blasting past three competitors including teammate Shawn Langdon, Todd overpowered the track for a still to be determined reason in the final.

“We are still going over the run,” said Todd. “We are not exactly sure what happened. There is really no excuse because the guy next to us when down the track. It is definitely not the way we wanted to end the day.”

As the No. 4 qualifier Todd was poised to pick up his tenth Funny Car career win. In the first round the DHL Funny Car led every segment of the race from starting line to finish line. Todd was first off the line with a .060 reaction time and his winning elapsed time of 4.074 seconds was enough to outrun his opponent’s 4.086.

In the second round against Team Kalitta teammate Shawn Langdon it was the best race of the session. Both Camrys took off and made clean runs down the track. It was a very close race at the finish line stripe with Todd getting the win 4.044 seconds to 4.081 seconds. The semifinals saw more of the same from the DHL Camry as it posted another 4.04 second run on the way to the final round.

The final round was anti-climactic as the race was over less than a second after Todd hit the throttle. The DHL Toyota Camry lost power almost immediately and the 2018 Funny Car champ was forced to ride it out until it rolled to a stop about 200 feet short of the finish line.

“It was still a good weekend for us,” said Todd. “We moved up in the points. I think we have a good hot track tune-up which is encouraging. It is not going to get any cooler.”

Over the coming weeks Todd has a lot of confidence in his team as the temperatures will begin heating up. The competition will continue to be fierce but track conditions could be a great equalizer. The success of his crew chief combination, Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith, has shown the DHL Funny Car will be a tough team.

“I feel like Jon and Todd have a really good handle when the sun is out in the heat,” said Todd. “We just missed it there in the final. No excuse. We are going to go back to the shop and regroup and get ready for Chicago.”

Todd on racing teammate Shawn Langdon in second round: “It is tough racing anybody out here in Funny Car. I am not going up there and thinking about racing a teammate. You have to just put it in your mind that this is one of the best leavers on the circuit. You have to do your job on the starting line. It was a great race. We were the only two cars that went down the track. I treat him like any other competitor out here.”

Qualified: No. 4 (3.961 sec., 318.47 mph)
Bonus points: +5 (3rd quickest of Q1 and 2nd quickest of Q3 and Q4)

Race Details:
First Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              4           .060        4.074     306.95 (W)
Bob Tasca III                       13           .075        4.086     313.80
Second Round
Driver                                    Qual       R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              4           .064        4.044     310.41 (W)
Shawn Langdon                    5           .052        4.081     312.35  
Driver                                    Qual       R/T           ET           MPH 
J.R. Todd                              4              .082        4.040     313.88 (W)
Jonnie Lindberg                    8              .091        5.543     133.55
Driver                                    Qual       R/T           ET           MPH 
J.R. Todd                              4              .071        No time
Ron Capps                             3              .038        4.097     310.98 (W)

Shawn Sunday

Virginia Consistency Drives Langdon to Quarterfinals

Heading into race day Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car team knew they had a quality race car. They succeeded in qualifying in the top half of the field over the first two days at the Virginia NHRA Nationals. Langdon entered eliminations as the No. 5 qualifier, equal to his best start of the season and faced a first round match-up with veteran Tim Wilkerson.

The Global Electronic Technology Camry never trailed in the first round with Langdon grabbing a starting line advantage, a .085 to .099 reaction time, and then a finish line elapsed time advantage of 4.039 seconds to 4.054 seconds. The win advanced Langdon to a tough second round match-up with teammate J.R. Todd.

In the quarterfinals the teammates watched as pair after pair of Funny Cars struggled to get down a hot race track at Virginia Motorsports Park. The final pair before Langdon and Todd smoked the tires almost immediately and had to pedal their race cars repeatedly to get them to the finish line. Langdon knew his crew chief combination of Nicky Boninfonte and Del Worsham had a tune-up that would get him down the track.

“We talked about that,” explained Langdon, with regards to the pre-run adjustments. “We made the proper adjustments to get the car go down the track and it made a great run. It went 4.08. I stole a smidge off the starting line and it probably ran a high 4.06 or low 4.07.”

Both Kalitta Toyota Camry Funny Cars launched hard with Langdon grabbing a slight starting line advantage but he was unable to pick up his second Funny Car win of 2019. In a cruel twist both Toyota Camrys made solid runs, 4.044 to 4.081 seconds, respectively but only Todd advanced. Langdon’s run would have eliminated every other Funny Car in the quarterfinals.

“We have a good car. We made good runs and qualified well. This has just been a little bit of the story of our year,” said Langdon. “We just run into that buzz saw round. In a situation where you have cars in front of you blowing the tires off at the hit. J.R. just made a hell of a run. There is not really much you can do outside of saying ‘Great job’ and then you cheer on your teammate the rest of the day. It would have been a good time to make up some ground in the points for sure. We are in a good position because the car has made some great improvement.”

The loss did not sit well with Langdon but he knows he has a Funny Car that can do some damage as the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series moves into a tough four race stretch in hot conditions.

“Having a week off and going into that four race stretch our confidence is at an all-time high,” added Langdon. “That is part of drag racing. I told my guys we have nothing to hang our heads about. We have a great car and we did a great job. We made the proper adjustments. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Langdon on losing close race to teammate J.R. Todd: “We just had the bad luck of running the one guy that was a little quicker than us. It is fortunate that it was our teammate that got the win. Hopefully he will go on and win the whole race. We are going to take all this information we learned and keep making quality runs.”

Qualified: No. 5 (3.964 sec., 316.45 mph) 
Bonus points: 0

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                  Qual        R/T         ET           MPH  
Shawn Langdon                5             .085        4.039      310.27 (W)
Bob Tasca III                       12           .099        4.054      307.02
Second Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET           MPH  
Shawn Langdon                5              .052        4.081      312.35  
J.R. Todd                             4              .064        4.044      310.41 (W)

Doug Sunday

Virginia Nationals Tough On Doug Kalitta and Toyota Dragster

For the second time this season Doug Kalitta powered the Toyota Top Fuel dragster into race day with a solid chance of picking up his 46th career Top Fuel victory. The 2007 Virginia NHRA Nationals winner was the No. 5 qualifier had made significant runs in qualifying on Friday and Saturday.

Heading into race day Kalitta was facing off against the steadily improving Scott Palmer. Kalitta took a starting line advantage and almost immediately went into tire smoke. He was forced to watch as Palmer pulled away for the win.

“I thought we had something for them with this Toyota dragster today,” said Kalitta. “This is frustrating. We have been going down the track good. It is just one of those deals. We are going to go back and figure out how it happened. It is definitely disappointing. We are coming up on the hot track and we have to figure out what we need to do.”

In two weeks Kalitta will be back on track with a renewed focus to getting his second win of 2019. The Winternationals winner has been consistently going rounds and the veteran driver knows that this next run of four races will be key to the teams mid-season success.

“I am looking forward to the busy racing schedule. We can get into a groove and just start going rounds. That is what we need to do with this Toyota Mac Tools dragster. We just want to win as many of these races as possible. Going out early really sucks. Going rounds is what you have to do out here,” added Kalitta.

Kalitta on Richmond crowd: “They had a great crowd all weekend. Lots of the fans were coming by telling us how cool this Toyota dragster looked. We were glad to be running this Toyota Top Fuel dragster again.”

Qualified: No. 5 (3.783 sec., 323.81 mph) 
Bonus points: 0

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                  Qual         R/T         ET           MPH  
Doug Kalitta                       5             .057        5.568       119.26
Scott Palmer                      12           .068        3.869       322.58 (W)

Richie Sunday

Crampton and DHL Leave Virginia with Confidence and Focus

Richie Crampton and the DHL Top Fuel dragster will leave Virginia Motorsports Park with the confidence of a team that is moving in the right direction. The team came off the trailer on Friday and made one of the quickest runs of the session picking up a qualifying bonus point and positioning themselves for a successful weekend.

Over the next three qualifying sessions Crampton continued to make quality runs and entered race day as the No. 7 qualified Top Fuel dragster. The young Australian faced off with rookie Austin Prock in the first round of eliminations.  Both dragsters launched hard and were practically welded together going down the track. At the finish line stripe it was Crampton coming up about half a car length short of advancing to the quarterfinals.

“For sure the biggest positive for me is we qualified top half and went down the race track pretty good on Friday and Saturday,” said Crampton. “We made a solid run in the first round but we just didn’t quite bring enough to the table. It stings a bit but the car is going down the race track so we are right there.”

The 2019 Gatornationals winner has a lot of confidence in this DHL team led by Kurt Elliott and legendary driver and crew chief Connie Kalitta.  The team will head into a tough four race stretch starting in two weeks at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals outside Chicago.

 “I really feel like this DHL dragster is only going to get better. Kurt Elliott, Connie Kalitta and all the guys have a good handle on a hot race track,” said Crampton. “We also have a good tune up for a cool track as well for Friday night qualifying. It is exciting for me to know I have this DHL team behind me. We have a really good race car and we just need to put it together on race day.”

Even though Crampton did not hoist the winner’s trophy he felt like the weekend was a success. This DHL Top Fuel dragster made solid and quality runs and the fans at the Virginia NHRA Nationals saw an excellent race.

“This was an awesome race. The excitement in this part of the country for NHRA racing and what the new owners have done to this race track is really impressive. There was a great crowd and we have a lot of great crowd interactions. I am looking forward to getting back here next season. It is a super smooth race track. You couldn’t really ask for much more.”

Crampton on racing for Connie Kalitta: “It is pretty awesome to have Connie Kalitta in your corner but it can also be intimidating. He has been there and done that. There are not that many people out here that have the kind of experience he has. He is a wily racers and that is what helps give me confidence going deeper into race day on Sunday.”

Qualified: No. 7 (3.796 sec., 314.83 mph)
Bonus points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q1)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                   Qual        R/T         ET            MPH  
Richie Crampton                 7            .092        3.901       313.94
Austin Prock                       10           .067        3.866       304.94 (W)

#VirginiaNats Qualifying Report:

Doug Kalitta - 5️⃣ - 3.793 vs. Palmer
Richie Crampton - 7️⃣ - 3.796 vs. Prock - 10

J.R. Todd - 4️⃣ - 3.961 vs. Tasca
Shawn Langdon - 5️⃣ - 3.964 vs. Wilkerson

DHL | Toyota Racing | Global Electronic Technology | WIX Filters | Mac Tools | NHRA

#NHRA #TeamToyota #GreatToWorkWith #NitroBound #FastestNameInCreditCardProcessing

Doug Kalitta Racing Toyota Dragster at Virginia Nationals

This weekend at the Virginia Nationals Top Fuel standout Doug Kalitta will return to the Toyota Top Fuel dragster he raced during the Houston SpringNationals. The partnership between Toyota, Mac Tools and Team Kalitta strengthens with every run down the track. Kalitta will be one of the most veteran Top Fuel drivers competing this weekend with eight previous appearances at Virginia Motorsports Park.

"I think having the experience of racing at Virginia Motorsports Park many times over the years gives this Toyota team an advantage and it also helps all the Team Kalitta race cars," said Kalitta. "It was great to come back here last year and put on a good show."

The two-time finalist and 2007 race winner knows that this historic track can be fast and provide exciting racing action for the fans. Last year when the event was added back to the NHRA schedule after an eight year hiatus, a packed house watched as Kalitta raced to the final round before his runner-up finish to Steve Torrence stopped his bid for a second Virginia National victory.

"We had a really good race car on race day last year. In the final we were right there with the winner," said Kalitta. "It was great to go rounds at a race where we were reintroducing the fans to the sport. I know we had a lot of people in the pits all weekend that were really excited the NHRA was back in Virginia."

Kalitta's lone win at the race track located just over 100 miles from the nation's capital Washington D.C., came in 2007 when he ironically started with his worst qualifying effort (No. 11) at Virginia Motorsports Park. Kalitta raced his Mac Tools dragster past Dave Grubnic, Larry Dixon, Doug Foley and Melanie Troxel for the win.

"The win in 2007 was a good win for us. We definitely would like to improve on last year's performance and get one more win light. I think this season we have been performing really well and we just need to keep turning on win lights. I would love to get this Toyota Top Fuel dragster in the winner's circle this weekend," added Kalitta

In his career at Virginia Motorsports Park Kalitta has qualified top-half seven times and raced to the semifinals on four occasions. Over that span of races the veteran driver has only suffered a first round loss once, coming up short as the No. 5 qualifier in 2008 to Bob Vandergriff.

2018 Virginia Nationals Highlights: Qualified No. 4; RUNNER-UP; Beat Dan Mercier, Leah Pritchett, Richie Crampton; Lost to Steve Torrence

Last Event Recap (2019 Charlotte Southern Nationals): Qual. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed

Quotable:  Kalitta on racing Toyota Top Fuel dragster: "A few weeks ago in Charlotte Team Kalitta was given the chance to tour the TRD facility. We get so much support from TRD I know it has contributed to a lot of our wins and championships. When were at the facility in Charlotte I was able to get into their NASCAR simulator and it was amazing. I can't thank Toyota enough for the support they give Team Kalitta and I am excited to be back in the Toyota dragster this weekend in Richmond."  

Career Stats: 496 events, 489 starts, 663 round wins, 45 wins, 97 finals, 49 no. 1 qualifiers

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
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 4; Beat Richie Crampton and Lex Joon; Lost to Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed

Noteworthy: With a win Kalitta will move into second place all-time for Top Fuel victories at Virginia Motorsports Park

Richie Crampton

Crampton and DHL Dragster Eager To Go More Rounds at Virginia Nationals

Richie Crampton and the DHL Top Fuel dragster know that when they are consistent they are just about unstoppable. The experienced team led by legendary driver and crew chief Connie Kalitta knows they have a race car that can qualify in the top half and win rounds on Sunday. They have shown that this season with a win at the historic Gatornationals and successful races in Las Vegas and Charlotte. The key for their continued success is getting some momentum throughout qualifying and race day.

"I have so much confidence in this DHL team," said Crampton. "I go into every race ready to perform in qualifying and go rounds on race day. We have done that at a handful of races and then missed the mark a little at others. That was the early part of the season and we are moving into the summer. This is where we are really looking forward to performing."

At the Virginia Nationals last year Richie Crampton was getting his first look at the race track located just south of Richmond, Virginia. The young Australian was solid in qualifying and entered race day as the No. 8 Top Fuel dragster. On Sunday he dispatched Dom Lagana, Tony Schumacher and was eliminated by teammate Doug Kalitta in the semifinals. That successful race day snapped string of first round losses and moved the team into the Top Ten.

"I was really pleased with our effort at the Virginia Nationals last season," said Crampton. "We had a great race car and the only thing that stopped us from going to the final was our teammate Doug Kalitta. If we can't go rounds we definitely want to see our Team Kalitta cars succeeding."

This season Crampton has been a regular in the Mello Yello Top Ten and has continued to make solid runs on the race track. He is also continuing to focus on his driving skills behind the wheel.

"Everyone at Team Kalitta works daily to get better at their jobs. I know my crew guys are giving me a great race car. I am constantly working to improve as a driver. All the drivers get together and talk about how to be better on the tree and be better drivers. This is a great team over here and this DHL team is continuing to grind it out for that next win," added Crampton.

2018 Virginia Nationals Highlights: Qualified No. 8; Beat Dom Lagana, Tony Schumacher; Lost to Doug Kalitta

Last Event Recap (2019 Southern Nationals): Qual. No. 7; Lost Scott Palmer

Quotable: Crampton on returning to Richmond: "Last year the only car that could beat us was our teammate Doug Kalitta. That is a pretty good position to be in. We just need to get on the opposite side of the ladder from him and hopefully we can meet again but this time in the final round."

Career Stats: 110 events, 109 starts, 93 round wins, 9 wins, 11 finals, 5 no. 1 qualifiers

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
Charlotte1: Qual. 12; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. 7; Lost to Scott Palmer

Shawn Langdon

Virginia Nationals Next Up For Langdon and Global Electronic Technology Funny Car

The Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car and driver Shawn Langdon are excited to be returning to the Virginia NHRA Nationals. After picking up his first career Funny Car win at the Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals earlier this season Langdon has been focused on win number two and advancing up the Mello Yello point standings. The Charlotte win propelled Langdon into the Top Ten and he has held onto that position as the team heads into Richmond for the eighth race of the season.

"It is a long season and your goal first and foremost is to make the Countdown," said Langdon. "You have to be in the Top Ten to race for the Mello Yello championship. You also want to win as many races as possible. We picked up that first win in Charlotte and that was big for this Global Electronic Technology Toyota team. Now we are looking for win number two."

Last year when the NHRA returned to Virginia Motorsports Park after a decade long absence many of the teams and drivers were getting their first look at the race track. Langdon was making a return visit, albeit a decade after his first race and in a new category. In 2009 Langdon qualified No. 8 in Top Fuel but was upset by current teammate Doug Kalitta in their first round match-up. The experience did give Langdon some confidence coming into the race last season.

"We raced here in Top Fuel a while ago and then we didn't come back for a few years," said Langdon. "The fans were great in this part of the country so I am glad this race is back on the schedule. I think getting to come back and being in the Funny Car was a challenge last year. I was still figuring some things out. I have a lot of confidence coming into this race this week."

In 2018 as a rookie Funny Car driver Langdon was still getting a handle on sitting behind the 11,000 horsepower engine when he competed at the Virginia Nationals. He qualified well, heading into race day as the No. 9 Funny Car but was narrowly defeated by Jim Campbell. Langdon had a lead heading to the finish line but his Funny Car began losing cylinders and he was unable to hang on for the win.

"The good thing about racing with Team Kalitta is how much support every team gives each other," said Langdon. "We win together and we go through the tough times together. There were a lot of guys pulling for me to get that first win and we are all working every day to get another win for Global Electronic Technology and Team Kalitta."

In advance of the Virginia Nationals Langdon will be spending Thursday with Richmond area media as part of the NHRA advance media tour. It will be Langdon's first chance to talk with the area radio and television stations about his season as well as the success of his team.

"You love to be able to tell the media about the excitement of NHRA Drag Racing and all the good things going on with Team Kalitta," added Langdon. "Every one of my teammates has won this year and we are all in the Top Ten. That shows you the strength of this team and the support we have from our partners like Toyota and Global Electronic Technology."

2018 Virginia Nationals Highlights:  Qualified No. 9; Lost to Jim Campbell

Last Event Recap (2019 Southern Nationals): Qual. No. 6; Lost to Ron Capps

Quotable: Langdon on racing Richmond: "From here on out we will be racing almost every other weekend and lots of back to back race. You want to get some momentum going into the summer and I think a great place to start is the Virginia Nationals."
Career Stats: 239 events, 236 starts, 269 round wins, 15 wins, 31 finals, 18 no. 1 qualifiers; in Funny  Car 31 events, 31 starts, 19 round wins, 1 wins, 1 finals, 0 no. 1 qualifiers

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
Charlotte1: Qual 5; WINNER; Beat Jeff Diehl and Terry Haddock; Beat J.R. Todd and Tommy Johnson Jr; Beat Robert Hight, John Force and Matt Hagan
Atlanta: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Ron Capps

Noteworthy: Langdon became just the 17th racer to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car when he picked up his first Funny Car win in Charlotte.

JR Todd DHL and J.R. Todd Ready To Seize Day Virginia Nationals

The reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd is ready to get back to the racing action this weekend at the Virginia Nationals. Last year at the relaunched event Todd raced his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car to the semifinals from the No. 4 spot before losing to the eventual event winner.

"It was cool to be back in Virginia last year," said Todd. "I remember early in my career racing Top Fuel there and the fans were always really excited to check out the drag races. We had a good run in the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car last year but we just fell off a little in the semifinals."

This year on the heels of a Las Vegas victory Todd has been consistent but is still looking for his second win of the season. Coming into Richmond this season Todd has the same number of round wins and only one more loss than his championship season last year at this point. The difference this year is more first round wins including a final round appearance at Phoenix and the Vegas win.

"Man, we have really been running consistently but we just need to get one or two things to go our way to get over that hump," said Todd. "Getting the win in Las Vegas was big especially after the runner-up in Phoenix. Every one of these crew guys is putting so much energy and hard work into this race car we all want to see those win lights."

Two weeks ago in Atlanta Todd and the DHL Toyota Funny Car team had his best qualifying performance of the season going into race day as the No. 2 qualifier. Their previously best performances were a pair of No. 4 qualifiers in Houston and Las Vegas1. At the Southern Nationals Todd was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday and unfortunately only got one run on Saturday before rain moved in.

"We had a great race car in Atlanta in qualifying," said Todd. "That Friday night run was intense. It was a little dark which makes me nervous but I held on and we got a great run. I would have loved to have had a second shot on Saturday to get the No. 1 back but you can't control the weather. With good conditions in Richmond I think we can run right up at the top of qualifying."

Todd has the benefit of also having experience on the track behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster. The Funny Car champ competed in three races from 2006-2008 in Top Fuel. His best Top Fuel finish was 2006 when he qualified No. 2 and racked up a semifinal finish.

"I do think the more runs you have on any track the more comfortable you are in the race car. Getting those races in Top Fuel even though they were a long time ago helps me stay focused and be comfortable. I will be even more ready to go this weekend now that I have some experience from last year in this DHL Funny Car," added Todd.

2018 Virginia Nationals Highlights: Qualified No. 4; Beat Bob Tasca III, Del Worsham; Lost to Courtney Force

Last Event Recap (2019 Southern Nationals): Qual. No. 2; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.

Quotable: J.R. Todd on returning to Richmond: "You can't say enough about how many people turned out last year for the race. The pits were packed and race day was intense with full grandstands. I think we will see an even bigger crowd this year which just shows you the strength of NHRA."

Career Stats: 207 events, 199 starts, 220 round wins, 18 wins, 31 finals, 10 no. 1 qualifiers; in Funny Car: 55 events, 55 starts, 9 wins, 11 finals, 71 round wins, 1 no. 1 qualifier

2019 Season: 
Winternationals: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Bob Tasca III
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; RUNNER-UP; 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
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 8; Beat Bob Tasca III and Bob Glibertson; Lost to Shawn Langdon and Robert Hight
Atlanta: Qual. No. 2; Beat Jim Campbell; Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.

Southern Nationals Yields Quarterfinal Finish for DHL and J.R. Todd

J.R. Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team raced to the quarterfinals today at the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. They had a strong race car throughout qualifying holding down the provisional No. 1 spot at the end of the day on Friday. The final session of qualifying was washed out by rain showers so the team went into race day as the No. 2 qualifier with only three qualifying sessions under their belts.

“Being able to run in the hot and cooler conditions gives me a lot of confidence as a driver. I know going into every race that I will have a great team behind me and they can adapt to different conditions,” said Todd on Friday night. “That is what makes (crew chiefs) Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer so special. It was sketchy out there (Friday night). For one I struggle driving when it is dark and then you bring in humidity and moisture so the track is tricky. I had my hands full down track. We were lucky to hang on. I think we just hit it right and a lot of other people just messed up.”

In the opening session on Sunday Todd advanced past Jim Campbell when Campbell jumped the tree earning an automatic disqualification. It was a lucky break for Todd considering his Toyota Camry smoked the tires a few hundred feet into his run. It was the kind of fortunate break than many times leads to victory on race day.

In the second round Todd’s luck and the skill of his crew chiefs were not enough to overcome tricky track conditions. The DHL Toyota Camry and Todd left first but again suffered tire smoke almost immediately. The reigning Funny Car champion had to give up on the run and watch helplessly as Tommy Johnson Jr. advanced to the semifinals.

“We just didn’t get a handle on the track today,” said Todd. “This was one race and I am focused on Richmond now. This DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car is going to be just fine. We will head to Richmond with the right attitude and get back after it in a couple of weeks.”
Todd on receiving his championship jacket and ring on Thursday night: “That was a cool deal on Thursday to be able to get your ring and jacket in front of all the past champions. Guys you look up to as a kid. I have to thank Coke and Mello Yello for allowing us to do that. It would definitely be special to win their home event.”

Qualified: No. 2 (3.944 sec., 323.50 mph)
Bonus points: +5 (Quickest of Q2 and 2nd quickest of Q3)

Race Details:
First Round
Driver                                    Qual          R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              2              .067        4.696       172.94 (W)
Jim Campbell                        15           -.065        4.244       291.89
Second Round
Driver                                    Qual          R/T         ET           MPH  
J.R. Todd                              2              .072        10.638     76.09
Tommy Johnson Jr.               7              .079        4.334       218.62 (W)

1918 04047 8314

Second Win for Langdon Does Not Turn Up In Atlanta

One week after picking up his first career Funny Car win Shawn Langdon was eager to make it two in a row. The Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry team rolled into Atlanta Dragway with confidence and momentum on their side.

Right out of the gate on Friday Langdon posted the quickest elapsed time of the session, 3.987 seconds at 322.11 mph. It earned the second year Funny Car driver three qualifying bonus points and positioned his team for a strong weekend of qualifying. They did not pick up any more bonus points but the Global Electronic Technology Funny Car was in the mix entering race day as the No. 6 qualifier.

Langdon drew a tough first round opponent in Ron Capps but he was focused on having lane choice and moving on to the second round. Langdon got the early jump off the starting line with a solid .060 second reaction time and was in position to pull away from Capps.

“I was fired up to have lane choice and we had just seen J.R. get his first round win,” said Langdon. “I knew I had a good race car for sure. It just started moving around on me and I had my hands full. We got the win last week and we were gunning for a second win. It just didn’t work out today.”

Langdon’s Toyota Camry Funny Car dropped a cylinder and began moving around out of the groove. The Carolina Four-Wide Nationals winner had his hands full as he tried to keep it centered but the tires lost traction. As Langdon crossed the finish line the engine expired with a quick flash and bang to officially end his day at Atlanta Dragway.
Langdon on first Funny Car win: “It started to sink in over the week. I have so many people to thank from everyone at Global Electronic Technology to everyone at Toyota and all my Kaliita teammates. They supported and encouraged me every day and I am just glad we got that first win. I know there will be more down the line. I also have to thank all the fans for their support. It was really cool to see all the social media posts after the win.”

Qualified: No. 6 (3.987 sec., 322.11 mph) 
Bonus points: +3 (Quickest of Q1)

Race Details:

First Round
Driver                                    Qual        R/T         ET           MPH  
Shawn Langdon                   6           .060        4.414       202.09
Ron Capps                           11           .064        4.076       315.78 (W)

1918 03940 8310

Fourth Atlanta Win Will Have to Wait For Doug Kalitta and Mac Tools

For the first time in the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster did not race beyond the first round. The three-time Arby’s Southern Nationals winner was eyeing a chance to become the winningest Top Fuel driver in the history of the event but those goals will have to wait for another season.

A strong qualifying effort on Friday saw Kalitta pick up two qualifying bonus points as the third quickest Top Fuel dragster of both the first and second qualifying session. The team only got one shot at the track on Saturday before persistent rain showers cancelled the final qualifying session. Still Kalitta and the Mac Tools team felt confident as the No. 3 qualifier in their match-up with Shawn Reed.

Kalitta and the Mac Tools dragster pulled up to the starting line with Reed as the fourth pair of Top Fuel dragsters to take the track on Sunday morning. The previous three pairs had seen improved elapsed times from the majority of the racers.

Kalitta was first off the line but as his Mac Tools dragster approached the 500 foot marker his Goodyear tires lost traction and Reed moved around him for the win.

“I felt like we were on a good run and just as it got to half-track we just overpowered it,” said Kalitta. “You have to be aggressive to get wins in this class. We just missed it by a little. I am really proud of this Mac Tools team because we had to battle the weather and a tricky track.”
Kalitta on quick exit: “This is the first time we haven’t moved on to the second round this season. This was just a tough day but we will put it behind us. We have a win and have been going rounds. This Mac Tools team will be ready for the next race.”

Qualified: No. 3 (3.737 sec., 320.36 mph) 
Bonus points: +2 (3rd quickest of Q1 and Q2)

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                  Qual        R/T         ET           MPH  
Doug Kalitta                       3             .061        4.208       254.18
Shawn Reed                       14           .064        3.856       320.13 (W)

1918 03992 8311

Early Exit Does Not Discourage Crampton and DHL Team

Tricky track conditions and the loss of a qualifying session did not do the DHL Toyota Top Fuel team and driver Richie Crampton any favors this weekend at the Arby’s Southern Nationals. Racing from the No. 7 qualified spot Crampton faced off with tough competitor Scott Palmer in the first round at Atlanta Dragway.

Crampton and Palmer were the last pair of Top Fuel dragsters in the first session. Both dragsters launched hard and just as Crampton’s DHL Toyota dragster was approaching half-track it began to overpower the racetrack. The 2019 Gatornationals winner had to watch as Palmer got to the finish line first for the win.

“We were just a little snake bit today,” said Crampton. “We got to watch all the other dragsters run and we felt like we had a solid tune up. We just overpowered the track and this one got away from us. No one is discouraged and we have a lot of confidence.”

It was an unfortunately quick end to the weekend but Crampton and the DHL team will regroup for the race Virginia Nationals in two weeks.

Crampton on back-to-back races in Charlotte and Atlanta: “I like the back-to-back races. We can get into a groove as a team. The weather didn’t cooperate this weekend but we aren’t making any excuses. This DHL Toyota team is definitely moving in the right direction. We will get ready for Richmond.”

Qualified: No. 12 (4.350 sec., 187.05 mph)
Bonus points: 0

Race Details: 

First Round
Driver                                Qual          R/T         ET           MPH  
Richie Crampton              7             .074        4.431       180.60
Scott Palmer                      10           .044        3.971       265.85 (W)

Kalitta Merchandise


Funny Car Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1 Robert Hight 717
2 JR Todd 556
3 Ron Capps 548
4 Tommy Johnson Jr. 527
5 John Force 524
6 Matt Hagan 506
7 Jack Beckman 477
8 Tim Wilkerson 463
9 Shawn Langdon 404
10 Bob Tasca 369
11 Cruz Pedregon 306
12 Terry Haddock 250
13 Jim Campbell 209
14 Jeff Diehl 191
15 Jonnie Lindberg 174
16 Blake Alexander 143
17 Dave Richards 94
18 Phil Burkart Jr. 88
19 Gary Densham 73
20 Paul Lee 52
21 Frank Pedregon 32
22 John Smith 31
23 Dale Creasy 10
24 Bob Bode 5

Top Fuel Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1 Steve Torrence 701
2 Brittany Force 541
3 Doug Kalitta 498
4 Clay Millican 489
5 Leah Pritchett 469
6 Antron Brown 467
7 Mike Salinas 466
8 Richie Crampton 363
9 Terry McMillen 352
10 Austin Prock 341
11 Scott Palmer 339
12 Billy Torrence 337
13 Jordan Vandergriff 240
14 Cameron Ferre 228
15 Dom Lagana 136
16 Shawn Reed 102
17 Terry Totten 77
18 TJ Zizzo 76
19 Pat Dakin 63
20 Lex Joon 46
21 Jim Maroney 44
22 Steve Faria 31
23 Karamesines 31
24 Steve Chrisman 31
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