LAS VEGAS (November 1, 2015) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Wrenching For A Cure Top Fuel dragster, picked up his third win on the season at the Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Kalitta struggled in day one in qualifying barely holding on to a top twelve spot going into Saturday. Crew chief Jim Oberhofer had enough. He had the Mac Tools crew take out the back-up chassis and it was much more consistent instantly. Kalitta better his run both times on Saturday. He earned the 13th starting spot running a 3.839 second pass.
Fellow Countdown contender Steve Torrence was the first opponent. Torrence dropped a cylinder at the hit and Doug was on a run. Kalitta made his best run of the weekend, 3.791, to move on and earn lane choice over Richie Crampton in round 2.
Crampton versus Kalitta was a tough match-up for the Mac Tools team, but Kalitta was ready at the tree and inched out just a bit further each time to move back to the semis for the first time since his win in Norwalk.
But Kalitta was not done yet. In the battle with the pink tool cars, Kalitta beat Antron Brown by two inches with a stellar 3.774 second pass. That took Kalitta back to the finals in Las Vegas in back-to-back seasons and six overall. His opponent: the hungry multi-time champion Larry Dixon.
Dixon and Kalitta were both stellar on the tree, but Dixon fell to immediate tire smoke. Although Kalitta blew an injector near the finish line, he was able to cross the finish line first.
“The last race for the Mac Tools for the pink Wrenching for a Cure breast cancer awareness scheme,” said Kalitta. “It was big to get a win with those colors. It was great to see so many fans here. It might have been a lucky win but we will take it. So many of our great sponsors are here and to celebrate with them is thrilling.”
Kalitta advanced from tenth to sixth in the standings less than one round from the top five. This is the fourth time in Team Kalitta history that we have won three straight events.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, came into the weekend on a tear, with three wins in the last four NHRA events. However, with just a 38-point lead, it was not time to coast to the finish line.
Worsham was again solid throughout qualifying with three sub-four second runs and a total of three bonus points earned. The sixth spot would be Worsham’s starting position and a ESPN Marquee Matchup in round one versus the defending champion Matt Hagan.
Worsham, the defending Funny Car champion at the Toyota Nationals, chose to go last in the session but was very ready to go. With a .051 reaction time, Worsham had the second best move off the line in the class, and defeated Hagan with another solid 3.977 run.
California neighbor Robert Hight was his second round draw. Worsham watched as his closest competitor, Jack Beckman, was defeated earlier in the session but was not distracted. With another solid light, Worsham and Hight were close all the way down the track. He was ahead at the 60’ mark, but Hight inched ahead at the finish line winning the race by about a foot.
“The DHL team has continue to perform at the highest level; Robert just barely outran us there,” said Worsham. “Our ultimate goal is still in our control, we plan on going to Pomona and working hard on achieving the title.”
Worsham leaves Las Vegas with a 38-point advantage over Jack Beckman. Tommy Johnson Jr. is 97 points behind.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, stayed in Ennis and tested after the AAA Fall Nationals. The testing results definitely showed in qualifying as DeJoria blazed down the track in three of four sessions earning two valuable bonus points.
Ten Funny Cars ran in the three-second zone in qualifying for the second time, and DeJoria was one. She started just outside the top half and a first round draw with John Force.
DeJoria and her crew chief, Tommy DeLago, had a very solid run in the first round. Her 4.004 second lap defeated J. Force, who dropped a cylinder.
DeJoria’s next opponent was the pole winner, Tommy Johnson Jr. DeJoria’s Toyota Camry was gaining on Johnson throughout the run, but it gave up before the finish line allowing Johnson to barely hold on.
“This was a big weekend for Kalitta Motorsports and for Team Patrón XO Café Incendio. It was our manufacturer’s race, Toyota Nationals, and the hometown of Patrón Spirits corporate offices,” said DeJoria. “We also got to bring the mammovans out again, so that was wonderful. Racing was pretty good. We qualified well. We had the consitency that we have been looking for, so that was nice. Raceday didn’t go the way we wanted it to. I am not happy with my performance. I think I could have done better. We are going to stay and test on Monday and smooth some things out again. It has been a tough year, but that being said, we are still in the top ten. We have one more race left, so it is not over yet.”
DeJoria slipped to the eight spot in the standings, but is just two rounds from sixth in the standings.
J.R. Todd, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster, had a rough qualifying effort on Friday with the Optima Batteries ride failing to make a run that was good enough to hold amongst the top twelve in the class.
However, the “Bounty Hunter” Connie Kalitta was ready for the 107 degree track on Sunday. Todd’s 3.770 second run was low of the first effort of the day, earning Todd three bonus points and getting him a solid top half qualifying effort.
Seventh spot is what Todd drew, and for the second time in three events, a first round pairing with Tony Schumacher. Todd beat him off the line, but fell to smoke quickly leading to the defeat in the first round.
“Another very early day for the Optima Batteries team,” said Todd. “Not what we were looking for in Las Vegas, especially with all of our recent success. We will look to rebound and move up a few spots in the standings at the World Finals in Pomona.”
Todd is tenth in the standings.
After 23 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won seven events, advanced to 13 final rounds and earned four no.1 qualifying positions. Just one race remains in the 2015 Mello Yello Series season: the AAA World Finals in Pomona, November 13-15.
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Wrenching for a Cure Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 13 Qualifier (3.839 sec., 315.49 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated S. Torrence – 3.791 sec., 321.58 mph to 3.886 sec., 311.49 mph
E2: Kalitta defeated Crampton – 3.796 sec., 317.05 mph to 3.801 sec., 322.50 mph
E3: Kalitta defeated Brown – 3.774 sec., 322.73 mph to 3.786 sec., 317.94 mph
Final: Kalitta defeated Dixon – 4.239 sec., 207.59 mph to 8.110 sec., 73.95 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 6 Qualifier (3.969 sec., 325.92 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Hagan – 3.977 sec., 322.19 mph to 4.773 sec., 167.59 mph
E2: Worsham defeated by Hight – 3.994 sec., 321.88 mph to 3.983 sec., 318.92 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 9 Qualifier (3.984 sec., 319.22 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated J. Force – 4.004 sec., 314.90 mph to 4.261 sec., 307.02 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated by Johnson Jr. – 4.008 sec., 291.32 mph to 4.008 sec., 309.13 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 7 Qualifier (3.770 sec., 327.51 mph)
E1: Todd defeated by Schumacher – 5.031 sec., 153.21 mph to 3.796 sec., 321.88 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (2588)
2. Tony Schumacher (2426)
3. Larry Dixon (2372)
4. Richie Crampton (2356)
5. Brittany Force (2331)
6. Doug Kalitta (2316)
7. Steve Torrence (2289)
8. Shawn Langdon (2275)
9. Dave Connolly (2271)
10. J.R. Todd (2249)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Del Worsham (2545)
2. Jack Beckman (2507)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2448)
4. Ron Capps (2405)
5. Matt Hagan (2361)
6. Robert Hight (2314)
7. John Force (2300)
8. Alexis DeJoria (2260)
9. Cruz Pedregon (2233)
10. Tim Wilkerson (2227)
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online –
About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Del Worsham drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, by Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Optima Batteries, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.
(news release and images courtesy of Kalitta Motorsports)