Las Vegas, Nev. – It’s often the goal of any professional organization to improve from year to year. But when it comes to the results driven home by the Kalitta Motorsports NHRA Professional Drag Racing team during the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello season, a 180-degree turnaround would be the understatement of the decade.
Coming into the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the expectations for the Ypsilanti, Michigan based Kalitta Motorsports team was to actively contend for the 2014 World Championships in the ultra-competitive Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions. Armed with exceptional marketing partners, talented crew members and highly diverse drivers, the Kalitta Motorsports team introduced a new operational philosophy that focused on getting back to basics – which also included learning how to ‘have fun again’.
Take a few minutes and enjoy this video recap of the Kalitta Motorsports 2014 Season – Courtesy of Kalitta Motorsports.
The team’s Top Fuel Dragsters made the decision to forgo pre-season testing in Palm Beach, Fla.; a move that raised several eye-brows of fellow competitors, motorsports media and the passionate drag racing fan base. However, the DHL Funny Car driven by Del Worsham along with the brand new Patron XO Café Toyota Funny Car driven by Alexis DeJoria were on site in Palm Beach and made significant strides; fine-tuning their set ups in order to kick the season off strong at the season opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California.
The off-season changes produced instant results, including a pole-position for the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster driven by Doug Kalitta and tuned by Jim Oberhofer. The Tequila XO Café team also rewrote the history books, as Alexis DeJoria became the first female to break the sub four-second barrier in the Funny Car division during qualifying.
The Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster was certifiably the hottest car in Professional Drag Racing – reaching 9 final rounds in the first half of the 24-race season. The Optima Batteries / Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster made a change in the driver’s seat, bringing JR Todd on board at the spring Las Vegas National event. As the season progressed, the team continued to flex their muscles with Alexis DeJoria and the Patron XO Café Toyota Funny Car capturing the Championship at the 60th NHRA US Nationals.
In the end, the Kalitta Motorsports team captured seven NHRA National Event Titles and 15 number one qualifiers, reached 22 final rounds, and took home 122 round wins among the four entries. All Kalitta Motorsports teams received bids in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship – with the JR Todd driven – Connie Kalitta and James Riola tuned Top Fuel Dragster jumping from the #10 position to finish in the number two spot – the best improvement for anybody in this year’s Countdown. The Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster finished in the Top Five in the World. The two Kalitta Motorsports Funny Cars finished sixth and seventh in the World respectively.
The Kalitta team also learned quite a bit about streamlining their racing operations and budgets – by making the decision to install Phoenix Fuel Converters on all seven of their Freightliner tow vehicles. As the 2015 season approaches, the team estimates that they will save up to $140,000 in diesel fuel expenses as their fleet of seven big-rigs travels an estimated 50,000 miles along the United States. Phoenix Fuel Converters is a proud partner of the Kalitta Motorsports team and looks forward to an exciting 2015 NHRA Season.
To learn more about the Kalitta Motorsports team, please visit their website at http://www.teamkalitta.com.