POMONA, CA – Doug Kalitta registered the quickest pass of the day to knock off teammate Richie Crampton to win an all-Toyota Top Fuel final at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Sunday. With the victory, Kalitta fell just three points short of the Top Fuel world championship.
In the first round, Kalitta never trailed against Terry McMillen, having an advantage at the tree and going on to the victory. Kalitta had a slight deficit at the tree in round tree, but rebounded quickly for the win over Justin Ashley. In the semifinals against Leah Pritchett, Kalitta had the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. In the finals, it was all Kalitta. He turned in the day’s best reaction time with a .037 light. Crampton was able to stay with him through the 60’ mark, but Kalitta pulled away by 330 feet and went on to lay down a 3.716-second pass, the quickest run of race day.
“I was real proud of the effort put in by this whole Mac Tools Toyota team today,” said Kalitta. “Our goal today was to get to the final and we did that. In qualifying, with Steve getting above us in Q4 to take a 63-point lead it put us down three rounds and that was tough to make up. We ended up just short, but we gave it all we could. Winning a championship is still on our bucket list. I love running here at Pomona and to come out of here with a win in the 60th year with Connie is amazing..”
Langdon Drives Camry To Fourth in Funny Car
POMONA, CA – Doug Kalitta laid down his best qualifying pass of the weekend with a 3.717-second run in Saturday’s final round to jump up to sixth and keep his Top Fuel championship hopes alive heading into tomorrow’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Kalitta, who has won three of the last six Top Fuel events in Pomona, including February’s Winternationals, will open Sunday’s actions with Terry McMillen.
The key to Kalitta’s championship run may ride with fellow Toyota Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, who qualified ninth with a 3.729. Brown is in a position to face both drivers currently ahead of Kalitta in the point standings, opening Sunday’s eliminations with second-place Brittany Force. Should he defeat her, he would likely face point leader and pole-sitter Steve Torrence in round two.
Richie Crampton rounded out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent by qualifying 13th. He will take on Mike Salinas in the opening round.
YPSILANTI, MI – Kalitta Motorsports, the seven-time NHRA world championship winning team, and NGK Spark Plugs announced an exclusive multi-year partnership today at SEMA that pairs the world’s leading spark plug brand to one of the most legendary teams in motorsports. The marketing partnership, which will officially begin in 2020, will see every race car in the Kalitta Motorsports stable use NGK Spark Plugs in all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with NGK Spark Plugs,” said Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports General Manager. “The Kalitta team, led by Connie Kalitta, has been one of the most innovative and creative motorsports organizations for 60 years. We feel the partnership with NGK Spark Plugs will continue this tradition of performance excellence and championship results.”
With over 80 years of automotive expertise, NGK Spark Plugs has been driven by extreme dedication to performance and quality. From OEM to aftermarket, their team pushes the boundaries of innovation to bring the latest technologies to market under the NGK and NTK brands.
LAS VEGAS – Doug Kalitta advanced to the semifinals in Top Fuel to lead Toyota in the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sunday. With the strong showing, Kalitta remains in the title hunt with one race remaining in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
The Michigan native opened the day with a wire-to-wire triumph over Shawn Reed in round one, recording the win by .022 seconds. That set up a second-round match-up with pole-sitter Leah Pritchett in round two. Once again, Kalitta had the advantage at the light and never trailed on the way to the victory.
Advancing to the semifinals against Steve Torrence, Kalitta was in a position to take over the point lead with a victory. Unfortunately, he would never get that chance as something appeared to break in the safety box, releasing the parachute on the burnout and giving Torrence the victory on a solo run.
CHARLOTTE, NC – Doug Kalitta drove his Mac Tools Toyota dragster to the Top Fuel final round before falling to Steve Torrence in the rain-delayed NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, Monday. It marked Kalitta’s 100th career Top Fuel final round appearance.
His drive to the finals began against Antron Brown in an all-Toyota first-round match-up. Brown had a .007 advantage on the tree, but was up in smoke early with Kalitta pedaling on the way to the victory. In round two, Kalitta had a slight advantage on the tree over Leah Pritchett and never trailed in running his quickest pass of the weekend for the win with a 3.745-second pass.
In the semifinals versus Brittany Force, Kalitta moved first, but Force had moved in front at 330 feet before dropping a cylinder with Kalitta gaining a sizable lead by 660 feet to advance. That would set up a final round showdown between the top two drivers in the Top Fuel point standings with Kalitta having lane choice. Torrence registered the best overall reaction time of the day to take an early lead, but Kalitta began to close in the first 60 feet. It wasn’t to be, though, as he was up in smoke before the 400-foot mark as Torrence drove off to the victory.
Crampton, who won from the fourth starting position earlier in the Countdown at Maple Grove, ran a 3.732-second pass at 328.06 mph in Saturday’s final session to earn the fourth spot. He was second quickest in Friday night’s session, earning two bonus points in the process. He will kick off Sunday’s eliminations against Austin Prock.
“It was a great run when the DHL Toyota dragster needed it on Friday night which earned us a couple of bonus points,” said Crampton. “Then we were able to follow that up with another strong run in Q4 to qualify fourth. Qualifying well is a big part of putting yourself in a position to have a good run on Sunday. There’s never an easy first-round match-up in Top Fuel anymore, but it will give us lane choice and that’s a positive.”
Brown was third after Friday’s qualifying after running a 3.758-second run at 328.94 mph. He earned one bonus point in each of the day’s sessions, but slipped back to seventh after Saturday’s final qualifying run.
TOP FUEL’S DOUG KALITTA STAYING THE COURSE AS CHAMPIONSHIP TALK HEATS UP AT NTK NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS
CONCORD, NC – With nearly the slimmest of leads and four races remaining in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Doug Kalitta isn’t taking his top spot for granted. The chance for the Top Fuel veteran’s first world championship is one of the top stories of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, but Kalitta won’t let it interrupt his ultra-focused mindset.
He currently leads defending world champ Steve Torrence by just two points heading into this weekend’s NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway, a race that marks the halfway point of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Kalitta might have the points lead and a strong track record of success in Charlotte, but he knows things can change in a hurry in a loaded Top Fuel class filled with championship contenders.
“We are not getting ahead of ourselves by any means with this points lead,” said Kalitta, who has 46 career wins. “There are too many tough cars out there and four more races. Anything can happen. We just are glad to be in control of our own destiny. If we take care of our business we will be just fine. These next couple of races starting with Charlotte will be critical for us.”