Gainesville, FL – Since the beginning of the season Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel team have been the Top Fuel point leader. Coming into the 51st annual NHRA Gatornationals Kalitta was looking to extend that streak and pick up his fourth Top Fuel win at Gainesville Raceway. The past two seasons Kalitta Motorsports has taken home the trophy at the historic event and today Kalitta was looking to make it three in a row.
During the two qualifying sessions yesterday in some of the hottest and unforgiving conditions of the season the Mac Tools team was running near the top of the class. At the end of Saturday Kalitta was positioned as the No. 6 qualifier and first round match-up with veteran Terry McMillen. It was a tough race because conditions cooled slightly and the threat of inclement weather covered the track with an overcast sky and cooler track temperatures.
When the dragsters pulled up Kalitta was ready for action jumping to a starting line advantage on reaction time with a .057 second to .066 second head start. That lead unfortunately disappeared as McMillen was on a dramatically improved run from his qualifying effort. He blasted to the finish line with a 4.747 second pass, the quickest of the session, to get the first round win.
Gainesville, FL – The DHL Toyota Funny Car team and driver J.R. Todd were looking to race to their third consecutive final round of the 2020 season today at 51st annual NHRA Gatornationals. Their focus on was getting the first win of the season at one of the most historic venues on the NHRA schedule. The postponed Gatornationals gave all the teams a news experience racing in Florida in the fall versus spring. Warm temperatures and high humidity made conditions tough for all the teams but Todd and the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team persevered through a long day of qualifying yesterday.
The team qualified in the top half going into race day as the No. 7 qualifier with lane choice over fellow championship contender Tommy Johnson Jr. The DHL Toyota Camry took off the starting line beside Johnson and both Funny Cars were side by side all the way down the track. Todd made his quickest run of the weekend a 4.006 seconds, 321.58 mph pass which was almost enough to advance to the quarterfinals unfortunately Johnson also stepped up and took the win.
“We are not out of this championship yet,” said Todd. “We needed that round win but it was a good race. This DHL Toyota Camry was right there at the finish line. We picked it up from qualifying but we came up a little short. I have a lot of confidence going to St. Louis. We qualified in the top half this weekend and things just didn’t go our way. We have a lot of support from TRD and Mobil 1 which definitely helps along with the guys from WIX Filters and NGK Spark Plugs. This is a great team and we have four more races to finish out the season. Our goal is to win every one of those races. This Toyota team has gotten on a roll before and we can do it again.”
Gainesville, FL – Looking for the third consecutive win at the Gatornationals, the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel team was primed for a second win in a row of the season. Shawn Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion and most recent U.S. Nationals winner, was chasing his first win at historic Gainesville Raceway today. As the No. 7 qualifier Langdon was in a solid position for a long race day.
In the first round for the fourth time this season Langdon was racing rookie Justin Ashley. It was just two weeks ago that Langdon out-pedaled Ashley in the semifinals on the way to his second Top Fuel victory at the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals. Today Langdon evened his record in opening round races against Ashley to 2-2 with a first round win. Both drivers left almost instantaneously but Langdon’s DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster was too much for the rookie of the year top contender. Langdon’s winning time of 3.849 seconds was an improvement over his best qualifying time and set up a race against Billy Torrence in the quarterfinals.
The second round match-up looked to give Langdon the advantage since he had lane choice and the confidence of a Connie Kalitta tune-up. Langdon took a significant starting line lead when the tree fired and he was making a move when Torrence pulled beside him at half-track. Unfortunately, Langdon did not match his opponent with top end acceleration and in spite of running his quickest elapsed time of the weekend, 3.847 seconds at 315.49 miles per hour, he came up short in advancing to the semifinals.
Gainesville, FL – The DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team and J.R. Todd will be heading into the historic NHRA Gatornationals looking to add their names to a historic list of Funny Car winners. For over fifty years the iconic race held at Gainesville Raceway has seen legends made in front of record crowds packing the grandstands all weekend. As the first race on the East Coast the Gatornationals has been the site of record setting performances and memory making runs.
“There is so much history at the Gatornationals you just want to get a win there to add to your resume,” said Todd. “I think you look at the drivers who are Hall of Famers or legendary drivers and they all have at least one win at the Gatornationals. I want to add my name to this list.”
The 2018 NHRA Funny Car is coming into the race with back to back runner-up finishes in Indianapolis including two weeks ago at the prestigious U.S. Nationals. The DHL Toyota Camry has been dominating on race day and that kind of performance gives Todd even more confidence.
Gainesville, FL – Three-time Gatornationals winner Doug Kalitta will head to Gainesville Raceway chasing history and looking to protect his Mello Yello Top Fuel points lead. Kalitta and his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team has been on a mission to secure the Top Fuel world championship for over two decades and once again they are off to a fast start racing to a win at the Winternationals and a runner-up finish at the Arizona Nationals. They have held onto the lead through four consecutive races in Indianapolis but they are eager to start extending that lead with five races left in the season.
“We were excited with the start to the season and I am glad we have held on to the point lead,” said Kalitta. “WE want to get that early season momentum back starting this weekend since I know we need to not only start strong but also finish strong. I have a great team and I really like our chances heading into the Gatornationals.”
Kalitta’s three wins at the historic Gatornationals were recorded most recently in 2014, 2005 and 2000. He also has two No. 1 qualifiers to his credit in 2013 and 2003. A Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster has won the previous two Gatornationals and Kalitta would like to keep that streak alive in 2020.
Gainesville, FL – Shawn Langdon will be looking to add his name to the list of Kalitta Motorsports drivers who have captured a Gatornationals title with his first victory at Gainesville Raceway this weekend. He will also be racing for a unique spot in history on the heels of his second Top Fuel U.S. Nationals victory two weeks ago. With the rescheduled Gatornationals this weekend he could win back to back “Majors” which is something no one has done in the modern era. The 2013 Top Fuel world champion has reacquainted himself behind the wheel of the DHL Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster and he is eager to grab his second win of 2020.
“I have been getting more comfortable in the DHL Top Fuel dragster every run,” said Langdon. “This race car has a ton of power and we just need to pull it all together again this weekend. We picked up that big win in Indy and that shows you how strong this race car is. The past two seasons this DHL dragster has won the Gatornationals and I would like to keep that streak alive.”
Over twenty five years ago Langdon’s crew chief and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta won the Gatornationals in the first father versus son final round. Connie took the win over his son Scott to win his only Gatornationals Wally. Overall Kalitta Motorsports has six Gatornationals titles with Doug Kalitta claiming three titles and Richie Crampton owning two.
INDIANAPOLIS – At a race where legends are made and historic moments are branded into NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series fans’ memories Shawn Langdon and the DHL Top Fuel dragster team made two runs for the ages. On the way to his second NHRA U.S. Nationals Top Fuel title and first Top Fuel win since St Louis in 2016 Langdon won a wild semifinal round race against rookie of the year candidate Justin Ashley before dominating the final round against Leah Pruett. The race win moved Langdon up to No. 5 in the Mello Yello point standings and was the fifteenth Top Fuel win of his career.
“With how much uncertainty there is this year, where we are racing, if we’re racing this team has really hunkered down,” said Langdon. “We have a great group of guys here at Kalitta. To win Indy is awesome. It’s kind of one of those things where you say, no matter what, if you win the U.S. Nationals, you’ve had a good year. I think right now we are free rolling for the rest of the year. We gained some valuable points that we needed to make up from the last couple of races. We went out early with some issues in dropping cylinders and we got it fixed and it shows in the results.”
For the fourth year in a row Kalitta Motorsports won at the NHRA U.S. Nationals. Langdon extended the streak started by Funny Car teammate J.R. Todd who won in 2017 and 2018. Last year Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel team won Top Fuel at the biggest race of the year for the first time and now Langdon has collected his second Indy win and first with crew chief and drag racing icon Connie Kalitta at the helm.