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Kalitta Sweeps Pomona With NHRA Finals Win; Falls Three Points Shy of Top Fuel Title

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..”

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Kalitta Still In Title Hunt Heading Into NHRA Finals Eliminations

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.

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Kalitta Advances to Semis In Las Vegas NHRA

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.

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Todd Drives Camry To Fourth In NHRA Las Vegas Qualifying; Eyes Fourth Straight Vegas Win on Sunday

LAS VEGAS – J.R. Todd ran a career-best 3.856-second pass at 333.58 mph in his DHL Toyota Camry to qualify fourth in Funny Car to lead Toyota into Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Todd will be looking for a record fourth consecutive Las Vegas win on Sunday as he also chases a second straight Funny Car world championship. He held the provisional pole on Friday after running his quickest pass of the weekend in the second session.

“That was a big run on Friday,” said Todd, who will race Jonnie Lindberg in the first-round of eliminations. “I didn’t think it would hold up for number one. It’s just good to be in the top-five going into Sunday. I’d love to keep this streak alive. Not only because we’d have four in a row here but, because we need to go out and win these next two races. We can’t control what the guys in front of us are going to do, but if they slip up and we win these next two, it could be pretty exciting at Pomona. Looking at our past success, I feel we have a pretty good handle on this DHL Toyota Camry right now.”

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Brown, Todd and Langdon Lead Toyota in Dallas NHRA

ENNIS, TX – Antron Brown advanced to the second round in Top Fuel, while J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon matched that feat in Funny Car to lead Toyota in the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex, Sunday.

Brown opened his day up with victory over Richie Crampton in an all-Toyota first-round matchup. Brown took the lead at the tree and never trailed on the way to running a 3.743 for the win.

In the second round against Brittany Force, Brown had a decided starting line advantage (.055 to .088), but started to haze the tires around 330 feet after stretching out his lead to .035 seconds, with Force finally taking over the top spot around half track on the way to the victory.

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Todd’s Third Paces Toyota in NHRA Dallas Qualifying

ENNIS, TX – J.R. Todd ran a blistering 3.866-second pass at 334.40 mph in his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car to qualify third in Top Fuel to lead Toyota into Sunday’s AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex.

Todd, who was the runner-up in last year’s FallNationals, earned bonus points for placing in the top three in three of the weekend’s four qualifying sessions.  He earned one bonus point for Friday’s run, then followed it up with three more today by placing second in the third qualifying session and then third in the final run with a 3.903-second pass as temperatures climbed into the mid-80s.  He will open eliminations against Jim Campbell.

“On Friday night you have to take advantage of the conditions and make the best of it because it’s going to be the run that sets most of the field,” said Todd, the reigning Funny Car world champion. “The entire DHL Toyota Camry team, along with the guys at TRD, did a great job of reading the track and we made a good run and qualified number three. Then we followed it up with good runs in Q3 and Q4, which should give us a good baseline for Sunday.”

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Toyota’s Kalitta Advances To 100th Career Top Fuel Final round at NHRA Charlotte 

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.

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