BROWN IN POSITION FOR MILESTONE VICTORY – Antron Brown can become just the fourth driver in history to earn 50 Top Fuel wins with at this weekend’s Gatornationals. He would join Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon and Joe Amato. Since 2012, the three-time world champion has won twice the number of races (34) than the next highest Top Fuel driver (17) in that time period.
Antron Brown: “After I retire then I can look back on the numbers, but right now we’re still looking forward rather than behind us. I’m real excited about getting out to the Gatornationals. It’s a big deal. It’s one of the biggest races we go to and there’s just so much history there. It’s known for setting miles per hour records, world records and our Matco Tools/Toyota team is looking forward to getting out there and making it do what it do.”
PLANO, TX – Shawn Langdon defeated a pair of past world champions to advance to the semi-finals in just his second-ever Funny Car race to lead Toyota before a sell-out crowd at Sunday’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix. Langdon ran three of the top eight Funny Car passes overall on the day.
He ran the third-quickest pass in the opening round as he defeated fellow Camry driver Cruz Pedregon. Langdon then matched up with Ron Capps in the second round, taking a .027 advantage at the light and never trailed as he advanced to the semi-finals. Langdon’s second round time was.038 seconds quicker than any other driver in the round. Langdon had another strong run in the semi-finals, but was eliminated by Tommy Johnson Jr.
“We tried to play it smart and we ended up getting lane choice in the semis,” said Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion. “We moved the Global Electronic Technology Camry to the right lane. We had run in the left lane all day and had the tune-up for that, but we thought the right lane was better and it was. It was just even better than we expected and we lost in the semis. We are making gains and I am growing as a driver. We are learning as a group. It was a good weekend. We can’t complain about it much, just lost a good race.”
PLANO, TX – Richie Crampton placed fifth in Top Fuel, while Cruz Pedregon was seventh in Funny Car to lead Toyota in qualifying for Sunday’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona.
Crampton ran a 3.683 at 323.27 mph in Friday night’s session to earn the top five qualifying position – his best starting spot to date since joining the Kalitta Motorsports team at last year’s U.S. Nationals in September. Crampton will square off with Scott Palmer in round one on Sunday.
Antron Brown will start tomorrow’s Top Fuel eliminations from the eighth position, while Doug Kalitta, who won the season-opener at Pomona, qualified 11th. Brown will race Mike Salinas, while Kalitta faces Billy Torrence in the opening round.
KALITTA LOOKS TO MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW – Coming off a season-opening win at the Winternationals in Pomona, Doug Kalitta will be looking to make it two in a row this weekend in Phoenix. Kalitta now has registered at least one Top Fuel victory in each of the last six seasons and in 18 of 21 overall. The Mac Tools Toyota driver has 44 career Top Fuel victories – good for fifth all-time. He has one Phoenix win to his credit (2001) and has earned three runner-up finishes (2015, 2010, 2004) at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Doug Kalitta: “To get the first win of the season and get that monkey off our back was huge. My guys have had a lot of work to do to prepare for Phoenix. We blew up a lot of stuff in Pomona. But we’ll be ready. We’ll go there and see if we can qualify upfront and try to get another win.”
POMONA, CA – Toyota Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta defeated Tony Schumacher with a 3.779-second pass in the final round to win the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Sunday. It’s the second Winternationals title for Kalitta, who also captured the top spot in 2009.
He defeated teammate Richie Crampton, Scott Palmer and number one qualifier Clay Millican on the way to his final round match-up with Schumacher on a day that was dominated by accidents, oil downs and delays.
“To get the first win of the season and get that monkey off your back is huge,” said Kalitta, who advanced to his third consecutive Winternationals final round today. “It was kind of a lucky day. Our Mac Tools Toyota dragster coasted across the finish line twice, but we were still getting the win light. It was one of those crazy days and we went through a lot of parts, but we got it done.
Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 58th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Doug Kalitta tells us about his win at the Winternationals.
Tell us about your win today: “To get the first win of the season and get that monkey off your back is huge. It was kind of a lucky day. Our Mac Tools Toyota dragster coasted across the finish line twice, but we were still getting the win light. It was one of those crazy days and we went through a lot of parts, but we got it done. We don’t care how we win, as soon as the win light comes on, we’re moving on to the next round. It was a great victory for us.”
What was the key in winning with the long delays and short turnarounds? “I can’t give enough credit to the entire team. Not only my guys, but the Kalitta Air guys all pitched in and we needed them. It was a thrash to make to at least three of the four rounds. It was just a great team effort. We have the team and the people to get it done.”
POMONA, CA – Doug Kalitta placed fifth in Top Fuel, while J.R. Todd qualified seventh in Funny Car to lead Toyota in qualifying for Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Kalitta’s 3.703-second pass in Saturday’s first session pushed him up into the top five, one spot ahead of fellow Toyota driver Antron Brown. Richie Crampton placed tenth and will square off with his teammate Kalitta in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations, while Brown will race Mike Salinas.
Todd, who debuted in a Funny Car in Pomona a year ago, registered a 3.908-second run in his DHL Toyota Camry to earn one bonus point for finishing in the top three in the final qualifying session on his way to the seventh position overall. He will match up with John Force in tomorrow’s first round.