PLANO, TX – Toyota announced today that the auto manufacturer will sponsor Tony Schumacher’s Top Fuel dragster at the upcoming NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis, July 11-12 and July 18-19.
“This is an extension of the outstanding partnership Toyota has enjoyed with Antron Brown and Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) for more than a decade,” said Paul Doleshal, Group Manager Motorsports, Toyota Motor North America. “We are looking forward to sponsoring Tony Schumacher, one of the all-time greats in the sport, in his return to the track in Indianapolis.”
Schumacher is an eight-time Top Fuel world champion and is the NHRA’s all-time leader in Top Fuel wins with 84. Ten of those have come at Lucas Oil Raceway in the prestigious U.S. Nationals.
PHOENIX, AZ – Shawn Langdon qualified seventh in Top Fuel to lead Toyota into Sunday’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Saturday’s final round of qualifying was cancelled due to weather.
Langdon was one of just a handful of drivers to make it cleanly down the track in Saturday’s only session with a 3.722-second pass at 325.43 mph to climb from 15th to seventh. He will have lane choice in his round one match-up with Clay Millican.
Doug Kalitta registered a 3.740-second run in Friday’s opening round of the weekend, earning two bonus points for finishing second in the session. The current Top Fuel point leader will face off against Shawn Reed in the first round of eliminations.
POMONA, CA – Doug Kalitta defeated Austin Prock in the final to become the first Top Fuel driver in history to win three consecutive Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in the 60th running of the event at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Sunday. Toyota Top Fuel drivers have now won eight of the last 11 Winternationals.
In the opening round of the day, Kalitta squared off with rookie Brandon Welch. Kalitta had a slight lead at the tree before rattling the tires and being forced to pedal it for the win. He would match-up with Justin Ashley in round two. Once again, he had an advantage at the light and never trailed in advancing to the semifinals. That set up an epic semifinal between the Mac Tools Toyota driver and pole-sitter Brittany Force. For the third straight race Kalitta had an advantage at the starting line and never trailed in nipping Force with a 3.675 to a 3.680 as both cars clocked in at more than 329 mph.
In the finals against Prock, Kalitta was once again out of the gate first with a stellar .038-second reaction time and then drove straight down the groove for the victory with a 3.698-second pass for his 48th career Top Fuel win. Kalitta closed out the event by running his two quickest passes of the weekend in his final two runs.
The two Kalitta Motorsports Toyota drivers have combined to win four of the last seven Winternationals Top Fuel events.
Langdon, returning to the seat of a Top Fuel car after two years in Funny Cars, started the weekend strong, earning the provisional pole on Friday with a 3.699-second pass. He was unable to better his time on Saturday and will begin Sunday’s eliminations from the fourth spot, facing Justin Ashley.
While not among the four drivers breaking into the 3.6’s, Kalitta proved to be among the most consistent cars on the track, earning bonus points in three of the four qualifying runs for finishing in the top three of a session. He will be looking for his third straight Winternationals crown on Sunday, opening up with Brandon Welch.
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.
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.