EPPING, NH – Shawn Langdon earned three round victories on the way to advancing to the Funny Car final at the NHRA New England Nationals at the New England Dragway, Sunday. It marked Langdon’s 32nd career final round in Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competition.
Langdon opened up eliminations with a match-up against Jim Campbell where he had the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. That set up a tough second-round assignment versus current Funny Car point leader Robert Hight with Langdon earning the lane choice by making the quicker first-round pass. Hight had a small starting line advantage, but Langdon had the lead by 330 feet. He never trailed from there on for the win, registering his quickest pass of the weekend with a 3.999.
From there, Langdon advanced to the semifinals against Tim Wilkerson. Wilkerson had a starting line advantage and held the lead until just beyond half-track when Langdon chased him down, powering past to earn the victory by 0.011 seconds with a 4.006-second run, despite Wilkerson registering his best run of the weekend.
EPPING, NH – J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to a 4.022-second pass at 317.34 mph to earn number one qualifier honors in Funny Car to lead Toyota into Sunday’s NHRA New England Nationals at the New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire.
The pole is the second in the last four races for Todd, who also earned top honors in Topeka. It is the 12th number one qualifier of his Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career. It also marks the third time a Toyota-sponsored Kalitta Motorsports car has won a pole in the last four races as Doug Kalitta was the number one qualifier in Top Fuel at Bristol.
“We’re starting the second half of the season and it’s really go time,” said Todd, who will receive a first-round bye on Sunday. “You don’t want to peak too early, but we’d like to get another win or two before the Countdown. I said last year that I wanted to be in the top five coming out of Indy and we’re hanging right around there right now. That was a good run for the DHL Toyota there in Q2. Hats off to (crew chiefs) Jon (Oberhofer) and Todd Smith for adapting to these hot conditions and making this thing rip like it is.”
NORWALK, OH –Toyota drivers Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon each advanced to the second round at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, Sunday.
Brown came into the weekend as the top Toyota qualifier after earning bonus points in two of the four qualifying sessions and opened up with Scott Palmer in round one in Top Fuel. The three-time world champion had thestarting line advantage before beginning to haze the tires around 300 feet and was forced to pedal it. He got it to hook up enough to earn the victory as Palmer struggled to get down the track. That set up a second round match-up with Leah Pritchett whereBrown had a huge advantage at the tree (.042 to .112), but dropped a cylinder early, giving the win to Pritchett.
Kalitta also went to round two in Top Fuel after winning an opening round match-up against Clay Millican where Kalitta left first and and never trailed despite smoking the tires before half-track and having to pedal it. In round two, Kalitta again had the advantage at the starting line, but Steve Torrence took the lead by half-track on the way to the victory as Kalitta started to haze the tires.
NORWALK, OH –Antron Brown qualified seventh in Top Fuel, while J.R. Todd placed seventh in Funny Car to lead Toyota into Sunday’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at the Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Brown was the top qualifier in Friday’s opening session with a 3.742-second run at 326 mph and then ran the third-quickest time in Saturday’s final session to earn four bonus points for the weekend – the second-highest total of the weekend in Top Fuel. Overall, he registered three 3.7-second passes in the four sessions.
“I’m feeling good for tomorrow,” said Brown, who will race Scott Palmer in Sunday’s eliminations. “Our Matco Tools Toyota has been running exceptionally well. Q1 was a really good run, Q3 was another decent run even after losing a belt and then we ran strong again in Q4. We overpowered the track Friday night, but today was key to prepare for eliminations. I believe we have a car that can compete and race with anybody. It will be warmer tomorrow and that will throw a curveball for everybody. We’ve been putting together a car that runs pretty well in the hot weather conditions, now we just need a little luck to go our way.”
BRISTOL, TN –Doug Kalitta advanced to the Top Fuel semifinals to lead Toyota at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, Sunday. The race marked Kalitta’s 500th in NHRA Top Fuel competition.
Kalitta, who earned his 50th number one qualifier on Saturday, had the advantage at the tree and never trailed in an opening round win over Cameron Fere, to set up a wild second round match-up with Terry McMillen. It appeared Kalitta’s day was going to be over when he was up in smoke right at the hit, but McMillen smoked the tires around 150 feet. Kalitta pedaled it and chased McMillen down right in the lights for the win with a speed at the top end more than 100 mph faster than his opponent.
Kalitta would have a much better run in the semifinals against Mike Salinas, but wasn’t quite quick enough as eventual event winner Mike Salinas would win 3.817 to 3.887.
LANGDON SETS PERSONAL BEST WITH SECOND IN FUNNY CAR
BRISTOL, TN – Doug Kalitta captured number one qualifier honors in Top Fuel with a 3.755-second pass at 324.67 mph, while Shawn Langdon set a new personal best as the number two qualifier in Funny Car to lead Toyota in preparation for Sunday’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at the Bristol Dragway.
The pole is the first of the season for Kalitta and the 50th of his Top Fuel career, coming in his 500th career NHRA event.
“We are always excited to come here,” said Kalitta, who will face Cameron Ferre in the first round on Sunday. “I remember coming here when I was working on Connie’s (Kalitta, team owner) cars back in the ‘80s so it’s a lot of cool history coming here just for me. It was a nice run though. It’s been awhile since we were low qualifier any of the days. I’m real proud of my guys though. We’re working our tails off to try and make it happen.”
Rounding out the Toyota Top Fuel ranks, Antron Brown qualified fourth and will meet Audrey Worm in round one, while Richie Crampton placed ninth and will square off with Terry McMillen in eliminations.
In Funny Car, Langdon set a new personal-best of second in the category with a 3.944 at 324.51 mph. Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion, drove his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry to his first career Funny Car win in April at Charlotte. He’s now qualified in the top six in five of the last six races. He will race Jeff Diehl in Sunday’s first round.
The three-time world champion has now advanced to the semifinals or beyond in three consecutive races and in four of the last six. With the strong run, he has climbed up to fourth in points, just nine points out of second.
In the opening round, Brown had the advantage at the starting line and never trailed in defeating Scott Palmer with a 3.740-second pass, his quickest of the weekend. He advanced to meet Doug Kalitta in an all-Toyota second round match-up after Kalitta had defeated Leah Pritchett in his opening run. Kalitta was able to make a solid pass, but Brown had the edge at the tree and led wire-to-wire with a 3.743 run.
For the third race in a row, the Matco Tools Toyota driver squared off with Steve Torrence, but Brown was up in smoke early, giving Torrence the win on a run that Brown would have defeated with his run in each of the first two rounds.