READING, PA – Richie Crampton defeated teammate Doug Kalitta in an all-Toyota Top Fuel final to win Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in the opening race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. With the runner-up showing, Kalitta has taken over the Top Fuel point lead with five races remaining.
In the final, Kalitta had a slight advantage at the tree (.067 to .074), but Crampton hooked up immediately and had taken over the lead by the 60’ mark and never relinquished it, winning 3.738-3.779 with a margin of victory of .034 seconds or approximately 17 feet. Crampton never trailed at 60 feet or beyond the entire day. Previously, defeating Dan Mercier with a 3.733-second pass, then knocking off fellow Toyota driver Antron Brown in the second round. In the semifinals, Crampton would run a solo as Brittany Force’s car suffered a mechanical failure at the starting line.
“It’s a huge win for us,” said a victorious Crampton. “I’m so lucky to be a part of this team. I hated to race my teammate, Doug Kalitta, in the final and win, but it was a great day for the whole team. We had three real strong runs to close out qualifying (including a 3.689), so we knew we had a car that could contend. Then we had another strong run in round one and made another solid pass in the second round. In the finals, we had a pretty good light and made a really good pass to beat a great driver and team. For DHL, Toyota, Wix, Global and everyone who’s stayed behind us, this is big. It’s the business time of the year. It’s just so important to get round wins and try to run for a championship. We’ve shown we have a car capable of competing for a championship. Now we just need to keep digging in these last five races.”
READING, PA – Doug Kalitta registered a 3.688-second pass on his final qualifying run of the weekend to jump up to third, while fellow Toyota Top Fuel drivers Richie Crampton and Antron Brown placed fourth and fifth, respectively, for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the first round of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
The three Toyota drivers were separated by just .001 seconds as both Crampton and Brown registered 3.689-second passes, but Crampton won the tie-breaker on speed as he ran a 328.14 mph pass compared to Brown’s 323.81.
Kalitta, who entered the Countdown in second place, earned bonus points for finishing in the top three in three of the four qualifying sessions. He will face Smax Smith in round one of eliminations.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Doug Kalitta defeated Billy Torrence in the Top Fuel finals to win Monday’s NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. The victory gives Kalitta his first U.S. Nationals crown in 22 years of competition and marks the tenth U.S. Nationals title for a Toyota driver.
Kalitta won a thriller in his opening round win, running identical 3.721-second passes with Clay Millican, but Kalitta’s .060 reaction time gave him the holeshot victory by .003 seconds. He then moved on to face pole-sitter Brittany Force in round two. Once again, Kalitta had the starting line advantage and never trailed in winning by .016 seconds. That sent the Mac Tools Toyota driver into the semifinals where Austin Prock had a slight lead at the tree, but was up in smoke early as Kalitta went straight down the track for the victory.
In the finals against Torrence, Kalitta again had the advantage at the tree and after Torrence smoked his tires, Kalitta had a solid lead at 660 feet, only to have his tires spin and lose power around 800 feet. He was able to coast across the finish line ahead of Torrence by .080 seconds for the win.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – J.R. Todd qualified fifth with a 3.883-second run at 331.20 mph in his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, while teammate Richie Crampton registered a 3.696-second pass to place fifth in Top Fuel to lead Toyota in preparation for Monday’s NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
Todd will be looking to become the first Funny Car driver in history to win three consecutive U.S. Nationals titles on Monday after putting together four runs of 3.923-seconds or better In his five qualifying passes. The reigning Funny Car world champion earned three bonus points during the weekend. He’s set to square off with Cruz Pedregon in round one of eliminations.
Fellow Camry Funny Car driver Shawn Langdon registered two 3.8-second passes on the weekend on the way to qualifying seventh. He will race Tommy Johnson Jr. in round one.
BRAINERD, MN – Shawn Langdon advanced to the Funny Car semifinals, while Doug Kalitta did the same in Top Fuel to lead Toyota at Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. In the process, both drivers officially clinched berths in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Langdon registered two of the three quickest Funny Car passes of the day. In round one, he drove his Toyota Camry to an easy victory over Paul Lee with a 3.905-second run. Langdon would then better that time with a 3.903-second pass in a round two win over Bob Bode to set up a matchup with Ron Capps. In the semis, Langdon took an early lead and held it through 330 feet before smoking the ties prior the midway point, giving the win to Capps.
BRAINERD, MN – Shawn Langdon qualified sixth in Funny Car, while Doug Kalitta was seventh in Top Fuel to lead Toyota in preparation for Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
In addition, both Antron Brown and J.R. Todd clinched their berths for the Countdown to the Playoffs by qualifying for Sunday’s event. Brown will be looking for his fourth Top Fuel world title, while Todd is the reigning Funny Car world champ.
Langdon ran a 3.935-second pass at 318.02 mph to earn the sixth spot. It marks the fourth time in the last five races that he’s qualified in the top six. The 2013 Top Fuel world champ will open eliminations up with Paul Lee on Sunday.
In Top Fuel, both Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta won their opening rounds, while J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon did the same in Funny Car.
Brown entered the race with three consecutive Seattle event victories and defeated fellow Toyota driver Richie Crampton in the first round with a 3.798-second pass as Crampton smoked the tires early. That would set-up a second-round match-up with Steve Torrence in a battle between the Top Fuel point leaders. The two would run side-by-side through the first 330 feet before Brown went up in smoke, snapping his consecutive round win streak at the track at 13.