J.R. TODD, DHL FUNNY CAR LOOK FOR MAIDEN EPPING WIN
YPSILANTI, MI – J.R. Todd is a past champion in NHRA Funny Car racing. He’s won a lot of races on many different tracks, but one that’s eluded him is New England Dragway. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes this weekend at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
After a solid season start, Todd and his DHL Toyota team backed up a bit in performance, but a test session prior to the last race near Chicago was helpful. The team posted its best qualifying effort of the season one race ago when it was third quickest. The race-day results did not follow, but still, the improved qualifying effort was a point of light in what has been a rather dark period of the season.
Todd enters the NHRA New England Nationals in 10th place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings a far cry from his early-season standing following a runner-up finish at the season’s first race. The team continues to do all it can to find its way back to that early-season performance.
DOUG KALITTA, MAC TOOLS TEAM LOOK TO EXPAND ON CHICAGO PROGRESS
YPSILANTI, MI – It has been a tale of two seasons all in a six-race time frame for 49-time NHRA winner Doug Kalitta, but with some signs that things are looking up, the veteran Top Fuel driver is once again stalking elusive win No. 50 in New Hampshire this weekend. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season resumes June 2-4, 2023 with the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
Kalitta started the season with a bang taking the Mac Tools Toyota team to the semifinals at the opening race, winning the inaugural Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and taking the No. 1 qualifier in Phoenix. It appeared the team was on its way to getting the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer his 50th win, but then Kalitta reeled off three-straight first-round losses. After a successful test session prior to Chicago, the team showed flashes of its early-season brilliance with a No. 3 qualifier followed by its first round win since March. The team stumbled in the second round, but progress was made.
“We all know what we need to do, and we know how to do it,” Kalitta said. “We had a good test session before Chicago and made some progress in that race. Our job now is to build on that progress and put this Mac Tools team in position to win rounds and races. I know my guys are doing everything they can to get us back to where we were earlier in the season, and we all just have to be patient. Most things don’t get fixed overnight so we need to stay focused and know we’re all in this together. We’ll get there.”
KALITTA AIR, BOUNTY HUNTER LIVERY RETURNS TO LANGDON DRAGSTER AT NHRA NEW ENGLAND NATIONALS
YPSILANTI, MI – In a tip of the cap to team owner Connie Kalitta and his cargo airline, Kalitta Air, Shawn Langdon will fly the Kalitta Air Bounty Hunter livery starting with this week’s race in New Hampshire. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season resumes June 2-4, 2023 with the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
The Team Kalitta owner is a legend – not just in NHRA Drag Racing but in all of Motorsports. He is one of the most successful professional drag racers and crew chiefs in NHRA’s Top Fuel class – ever. Driving a Top Fuel dragster adorned with “The Bounty Hunter” livery, Kalitta was a threat to win every time he eased up to the starting line. Kalitta is a four-time NHRA champion and owns three additional championships from other sanctioning bodies. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1992 and won NHRA’s first Lifetime Achievement award in in 2016.
During his driving career, he was said to have kept a “most wanted” list of drivers he intended to beat, and when he did, he crossed their names off his list. At that time, Kalitta’s nickname became the “Bounty Hunter.” Langdon will sport Kalitta Air and Bounty Hunter colors starting this weekend, but for Langdon, perhaps the most wanted item on his list will be round wins.
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS AND CARTS JOINS KALITTA MOTORSPORTS CORPORATE PARTNER FAMILY
YPSILANTI, MI – Elliott’s Custom Trailers and Carts is the newest member of the Kalitta Motorsports family of corporate partners. The 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes June 2-4, 2023 at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
Through this recently-executed agreement, Elliott’s Custom Trailers and Carts will provide Team Kalitta with golf carts for the next three NHRA seasons. Team Kalitta will provide access to its VIP Hospitality area for Elliott’s guests as well as branding on its support trailers.
“We are very excited for this partnership with Kalitta Motorsports,” company owner Cindy Elliott said. “We cannot wait to watch their success throughout the remainder of this season and seasons to come.”
“As racers, we always talk about our cars and the parts that make them go fast, but having reliable transportation around the race tracks is another vital area of team operations,” Team Kalitta general manager Chad Head said. “We have golf carts for all three of our race teams, our hospitality team and our team owner, Connie Kalitta. Through our relationship with Elliott’s, we know we can rely on them at every race, and we appreciate their partnership.”
Kalitta Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals Post Race Wrap-Up
Joliet, IL – Shawn Langdon, Autodesk Top Fuel Dragster. Qualifying: Shawn Langdon was the No. 6 qualifier at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals which matched his lowest qualifying position of the season. His best qualifying attempt came in the final session Saturday afternoon when the Autodesk Toyota dragster reached the finish line in just 3.721 seconds at 331.77 mph.
Eliminations: With Langdon’s excellent reaction time, the Autodesk dragster launched brilliantly but lost traction with the race track at about half track allowing Millican to get the win light. Millican would go on to win the race.
Unofficial Point Standings: Langdon leaves Chicago in eighth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails seventh-place Josh Hart by 46 points and leads his teammate, ninth-place Doug Kalitta, by three points.
IT’S NOT ALWAYS WIN LIGHTS; TEAM KALITTA RUNS RARE IN-SEASON, ALL-TEAM TEST TO RIGHT TEAM’S SHIP
YPSILANTI, MI – It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s vital. With win lights not coming as expected, Team Kalitta conducted an in-season, three-team test at Indianapolis Raceway Park in preparation for this week’s return to Route 66 Raceway. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing season resumes May 19-21, 2023 at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. NHRA is competing at Route 66 Raceway for the first time since 2019.
The first few races of the 2023 season were interesting to say the least. After significant off-season investment in all three Kalitta entries, the teams enjoyed successful pre-season test sessions and a powerful start to the season, but then, things leveled off or backed up. The goal now is simple – return to the level of excellence with which the team started the season.
“We expect our teams to perform at a high level; we’ve had some great moments this season, but we lost our way. We are pulling together as a team to get back to how we started the season,” Team Kalitta general manager Chad Head said. “If a team has a bad race, we stay after the event to figure out what’s wrong through testing, but when all three teams aren’t living up to expectations, we owe it to our corporate partners and ourselves to do everything we can to get our teams where they need to be. We invest too much and work too hard not to get the performance our partners expect and we demand. Except for the big test before Indy, I don’t think we’ve done a three-team, in-season test since I’ve been here, but at this point, it was the right play.”
AUTODESK TAKES SPOTLIGHT WITH SHAWN LANGDON PRIMARY PARTNERSHIP AT ROUTE 66 RACEWAY
YPSILANTI, MI – Past NHRA Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon will fly the Autodesk colors when Team Kalitta lands at Route 66 Raceway next week. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing season resumes May 19-21, 2023 at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. NHRA is returning to Route 66 Raceway for the first time since 2019.
Autodesk is no stranger to Team Kalitta having adorned the sides of Doug Kalitta’s Top Fueler once last year and Langdon’s once in 2021 in addition to nearly a decade of partnership with the race team and Kalitta Air. Autodesk solutions help Team Kalitta design and make engine components that create 11,000 horsepower to power Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars.
Kalitta Motorsports manufacturers some 2,000 parts and pieces at its CNC, chassis and Fabrication shop using Autodesk solutions. Add the nearly 1,000 parts designed and produced at the Kalitta Air maintenance facility, and Autodesk has a hand in creating some 3,000 different products manufactured by the two companies.
J.R. Todd, DHL Funny Car
Concord, NC – Qualifying: J.R. Todd was the No. 6 qualifier at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. After the challenges of the last month, the team made a solid 3.971-second pass in the first round of qualifying and then made two strong passes on Saturday including Todd’s best effort, a 3.880-second effort at 334.40 mph.
Eliminations: Just when the first quad of Funny Cars was preparing to race its first round, rain arrived at zMAX Dragway, and the event was down for a nearly four-and-a-half-hour rain delay. When competition resumed, Todd’s DHL Funny Car launched well but then lost traction, and he did not advance to the second round.
Unofficial Point Standings: Todd leaves Charlotte in 11th place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails 10th place Blake Alexander by 11 points and leads 12th place Alex Laughlin by 26 points.
Doug Kalitta, Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Concord, NC – Qualifying: Doug Kalitta was the No. 6 qualifier at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Kalitta reached the finish line in 3.699 seconds at 328.30 mph.
Eliminations: Kalitta had an excellent reaction time, but the Mac Tools Toyota dragster smoked the tires, and he was eliminated.
Unofficial Point Standings: Kalitta leaves Charlotte in 10th place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails ninth-place Josh Hart by 16 points and leads 11th place Tony Schumacher by 52 points.
Kalitta On Charlotte: “I know I can speak for the entire Mac Tools Toyota team when I say this result wasn’t what we were looking for this weekend. We tried to step up our performance, but the track didn’t want anything to do with it. My guys work really hard all the time, and we’re going in the right direction. We’ll lick our wounds, get better, qualify better and get back to two-wide racing in Chicago. For everyone at Mac Tools, Revchem, Toyota and all our partners, we appreciate all your support.”
Shawn Langdon, CMR Construction & Roofing Top Fuel Dragster
Concord, NC – Qualifying: Shawn Langdon was the No. 11 qualifier at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. His best qualifying attempt during the second round of qualifying was a 3.727-second pass at 332.18 mph
Eliminations: Langdon had the best reaction time of his first round “quad,” but the car smoked the tires, and Langdon was eliminated.
Unofficial Point Standings: Langdon leaves Charlotte in eighth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails the drivers tied for sixth place, Antron Brown and Mike Salinas, by 45 points and leads ninth-place Josh Hart by 12 points.
Langdon on Charlotte: “Definitely not the weekend we hoped to have, but these things happen. I really appreciate all the hard work our guys do each week, and I’m really confident in our race team. We win as a team, and we lose as a team. We’ll learn from this period of the season and come back stronger in Chicago.”