SEATTLE (August 9, 2015) – J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster, picked up his first win of the season today at the Northwest Nationals in Seattle.
Todd was solid in qualifying for the second consecutive weekend. His Red Line Oil team earned the sixth starting position with a 3.770 elapsed time. His matchup in round one would be the featured ESPN Marquee Matchup as he took on the 11th place driver Clay Millican in a race that could of been very damaging for Todd’s hopes of making the Countdown. However, Todd came prepared. He laid down the best reaction time of the round, and he needed it. A close race on the top end went Todd’s way and he moved on to round 2.
Next up, Terry McMillen, who is also serious about trying to make his way into the top ten for the first time. The drivers were even on the starting line before the Kalitta horsepower helped the Red Line Oil team move to semi-finals for the second consecutive weekend. Powerhouse Don Schumacher Racing and Tony Schumacher were next. Todd chose his lane and again was ready at the tree. For the second time in Seattle, Todd led the entire class in reaction time and drove it straight down the track to easily defeat a tire-smoking Schumacher.
A tough match-up in the final put Todd against Langdon. Todd had a slight advantage on the tree and drove that all the way to earn his first victory of the season. It is his eighth career victory and first since Denver 2014. He has now completed the career sweep as he also won in Sonoma in 2006.
“To bounce back, it feels amazing!” said Todd. “I feel like we sustained momentum in Sonoma and carried it over here. It sucks that Connie isn’t here, but he relayed information over to Jim O and James (Riola) and it worked. I have to thank Red Line Oil, SealMaster, all the companies that continue to help this team out. This is a big win!”
Todd moved from ninth in the standings all the way up to the sixth spot, which is the highest he has ranked in the season. He is a full race ahead of 11th in the point standings.
Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, was consistent throughout qualifying, going quicker with each pass. Saturday, Jon Oberhofer and Nicky Boninfante really found their groove. A 4.020 second pass in the third session earned the team two bonus points, and they followed that up with a stellar 3.984 second pass which would tie Worsham’s career-best and earn his team another two big bonus points.
Worsham earned the second starting position and drew John Hale in the first round. Hale, flying new colors this weekend, was close early, but the DHL Camry steadily pulled away with another great 4.018 second pass.
Tim Wilkerson would be the next opponent. Wilkerson also had a stellar time in round one and actually earned lane choice in the second round, but Worsham was unfazed. Worsham beat him off the line, and easily down the track with a 4.041 second run.
The semi-finals put Worsham against the 16-time champion John Force. Force, staged deep and attempted to steal a round win, but the Kalitta tune-up was solid an Worsham was able to drive around Force by the finish line, and went even quicker with a 4.039 second run.
Worsham and the DHL team had another great run in the final, but were unable to pick-up the trophy after Johnson staged deep and was able to just barely hold off the DHL Camry at the top end.
Worsham rejoins the top five in points and sits fifth just two races before the point standings reset.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, started the weekend with a bang, literally. On a stellar pass in qualifying, the machine dropped a cylinder right before the finish line. The Toyota Camry body then blew off the chassis. DeJoria was unharmed, and drove masterfully to a stop.
After working to the late hours, the Patrón crew prepared a new Toyota Camry for DeJoria, who made two passes on Saturday in qualifying. DeJoria’s best ended up being the run where she lost the Camry body, and set-up a crucial round one pairing with Courtney Force, who DeJoria is battling for the top ten Countdown position.
DeJoria and Force left the line and both were on great passes, before both ladies fell to tire smoke. DeJoria had another excellent driving job and got her Toyota Camry to cooperate to pick up the crucial round one win.
DeJoria hit tire smoke at the hit of the throttle in round two, however, she moved nearly four rounds ahead of the 11th position in the point standings and into a tie for the ninth spot.
“It was definitely an exciting race for our team, more exciting than the rest of them this year for reasons that everyone knows,” said DeJoria. “Aside from that, we gained some good points this weekend and are leaving here tied for the ninth spot and are headed to Brainerd in a week. We still hold the track record; last year, we ran a three, and you never know what can happen.”
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, moved to the final Western Swing coming off back-to-back round one losses for the first time this season. Kalitta, who still held on to a top five points position coming in, came into Seattle as the defending event champion. He picked up his first career Seattle win last season by defeating Antron Brown in the final round.
Freak parts failures and mechanical malfunctions plagued the Mac Tools team throughout qualifying. They finally got a clean pass down the track in the first session of Saturday. A 3.818 second lap placed the Mac Tools team in the field in 12th and a first round match-up with the man directly ahead of them in points, Larry Dixon.
Kalitta started the run with a reaction time that was only bested by his teammate and led early before falling to tire smoke about halfway through the run.
“Not the Western Swing we wanted, but I am happy to get rid of this bad luck prior to the countdown beginning,” said Kalitta. “The Mac Tools team had a great run last year in Brainerd and I look forward to running back up there.”
Kalitta remains in the top five in the point standings, currently holding on to the fifth position.
After 16 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won three events, advanced to eight final rounds and earned three no.1 qualifying positions. Seattle concludes the annual NHRA Western Swing, Team Kalitta gets one weekend off before making the drive a couple states over to Brainerd, Minn.
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 6 Qualifier (3.770 sec., 326.48 mph)
E1: Todd defeated Millican – 3.763 sec., 327.35 mph to 3.783 sec., 320.89 mph
E2: Todd defeated McMillen – 3.830 sec., 308.78 mph to 3.899 sec., 309.84 mph
E3: Todd defeated Schumacher – 3.844 sec., 319.29 mph to 7.997 sec., 83.19 mph
Final: Todd defeated Langdon – 3.824 sec., 323.04 mph to 3.902 sec., 307.51 mph
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 2 Qualifier (3.984 sec., 298.54 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Hale – 4.018 sec., 314.17 mph to 6.796 sec., 72.58 mph
E2: Worsham defeated Wilkerson – 4.041 sec., 310.41 mph to 4.171 sec., 291.82 mph
E3: Worsham defeated J. Force – 4.039 sec., 310.27 mph to 4.094 sec., 308.00 mph
Final: Worsham defeated by Johnson Jr. – 4.042 sec., 307.51 mph to 4.073 sec., 323.04 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 11 Qualifier (4.088 sec., 299.20 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated C. Force – 4.373 sec., 259.51 mph to 4.461 sec., 226.66 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated by J. Force – 10.552 sec., 82.15 mph to 4.152 sec., 300.13 mph
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 12 Qualifier (3.818 sec., 319.75 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Dixon – 4.552 sec., 172.04 mph to 3.753 sec., 325.85 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Tony Schumacher (1289)
2. Antron Brown (1202)
3. Larry Dixon (1034)
4. Richie Crampton (969)
5. Doug Kalitta (944)
6. J.R. Todd (896)
7. Shawn Langdon (872)
8. Spencer Massey (855)
9. Brittany Force (851)
10. Steve Torrence (835)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Matt Hagan (1177)
2. Jack Beckman (1172)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1063)
4. John Force (1025)
5. Del Worsham (1004)
6. Ron Capps (988)
7. Cruz Pedregon (872)
7. Tim Wilkerson (870)
9. Alexis DeJoria (819)
10. Robert Hight (819)
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online –
About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Del Worsham drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, by Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air,Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.