Event 20: NHRA Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway – Reading, Penn.
Points leader Kalitta rides wave of momentum into Reading
Reading Highlights: One win (2002); One no. 1 qualifier (2004)
Last Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified first; Race Winner (Defeated Chris Karamesines in the first round, Tony Schumacher in the quarterfinals, Clay Millican in the semifinals and Richie Crampton in the final)
2016 Reading Recap: Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (Defeated Ike Maier in the first round, lost to Brittany Force in the quarterfinals)
Quotable: “It was great to pick up the first win of the season in Charlotte, and now the Mac Tools team is ready to continue the charge into Reading and hopefully keep this momentum rolling. Reading conditions are going to be much different than last season, and we feel confident we had a great set-up for them.”
Career Stats: 453 starts; 615 round wins (ninth all-time); 43 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel); 90 finals; 49 no.1 qualifiers (tied 14th all-time)
2017 Season Stats: One win (Charlotte-II); Three finals (Pomona-I, Norwalk, Charlotte-II); Two no.1 qualifiers (Norwalk, Charlotte-II); 26 round wins; first in the standings
Noteworthy: Kalitta is coming off his first win of the season in Charlotte; he took the points lead for the first time this year; he has now led the Top Fuel points at least one week in four of the last five seasons; after no wins in the first 14 events of the 2017 season, Kalitta Motorsports has now claimed one win in the last three events and four of the last five (J.R. Todd – Sonoma, Indianapolis; Alexis DeJoria – Brainerd; Doug Kalitta – Charlotte-II)
Langdon looks to rebound in Reading
Reading Highlights: One win (2013); Track MPH record holder (334.15 MPH – 2012)
Last Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified eighth; First round loss (Lost to Tony Schumacher in the first round)
2016 Reading Recap (w/ DSR): Qualified third; Semifinalist (Defeated Smax Smith in the first round and Dom Lagana in the quarterfinals, lost to Antron Brown in the semifinals)
Quotable: “Hopefully, Reading will be a race we can turn it around. We have a great opportunity to still make a run at the championship but Reading will be a great race to get that started.”
Career Stats: 200 starts; 239 round wins; 14 wins; 28 finals; 18 no.1 qualifiers
2017 Season Stats: 15 starts; Nine round wins; 10th in the point standings
After great Charlotte event, Crampton wants to go one round further in Reading
Reading Highlights: One no.1 qualifier (2014)
Last Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified seventh; Finalist (Defeated Scott Palmer in the first round, Steve Torrence in the quarterfinals and Brittany Force in the semifinals, lost to Doug Kalitta in the final)
2016 Reading Recap (w/ MLR): Qualified 11th; First round loss (Lost to Dom Lagana in the first round)
Quotable: “I am really looking forward to Reading this weekend after the success we had last weekend with the SealMaster team. We are going to do everything we can to continue to help our teammates and hopefully score some more round wins.”
Career Stats: 74 starts; 73 round wins; Seven wins; Nine finals; Five no.1 qualifiers
2017 Season Stats: Two starts; One final (Charlotte-II); Three round wins
Noteworthy: Joined Kalitta Motorsports prior to the U.S. Nationals to drive for SealMaster Top Fuel dragster for the remainder of the season; Crampton is the 2014 NHRA Auto Club Road to the Future winner; In 2015, Crampton earned five wins and finished third in the final point standings
Predicted Reading hot weather suits Todd’s team well
Reading Highlights: One win (2006)
Last Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified second; Semifinalist (Defeated Jeff Diehl in the first round and Ron Capps in the quarterfinals, lost to Robert Hight in the semifinals)
2016 Reading Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified 15th; First round loss (Lost to Antron Brown the first round)
Quotable: “I’m hoping the wether stays warm and sunny this weekend and that we can keep riding this wave of momentum through the Countdown.”
Career Stats: 167 starts; 167 round wins; 11 wins; 21 finals; 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 19 starts; Two wins (Sonoma, Indianapolis); Three finals (Charlotte-I, Sonoma, Indianapolis); 18 round wins)
2017 Season Stats: 19 starts; Two wins (Sonoma, Indianapolis); Three finals (Charlotte-I, Sonoma, Indianapolis); 18 round wins; fifth in the point standings
DeJoria Reading pre-race notes
Last Event Recap (Charlotte): Qualified fifth; Semifinalist (Defeated Jonnie Lindberg in the first round and Jim Campbell in the quarterfinals, lost to Courtney Force in the semifinals)
2016 Reading Recap: Qualified 13th; First round loss (Lost to Ron Capps in the first round)
Career Stats: 129 starts; 94 round wins; Five wins; Eight finals; Four no.1 qualifiers
Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography.
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 six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta fields five full-time entries in the NHRA Mello Yello nitro classes. Connie Kalitta’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster; former Auto Club Road to the Future winner Richie Crampton drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster; former Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon is the driver of the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel Dragster; J.R. Todd is the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. Connie Kalitta serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Nicky Boninfante and Tommy DeLago on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car and Rob Flynn on the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel dragster. Jim Oberhofer leads the efforts on both the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster and the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster. He is assisted by Troy Fasching on the Mac Tools dragster and Glen Huszar and Nick Casertano on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Global Electronic Technology, JEGS, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, SPY Optic, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota, WIX Filters and Ziebart.