Event 19: NHRA Nationals
Maple Grove Raceway – Reading, Pa.
Sept. 13 – 16
Kalitta Aims for Second Career Victory at Maple Grove Raceway
Reading Highlights: One win (2002); One no.1 qualifier (2004)
Last Event Recap (NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qualified 11th; Finalist (Defeated Leah Pritchett in the first round, Antron Brown in the quarterfinals and Billy Torrence in the semifinals, lost to Terry McMillen in the finals)
2017 NHRA Nationals Recap: Qualified second; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Audrey Worm in the first round, lost to Dom Lagana in the quarterfinals)
Quotable: “Every round is real important in the Countdown, so you have to hit the ground running. It’s a big deal to go some rounds at the opener and then build on it and try to get a win wherever you can. You certainly can’t win them all, but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad position leaving Maple Grove. It’s all about every point you can get.”
Career Stats: 476 starts; 650 round wins (ninth all-time); 44 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel); 96 finals; 49 no.1 qualifiers (tied 14th all-time)
2018 Season: One Win (Pomona-I); Five finals (Pomona I, Charlotte I, Richmond, Denver, Indianapolis); 27 round wins; fifth in the standings
Crampton aims for breakthrough at Reading
Last Event Recap (NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qualified 15th; First round loss (Lost to Clay Millican in the first round)
2017 NHRA Nationals Recap: Qualified 9th, First round loss (Lost to Antron Brown in the first round)
Quotable: “Even though this team did not reach our goal of qualifying for the Countdown to the Championship, I know we will go to these last six races and try to help Doug as much as we can and try to steal some wins.”
Career Stats: 97 starts; 86 round wins; Eight wins; 10 finals; Five no.1 qualifiers
After semifinal finish in Indy, Langdon looking to ride momentum to first Funny Car win
Reading Highlights: One win (2013 – Top Fuel)
Last Event Recap (NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qualified seventh; Semifinalist (Defeated Cruz Pedregon in the first round, defeated Bob Bode in the quarterfinals, lost to Matt Hagan in the semifinals)
2017 NHRA Nationals Recap: Qualified tenth; First round loss (Lost to Dom Lagana in the first round)
Quotable: “We have had four races in a row now, that we lose by a minimal amount – including by ten one-thousandths of a second in Indy. Nothing to really hang our heads about. But now we have a little more information moving forward, and we feel good about where we are at entering the Countdown.”
Career Stats: 223 starts; 261 round wins; 14 wins; 30 finals; 18 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 18 starts; 14 round wins)
Following U.S. Nationals win, Todd sets sights on first Reading victory since rookie season in 2006
Reading Highlights: One Win (2006 – Top Fuel)
Last Event Recap (NHRA U.S. Nationals): No. 1 qualifier; Race Winner (Defeated Jim Campbell in the first round, Robert Hight in the quarterfinals, Tommy Johnson Jr. in the semifinals and Matt Hagan in the finals)
2017 NHRA Nationals Recap: Qualified seventh; First round loss (Lost to Tim Wilkerson in the first round)
Quotable: “Our confidence is really high for these next six races. Having the consistency come around is extremely important and we went down the track almost every time in Indy. We’re hoping to keep that momentum going heading into the Countdown.”
Career Stats: 190 starts; 191 round wins; 14 wins; 24 finals; 10 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 42 starts; Five wins (2017: Sonoma, Indianapolis, 2018: Las Vegas-I, Houston, Indianapolis); Five finals (2017: Charlotte-I, Sonoma, Indianapolis, 2018: Las Vegas-I, Houston, Indianapolis); 42 round wins)
Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography, driver photos: NHRA
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 four full-time entries in the NHRA Mello Yello nitro classes. Connie Kalitta’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster while former Rookie of the Year winner Richie Crampton drives the CRAFTSMAN Top Fuel dragster. In Funny Car, J.R. Todd is the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and Shawn Langdon pilots the Global Electronic Technology 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 Kurt Elliott on the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car, Rob Flynn on the CRAFTSMAN Top Fuel dragster and Jim Oberhofer leads the efforts on the Mac Tools 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, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota, WIX Filters and Ziebart.