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Team Kalitta Pre-Race Report – Gainesville NHRA Gatornationals

Team Kalitta owns five wins at Gainesville Raceway; aiming to take home two Wallys at the historic 50th Gatornationals event


Pre-Race Team Kalitta Notes
Event 3 of 24: 2019 50th Gatornationals
Gainesville Raceway – Gainesville, FL
March 15-17

richie cramptonCrampton Shoots for Back-to-Back Wins at the 50th Gatornationals

Gainesville Highlights:

  • One win (2018); One No. 1 Qualifier (2016)

Last Event Recap (2019 Phoenix):
Qualified No. 15; First-Round Loss to Terry McMillen

2018 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified 10th; Race Event Winner – Defeated Doug Kalitta (Round 1), Mike Salinas (Round 2), Antron Brown (Semi-Finals) and Shawn Reed (Finals)

Crampton on Being Defending Champion: “It feels great to be going back to Gainesville as the defending champion. It’s going to be a really big race this year with the 50thanniversary. It’s going to be another big race so we’re going to go out there and try to win again.”

Crampton on the Fan Turnout in Gainesville: “The fan support there is great. It’s like the east coast Winternationals. It always draws a huge crowd and the local support is terrific, but it also draws fans from all over. The east coast people have been waiting quite a while for drag racing to return. It’s going to be good to kick it off for them and we’re looking to contend for another title at a legendary race.”

Career Stats:
105 starts; 88 round wins; 8 wins; 10 finals; 5 No.1 qualifiers

2019 Season:
Currently 10th in Points Standing

Noteworthy: A win at the 50th Gatornationals this weekend would make Crampton the only active Top Fuel driver to earn back to back wins in Gainesville; seventh driver in history.

J.R. Todd2018 Funny Car Champion Todd Looking to Continue Momentum from Phoenix

Last Event Recap (2019 Phoenix):
Qualified fifth; Runner Up Finish – Defeated Terry Haddock (Round 1), Tommy Johnson, Jr. (Round 2), Robert Hight (Semi-Finals) and defeated by Matt Hagan after the DHL Toyota Camry experienced an unfortunate part failure (Finals)

2018 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified Eighth; Lost First Round – Defeated by Del Worsham

Todd on what it would mean to win the Gatornationals: “Having won the U.S. Nationals and the Winternationals, Gainesville is sort of the missing gem for me, especially now that we don’t go to Englishtown anymore. We consider all of those races major events, kind of like the PGA has. The Gatornationals is one I really want to add to the list. I’ve been going there for a long time. It’s kind of like the east coast version of the Winternationals. It’s always a packed house there and I expect it will be even more crowded this year (for the 50th anniversary.)”

Career Stats:
202 starts; 214 round wins; 17 wins; 30 finals; 10 No.1 qualifiers

2019 Season:
One Final Round Appearance; Currently Seventh in the Points Standing

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Doug KalittaKalitta Eager to Earn his Fourth Win at Gainesville Raceway

Gainesville Highlights:

  • Three wins (2014, 2005, 2000); Two No. 1 Qualifiers (2013, 2003)

Last Event Recap (2019 Phoenix): Qualified fifth; Second-Round Advancement – Defeated Jim Maroney (Round 1), Defeated by Jordan Vandergriff (Round 2)

2018 Gainesville Recap: Qualified seventh; First Round Loss – Defeated by Teammate and Event Winner Richie Crampton

Kalitta on what he’s looking forward to this weekend at Gainesville: “I can’t wait to be there with the fans as we celebrate 50 years of the Gatornationals. I know NHRA has a lot planned to honor the legends of the sport. That, along with the great turnout their expecting, should make for an exciting weekend. Our team is really working well together and I expect we’ll do big things for the fans this weekend.”

Career Stats:
491 starts; 657 round wins; 45 wins; 97 finals; 49 No.1 qualifiers

2019 Season:
One Win (Pomona I); Currently second in Points Standing

Noteworthy: Kalitta’s next number one qualifying effort will be the 50th of his career.
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shawn langdonLangdon, New Crew Chief Continue to Gel; Looking for First Win in Gainesville

Gainesville Highlights: Two No. 1 Qualifier (2015, 2014)

Last Event Recap (2019 Phoenix): Qualified seventh; Second-Round Advancement – Defeated Cruz Pedregon (Round 1), Defeated by event winner Matt Hagan (Round 2)

2018 Gainesville Recap: Qualified fourth; Semi-Final Advancement – Defeated Gary Densham (Round 1), Tommy Johnson, Jr. (Round 2), Defeated by Jack Beckman (Semi-Finals)

Langdon on Team’s Improvement: “We just keep getting better and better. The hard work that Del, Nicky and the rest of the team puts in to continuously improve on all aspects of what it takes to win…I know it will pay off very soon. I’ve never won in Gainesville, so to get my first funny car win here would be outstanding.”

Career Stats (Combined Top Fuel and Funny Car):
234 starts; 265 round wins; 14 wins; 30 finals; 18 No.1 qualifiers

2019 Season:
Currently eighth in Points Standing

Photos courtesy of Gary Nastase Photography

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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 seven 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 DHL 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 Del Worsham on the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car, Kurt Elliott on the DHL Top Fuel dragster and Rob Flynn and Troy Fasching lead the efforts on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.

Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Global Electronic Technology, JEGS, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Toyota, and WIX Filters.