Event 14 of 24: Mile High NHRA Nationals
Bandimere Speedway – Denver, CO
July 19-21, 2019
Langdon Moves Global Electronic Technology Funny Car Up In Points
As the NHRA regular season heads into the home stretch winning rounds on Sunday and performing at a high level becomes increasingly important. Today Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car took care of business in both areas at the Mile High NHRA Nationals in Denver. While they did not pick their second win of the season that did move up in the points from 10th to 9th and they also maintained a strong lead in their quest to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship.
The team battled tough conditions in qualifying and went into race day as the No. 9 Funny Car. They gave up lane choice to Tim Wilkerson.
“Our qualifying car didn’t really show the potential it had,” said Langdon. “We had a little tire shake or it dropped a cylinder or the pan pressure shut it off early on one run. The trick is getting the fuel system right when you come up on the mountain. We kept working on it and it showed first round.”
In the first round versus veteran driver Tim Wilkerson Langdon knew he needed to have a good run. The Global Electronic Technology Funny Car drove around Wilkerson and took the round win with a winning elapsed time of 4.072 to Wilkerson’s 4.334 seconds. It was Langdon’s quickest run of the weekend and showed the performance capabilities of the Camry Funny Car. The win also advance Langdon around Wilkerson in the point standings.
“First round was huge for us running Tim Wilkerson,” said Langdon. “We are getting down the last few races where points matter. Now that there is a lot of focus on the points you go to the starting line and you are trying not to think about that. I knew if we could get around Tim we would move up in the points. Tim is a great racer and I knew it would be a tough race. He cut a .027 light and I tried to the best I could. I felt confident with my .071 light on the tree and making a good run with a 4.07.”
In the quarterfinals against the No. 1 qualifier and points leader, Robert Hight, Langdon was giving up lane choice but felt they could run with Hight. Both Funny Car left together and as the approached the 600 ft. marker Langdon was under power and did not have enough to keep up with Hight whose 4.018 second run was the second quickest run of the day in Funny Car.
“Running Robert second round it dropped a cylinder fairly early,” explained Langdon. “It was trying to run low or mid-4.0s. Probably still wouldn’t have been able to get around Robert’s 4.01. They have a strong race car right now. We don’t have anything to hang our heads about. Everything for this race is a one off deal. We love coming here and this is a great facility. The Bandimere family is awesome. The fans are awesome. All in all we did what we needed to do with the points.”
Langdon on his Global Electronic Technology Funny Car’s performance lately: “I feel like to have a good race car for hot conditions when the sun is out. Right now I feel like we can run when it is 120 degrees on track. I am about as excited as I have ever been with this race car. Race by race it is coming together. We are getting teased pretty good by it. It is showing us a lot of potential and I don’t think we have hit our full stride yet.”
Qualified: No. 9 (4.092 sec., 306.19 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Driver – Qual – R/T – ET – MPH
Shawn Langdon 9 – .071 – 4.072 – 312.93 (W)
Tim Wilkerson 8 – .027 – 4.334 – 229.66
Crampton and DHL Race to Quarterfinals at Bandimere Speedway
Richie Crampton and the DHL Top Fuel dragster brought a lot of power and tradition to the Mile High NHRA Nationals this weekend. During qualifying they picked up a bonus point on Friday when they came off the trailer and ran the third quickest run of the opening session. From that point on Crampton and his DHL team worked their way through tough qualifying conditions that included a two hour rain delay yesterday between the third and fourth session.
“We got off to a great start on Friday and then like the rest of the teams had to battle through very hot conditions and then rain on Saturday,” said Crampton. “I felt good going into the first round as the No. 8 qualifier. We had lane choice and I thought we had a good direction on the tune-up.”
In the first round Crampton was squaring off with rookie Austin Prock who is fighting to get into the Top Ten. Crampton was looking to protect his Top Ten position and move up in the points with the DHL team. It was a great race for the DHL team as they made their quickest run of the weekend and took the first round win. The DHL Top Fuel dragster made a nice smooth run covering the Bandimere Speedway track in 3.858 seconds at 314.02 mph.
“We’re trying not to pay too much attention to the points, but you still always have an eye it and we made some gains this weekend,” said Crampton. “We ran well in round one to beat Austin Prock and I felt good going to the second round.”
In the quarterfinals Crampton drew the points leader Steve Torrence who was also the No. 1 qualifier for the event. Crampton was giving up lane choice but he felt they had something for the second round. In a tough loss Crampton and Torrence launched together and the DHL dragster smoked the tires right before Torrence got into trouble in his lane. Crampton had no shot at catching Torrence, who would go on to win the event.
“I thought we had a great shot to beat Steve Torrence in the second round,” said Crampton. “We didn’t take advantage of it. That’s a race we have to win, but we can’t do anything about it now. We just need to get ready to run Sonoma next weekend.”
Richie Crampton on start of Western Swing: “Sonoma is an amazing facility and I can’t wait to put Denver behind me. You have to have a short memory at this level of racing. I am glad we’ll be back on the track in a couple of days.”
Qualified: No. 8 (3.871 sec., 305.41 mph)
Bonus points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q1)
Driver – Qual – R/T – ET – MPH
Richie Crampton 8 – .072 – 3.858 – 314.02 (W)
Austin Prock 9 – .045 – 4.856 – 163.41
Driver – Qual – R/T – ET – MPH
Richie Crampton 8 – .088 – 4.373 – 218.27
Steve Torrence 1 – .068 – 3.970 – 307.79 (W)
J.R. Todd and DHL Camry Faced Tough First Rounf Challenge
The bid by the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car team and J.R. Todd to become just the second driver to win in Top Fuel and Funny Car at Bandimere Speedway was derailed in the first round today. On Friday and Saturday during qualifying the DHL team couldn’t find a consistent handle on a tune-up. The qualified in the No. 11 spot and faced a first round match-up with John Force.
The team was up for the challenge and gave the 16-time champion a run for his money. The first round race was one of the most exciting of the day featuring multiple lead changes which unfortunately did not equate to a win for Todd.
Force took a brief starting line advantage but Todd quickly drove past his opponent and was pulling away as Force smoked the tires. As the finish line was approaching Todd’s Camry Funny Car lost traction and Force was able to regain control of his race car and drive around Todd in the last 40 feet.
“I didn’t know what was going on with him in the other lane,” said Todd. “I never saw him until the finish line. That is the worst feeling in a Funny Car when you don’t have any power and you haven’t reached the finish line. It seems like it takes an eternity. He got around us at the very last second.”
With four races left in the regular season Todd knows that round wins are important. With only nine more days of qualifying and a handful of elimination rounds win lights and low elapsed times become more valuable every race.
“It is so hard to make power up here on the mountains,” said Todd. “We really struggled here this weekend in the DHL Toyota Camry. Now our goal is to win the next two. We have dug ourselves a little bit of a hole. The guys in front of us and the guys behind us are picking up some round wins. Now is the time for us to get some momentum going into Indy.”
J.R. Todd on heading to Sonoma which also hosts NASCAR and Indy Car races on the same racing surface: “I never even thought about that but yeah it is kind of cool to be able to share the track with Indy Car guys or NASCAR guys and some of my buddies that race other forms of motorsports.”
Qualified: No. 11 (4.101 sec., 271.13 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Mac Tools and Doug Kalitta Eager To Head To Sonoma
The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster made its best run of the weekend in the opening round today at the Mile High NHRA Nationals. Unfortunately for driver Doug Kalitta his 3.909 second pass at 316.30 mph pass wasn’t enough to advance to the quarterfinals. The 2018 runner-up was unable to take his No. 10 qualified dragster to a return visit to the finals.
Throughout qualifying the Mac Tools dragster battled tough racing conditions on the track. Excessive heat on Friday paired with cooler temperatures and rain on Saturday kept all the teams guessing on consistent tune-up option. Kalitta’s team has raced to six final rounds and picked up one win at Bandimere Speedway. The Mac Tools dragster wound up in the winner’s circle in 2010 and was racing to become the just the tenth driver win multiple times at the Mile High Nationals.
In the first round Kalitta got the jump with a reaction time advantage of .052 versus .079 and as the Mac Tools dragster accelerated down track. As the Top Fuelers closed in on half-track Kalitta was giving up ground in a losing effort. While his time was his best of the weekend it also was one of the quickest losing elapsed times of the first round.
“We struggled a little bit up here. It’s a tricky place to run,” said Kalitta. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t hit on it. Our first run in eliminations is what we were hoping would have been our first qualifying runs on Friday. That’s where we needed to be coming into today. It’s just one of those deals, you have to move on. We’re heading to one of my favorite places next in Sonoma.”
Doug Kalitta on heading to Sonoma: “We’re heading to one of my favorite places next in Sonoma. It’s been a good place for us. It’s beautiful country. It’s where I got my first win. It’s just one of those places that’s really special.”
Qualified: No. 10 (3.968 sec., 313.58 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1 Steve Torrence 1407
2 Brittany Force 852
3 Antron Brown 839
4 Doug Kalitta 831
5 Clay Millican 813
6 Mike Salinas 763
7 Leah Pritchett 714
8 Richie Crampton 666
9 Scott Palmer 618
10 Terry McMillen 607
1 Robert Hight 1159
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 1010
3 John Force 958
4 Ron Capps 927
5 Jack Beckman 904
6 Bob Tasca III 865
7 J.R. Todd 857
8 Matt Hagan 794
9 Shawn Langdon 727
10 Tim Wilkerson 724
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 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.