Team Kalitta is entering the fourth race of the Countdown to the Championship with Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton in the Top Fuel championship fight. In Funny Car J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon are also both in striking distance of the points lead and focused on winning a Mello Yello title.
The battle for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship is tightening up and Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools Top Fuel team are right in the middle of the fight. Over the past four NHRA national events Kalitta has had the best Top Fuel dragster on the series. The veteran driver has raced to three final rounds over those four races, collecting a historic win at the U.S. Nationals in the process. He also has a semifinal finish to his credit. That kind of consistency and race day success has Kalitta just 30 points out of the Top Fuel lead with three race remaining.
“We have had an awesome race car since Labor Day,” said Kalitta. “It was very consistent all season but lately it has really come around. I feel very confident driving it and the performance on race day has been great. We always expect to win with this Mac Tools dragster and there is no reason to think we can’t make a run for this Mello Yello championship.”
Last weekend the race was postponed to Monday due to inclement weather but Kalitta took advantage of a well prepared race track and raced to his 100th career final round. It was a close race with the points lead on the line. A millisecond of tire smoke slowed down the Mac Tools dragster and they will roll into Dallas in the No. 2 position in the point standing.
“We are running really well all day in Charlotte and we just smoked the tires in the final,” said Kalitta. “You want to be in a position to win races and we were right there. I am excited to get to Dallas in a couple days and get right back on the track.”
The Countdown shifts to the Texas Motorplex, the first stadium-style super-track built by Funny Car driver Billy Meyer in 1986. The all-concrete racing surface has led to some of the most historic runs in drag racing history. Kalitta was the No. 1 qualifier in 2004 and has raced to three final rounds in his career at the track. Most recently he picked up the Top Fuel win in 2013 over now teammate Shawn Langdon. Kalitta also collected a win over Cory McClenathan in 2002.
“We have won some races at the Texas Motorplex and it is a great race track. You get a great crowd there and the racing surface lets the crew chiefs really get aggressive. I think this Mac Tools dragster can make some really quick qualifying runs and be in good shape for race day,” added Kalitta.
Kalitta’s final round appearance earlier this week was the fourth of the season for the Mac Tools team. That finish extended his streak of racing to at least four final rounds in a season to six seasons in a row.
2018 NHRA FallNationals Highlights:
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Carolina Nationals): Qual. No. 10; RUNNER-UP; Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force; Lost to Steve Torrence
Quotable: Kalitta on heading to Texas Motorplex: “This is a great facility and we are looking forward to running really well there. This is one of the final three races so we have to stay at the top of our game. It will be a tough race but we are ready for the challenge.”
Career Stats: 510 events, 503 starts, 684 round wins, 46 wins, 100 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 7, WINNER; Beat Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence, Terry McMillen and Steve Torrence
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Jordan Vandergriff
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman; Beat Steve Torrent and Richie Crampton; Lost to Mike Salinas and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 8; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 4; Beat Richie Crampton and Lex Joon; Lost to Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed
Richmond: Qual. No. 5; Lost to Scott Palmer
Chicago: Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Reed, Pat Dakin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Topeka: Qual. No. 5; Beat Leah Pritchett; Lost to Antron Brown
Bristol: Qual. No. 1; Beat Cameron Ferre, Terry McMillen; Lost to Mike Salinas
Norwalk: Qual. No. 13; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Steve Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Terry McMillen
Denver: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Clay Millican
Sonoma: Qual. No. 5; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Antron Brown
Seattle: Qual. No. 8; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Mike Salinas
Brainerd: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Mike Salinas
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 8; WINNER; Beat Clay Millican, Brittany Force, Austin Prock and Billy Torrence
Reading: Qual. No. 3; RUNNER-UP; Beat Smax Smith, Mike Salinas, Austin Prock; Lost to Richie Crampton
St. Louis: Qual. No. 10; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Billy Torrence
Charlotte2: Qual. No. 10; RUNNER-UP; Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, Brittany Force; Lost to Steve Torrence