Past NHRA Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon will fly the Autodesk colors when Team Kalitta lands at Route 66 Raceway next week. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing season resumes May 19-21, 2023 at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. NHRA is returning to Route 66 Raceway for the first time since 2019.
Autodesk is no stranger to Team Kalitta having adorned the sides of Doug Kalitta’s Top Fueler once last year and Langdon’s once in 2021 in addition to nearly a decade of partnership with the race team and Kalitta Air. Autodesk solutions help Team Kalitta design and make engine components that create 11,000 horsepower to power Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars.
Kalitta Motorsports manufacturers some 2,000 parts and pieces at its CNC, chassis and Fabrication shop using Autodesk solutions. Add the nearly 1,000 parts designed and produced at the Kalitta Air maintenance facility, and Autodesk has a hand in creating some 3,000 different products manufactured by the two companies.
“We use Autodesk solutions from design to finish, and when you are designing and manufacturing your own parts, it’s really nice having all that in one package,” Team Kalitta CNC shop manager Scott Finnis said. “It makes things way more efficient and simplifies things especially when we need to make changes, which we do constantly in Motorsports. The Autodesk solutions we use every day and the support we receive help us get even our most-challenging jobs done quickly and correctly. Autodesk goes that extra mile for us so we can do the same on and off the track; they make our jobs look easy, and we are fortunate to work with such a great partner.”
“All of our corporate partners are important at Team Kalitta, but when one enhances our operations like Autodesk does, it becomes a game changer,” Team Kalitta general manager Chad Head said. “Autodesk software is on the cutting edge of technology. When racing quicker and faster than our competitors in the race cars and dependable, timely delivery for Kalitta Air are the primary objectives, that technological advantage is huge. Our process is more efficient, and the parts we make are better thanks to Autodesk software.”
“We’re really happy to have Autodesk back on the car as our primary sponsor for Joliet,” Langdon said. “It’s been a few years since we’ve raced at Joliet, and we love having them back on the schedule. It’s a great facility, and we know the fans will be excited to have NHRA back in town.”
Langdon enters the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 Nationals in eighth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He reached the final round at Phoenix and the semifinals in Las Vegas but has yet to reach the winner’s circle. The season started on a strong note but has since leveled off. The team is using the two-week break between races to go through every detail of the first five races, and Langdon’s Autodesk team will test prior to Chicago. These efforts aim to right the wrongs and be in position for quicker times and more win lights.
“Our Autodesk dragster has been running well this season, and Jason (co-crew chief Jason McCulloch), Kurt (co-crew chief Kurt Elliott) and Connie (team owner Connie Kalitta) have been making good calls on the tune-up,” Langdon added. “Most of our round losses have just been us being on the wrong end of a good drag race. We’re doing everything we can to put ourselves in position to succeed, and I know the guys put these two weeks without a race to good use working on the car.
“We’re definitely looking forward to testing before we go to Chicago so we can work out any bugs the guys found since Charlotte and get our car performing like we all know it can. It’s capable of winning races, and we want to get that started in Chicago.”