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Doug Kalitta, Applied Innovation Team Enter Chicago with ‘Skip in Their Step’

Doug Kalitta and his Applied Innovation Toyota team enter this weekend’s race near Chicago second in points – a far cry from their standing one year ago; what a difference a year can make! The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes May 17-19, 2024, at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill.

Entering the Route 66 Nationals last year, Kalitta had three round wins in five races and was 10th points. Fast forward to 2024 after five races, and the three-time Route 66 Raceway winner enters this weekend’s race on the strength of a win, a semifinal finish, three quarterfinal showings and No. 1 qualifiers at each of the last two races. That puts him second in points entering the season’s sixth race. 

“We started out really strong,” Kalitta said. “I’m super proud of the effort we’ve put out, really with all three of our teams with Shawn (Langdon) winning twice and J.R (Todd) winning already this season. We all have a little extra skip in our step so the momentum is good, and we’re hungry to keep it going. The guys come into Chicago after a couple weekends off so everybody should be fresh and ready to roll.”

Applied Innovation is back on Kalitta’s car for the first time since the team won the special pre-season shootout race in Florida. Applied Innovation serves customers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida, with managed and co-managed IT and Help Desk services. The company founded as a printer, copier and fax company in 1987 is now a full-fledged, office-technology provider. Applied’s technology services and solutions are designed not only to improve its clients’ business but also the lives of the people working within them.

“I am a testament to Applied’s services because we just switched all our Kalitta Charters stuff over to Applied Innovation, and they do a really good job with the product they’re selling,” the reigning Top Fuel champion added. “I certainly encourage anyone to switch to them. They love NHRA Drag Racing, and they have a good group of people that typically comes to the races including their owner, John Lowery. They’re good, down to earth people, and I hope they’re getting their money’s worth with what they’re doing for us. It seems like they are. We were fortunate to win that first pre-season shootout race in Bradenton (Fla.) while flying their colors so we’d love to do that with them again this weekend.”

After two races running in the four-wide format, it’s back to standard two-wide racing this weekend. Kalitta won his first four-wide race in Las Vegas last month – a goal that alluded him since Bruton Smith introduced the four-wide format. With a confident race team behind him, Kalitta knows his Applied Innovation team is a threat to win every time it pulls up to the starting line. 

“That’s always been my mentality – every year I’ve ever raced,” Kalitta added. “That’s just a testament to the team I have around me now and in the past. Being a threat to win every race is the mindset. If you’re not thinking you can go to one of these races and win, that would just suck. It’s part of what motivates me for sure.”

This story was originally published on May 14, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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