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Shawn Langdon Takes Future Energy Solutions, Team Kalitta to NHRA Final Round; Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd Suffer Early Exits

Kalitta Motorsports photos

Shawn Langdon was the No. 4 qualifier at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals. Langdon’s best qualifying attempt came during the Friday evening session when he needed just 3.771 seconds to reach the finish line at 332.10 mph.

When Langdon advanced to the semifinals, he earned a spot in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at the next race in Epping, N.H. During Saturday’s qualifying sessions in Epping, the drivers who reached the semifinals in Joliet, Ill., will re-run the semifinals and final, earning additional purse and championship bonus points. 

Langdon defeated Cody Krohn, Shawn Reed and Dan Mercier before losing to Antron Brown in the final round. It was his third final round in the season’s first six races.

Langdon leaves Chicago in second place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails points leader Justin Ashley by 71 points and leads his teammate, Doug Kalitta, by 40 points.

“It was a good day; the Future Energy Solutions Toyota team made great runs out here on a very tricky race track with the hot conditions,” said Langdon. “It was probably one of our first true tests of a summer track with a lot of UV. We made great runs but just missed it a little bit in the final and didn’t give the track enough credit. It started cooling off, and Antron made a good run. We’ll take the runner-up spot – we’re very pleased with that for Future Energy Solutions, Revchem, Safety Kleen and everybody at Kalitta Air; it’s good to see this car going rounds again after a tough couple of races. The car qualified well and maintained well on race day so we’re looking forward to heading to Epping.”

Doug Kalitta was the No. 3 qualifier at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals. Kalitta qualified in the top three for the fourth time in the season’s first six races. Kalitta’s best qualifying attempt came during the Friday-evening session when the 2023 Top Fuel champion reached the finish line in 3.750 seconds at 332.84 mph. 

Kalitta raced Justin Ashley in the first round of eliminations. Kalitta made a brilliant run posting the low elapsed time of the first round in the Applied Innovation dragster – a 3.79-second effort at 330.15 mph, but Ashley left the starting line first and won the round by seven thousandths of a second. It is Kalitta’s only first-round loss of the season.

Kalitta leaves Chicago in third place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails his teammate, second-place Shawn Langdon, by 40 points and leads fourth-place Steve Torrence by 10 points.

“I just obviously missed the tree a little bit, and Justin had a really good light,” said Kalitta. “It’s just unfortunate because we had a good-running car this weekend and wanted to have a long day with Applied Innovation, Revchem, Safety Kleen and Toyota. We were hoping to have a good day with the Applied guys here this weekend, but it’s just one of those deals. We’re all trying hard, but it happens.”

J.R. Todd was the No. 12 qualifier at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals. During the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon, Todd posted a 4.040-second pass at 316.52 mph. It was also the final round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in which Todd defeated Matt Hagan to take his second challenge victory of the season and his third overall.

Todd and the DHL Toyota team lost to Alexis DeJoria in the first round of eliminations when Todd’s tires lost traction immediately after the run began. It was Todd’s only first-round loss of the season.

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Todd leaves Chicago in fourth place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails third-place John Force by 11 points and leads fifth-place Bob Tasca by 27 points.

“We smoked the tires when I hit the throttle – there was no mechanical issue or anything like that; we just overpowered the race track,” said Todd. “It happens sometimes, but we hate it for DHL, Revchem, SealMaster and Toyota. We’ll get ready for New Hampshire in two weeks and get back at it.”

Team Kalitta will be back in action May 31- June 2, 2024, at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.  For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com.  For additional information on Kalitta Motorsports, please visit www.teamkalitta.com

This story was originally published on May 20, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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