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Team Kalitta Endures Early Exits at NHRA Midwest Nationals

Doug Kalitta was the No. 1 qualifier at the NHRA Midwest Nationals; it was his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 53rd of his career. It was his 12th top-four qualifying effort of the season and the sixth-consecutive race at which he qualified in the top-four positions. His best qualifying attempt came during the opening qualifying round Friday night when he needed just 3.709 seconds to reach the finish line at 331.85 mph.

Kalitta defeated Lex Joon in the first round before losing to Leah Pruett in the second round after the Mac Tools dragster smoked the tires as Pruett cruised to the win. It was Kalitta’s first round loss of the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs making him 9-1 for the three Playoff races to date.

With the points he earned in qualifying, despite the second-round loss, Kalitta maintains his points position and leaves St. Louis in first place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails second-place Leah Pruett by 47 points at the halfway mark of the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs. 

“We got by the first round, the track got hot and it was tricky out there,” said Doug Kalitta. ‘We probably got to about two or three hundred feet before the car smoked the tires; I tried to pedal it once, but Leah ran pretty well with that 3.80 so it’s just unfortunate. It’s one of those deals that happened. We’ll regroup for a couple of weeks and get down to Dallas and see what we have for that race. We’ll take what we did in the first half of the Countdown for sure, and hopefully, between now and the end of the season, things will cool off, and we won’t have these super-hot tracks. These guys are doing a hell of a job, and I couldn’t be happier to be in the position I’m in. Whatever it is, hot tracks or cool tracks, these guys can figure it out. Our Mac Tools Toyota team is really running well right now. We just have to move on and see what we can do for Mac Tools, Revchem, SealMaster and Future Energy Solutions at the next one.”

J.R. Todd was the No.11 qualifier at the NHRA Midwest Nationals. His best qualifying attempt came during the final round of qualifying late Saturday afternoon when he posted a 4.005-second effort at 321.04 mph.

Todd defeated Bob Bode before losing to Blake Alexander in the second round when both cars smoked the tires on the hot race track. Alexander pedaled to the win while the boost rev limiter on the DHL GR Supra shut off the engine making Todd unable to pedal the car and try to win the round.

Todd jumped two spots and leaves St. Louis in sixth place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails fifth-place Chad Green by 31 points and leads seventh-place Tim Wilkerson by 11 points.

“We were fortunate to get by Bobby Bode in the first round for DHL, Toyota, SealMaster and Revchem,” said J.R. Todd. “I saw him in front of me; he ran into some trouble down the track and spun the tires. We were fortunate to make a full pull and get the round win. In the second round, we smoked the tires, and the boost rev sensor went off like it does. You’re a sitting duck at that point. Watching him struggle to get down the lane next to you is really frustrating, and you can’t do anything about it. It makes you want to jump out of the car and run down the track. We definitely could have made some hay (in points) on these guys today with the ladder pretty stacked on one side, and we were on the, if you want to call it that, the ‘good side,’ but we’ll regroup and be ready to go in Dallas.”

Shawn Langdon was the No. 9 qualifier at the NHRA Midwest Nationals; Langdon made his best qualifying attempt in the opening session Friday evening when he made a 3.748-second pass at 328.86 mph.

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Langdon made his second-best pass of the weekend in the first round of eliminations, but his 3.765-second effort wasn’t good enough. Leah Pruett ran 3.737 and won the opening-round matchup.

With the first-round loss, Langdon dropped two spots in point; he leaves St. Louis in 11th place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails 10th-place Austin Prock by 29 points and leads 12th-place Josh Hart by 35 points.

“The Kalitta Air Careers car made some pretty good runs this weekend, but our run in the heat today just wasn’t quite good enough,” said Shawn Langdon. “That’s too bad because I know how hard everybody on our team is working trying to make good, consistent runs for Kalitta Air, Revchem, Future Energy Solutions and Toyota. We’re halfway through the Countdown now, and we have a week off before our next race. We can use that time to make sure we’re ready when we get to Texas.”

Team Kalitta will be back in action Oct. 13-15, 2023 at the Texas NHRA FallNationals in Ennis, Texas. For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com. For additional information on Kalitta Motorsports, please visit www.teamkalitta.com

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