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Team Kalitta Lacks Luck in Las Vegas; Kalitta Remains in Thick of Championship Hunt

Doug Kalitta was the No. 4 qualifier at the NHRA Nevada Nationals. It was his 14th top-four qualifying effort of the season including each of the last eight races. His best qualifying attempt came in the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon when he posted a 3.696-second effort at 334.90 mph.

Kalitta defeated T.J. Zizzo before losing to Josh Hart in the second round when the Mac Tools dragster’s engine malfunctioned at the finish line. Hart left the starting line before Kalitta and won the round by one thousandth of a second. 

Kalitta leaves Las Vegas in second place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails first-place Steve Torrence by 15 points and leads third-place Leah Pruett by 19 points.

“Josh had a better light (reaction time) than I had; it’s unfortunate and obviously bad timing,” said Kalitta. “We’ll lick our wounds for a couple of weeks and get back at it. That’s all we can do. We knew it was going down to Pomona – that’s for sure.”

 J.R. Todd was the No. 10 qualifier at the NHRA Nevada Nationals. Todd made a 3.909-second pass at 329.58 mph for his quickest qualifying run of the weekend.

Todd raced Cruz Pedregon in the first round. Todd left the starting line first, but both cars smoked the tires turning the round into battle to determine which driver could pedal his car best. Unfortunately, Pedregon reached the finish line first ending the day for the DHL Toyota team.

 Todd leaves Las Vegas in sixth place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails fifth-place John Force by 14 points and leads seventh-place Chad Green by eight points with one race remaining in the season.

“This weekend definitely didn’t work out like we hoped,” said Todd. “The first-round with Cruz (Pedregon) was exciting, but it obviously would have been a lot better for DHL, Toyota, Revchem and SealMaster if we’d gotten that win light. We can still get to up to fifth in points, but we need a good race in Pomona. We’ll give it another shot when we get there.”

 Shawn Langdon was the No. 8 qualifier at the NHRA Nevada Nationals; Langdon’s best qualifying attempt came in the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon when he made a 3.711-second run at 327.51 mph.

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Langdon and Tony Schumacher were the first pair of the first round. Langdon was on a solid run when the Future Energy Solutions dragster encountered an engine malfunction allowing Schumacher to take the win light 3.697 seconds to 3.744 seconds.

Langdon leaves Las Vegas in 12th place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails 11th-place Josh Hart by two points and 10th place Clay Millican by 28 points with one race remaining in the season.

“The guys on our Future Energy Solutions Toyota team are working as hard as they can – they have a great work ethic,” said Langdon. “We just can’t seem to find the right combination. We all want to do well for everyone who supports us like Kalitta Air and Revchem, but we want to do well for ourselves, too. We have one more chance – we’ll do all we can to finish the season with a good race in Pomona.”

Team Kalitta will finish the season Nov. 10-12, 2023 at the In ‘N Out Burger NHRA Finals on the In ‘N Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Pomona, Calif. 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 October 31, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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