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Team Kalitta Wraps Up Rough Outing at Brainerd, Looks Forward to Better Days at U.S. Nationals

Team Kalitta entered the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals with the mindset and determination to build on the success they’ve had so far this season. The team had a strong showing during qualifying, albeit Top Fuel was short one round of qualifications; however, race day didn’t go as planned. 

J.R. Todd was the No. 2 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals; it was his best qualifying position of the season. Todd’s best qualifying attempt came in the Friday night session when he posted a 3.907-second pass at 327.98 mph.

Todd’s DHL GR Supra dropped a cylinder immediately slowing his elapsed time to 4.045-seconds and allowing Dale Creasy, Jr. to win the round. The last time Todd went out in the first round was June 11 in Bristol, Tenn.

Todd leaves Brainerd in eighth place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings. He trails seventh-place Tim Wilkerson by 30 points and leads ninth-place John Force by 44 points.

“It was great to qualify second, but today was really unfortunate for the DHL GR Supra team,” said J.R. Todd. “When you drop a cylinder at the hit, you have to get really lucky to win the round, and we weren’t lucky enough today. That (stinks) because Todd, Jon-O (co-crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer) and the Yella Fellas have this DHL Toyota running really well, but that’s how it goes. We had this little hiccup today, but we’ll regroup and be ready for Indy.”

Doug Kalitta was the No. 2 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals; it was his eighth top-four qualifying effort of the season. During the first round of qualifying, Kalitta made a 3.757-second pass at 330.31 mph to earn the provisional No. 1 qualifier. That run set him up perfectly for the night session, but that session was canceled after the Funny Car session due to a lack of daylight. Kalitta made two strong runs Saturday, but did not keep the No. 1 spot.

Kalitta made his best run of the weekend, a 3.720-second run at 327.82 mph, but Clay Millican made a 3.689-second pass to win the round and advance.

Kalitta leaves Brainerd in eighth place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails seventh-place Mike Salinas by eight points and leads ninth-place Clay Millican by 37 points.

“This Mac Tools team is doing a great job in qualifying, but we’ve been struggling on race day lately so we really need to get that fixed before we get to Indy in a couple of weeks,” said Doug Kalitta. “I’m still really proud of my guys and all the hard work they put in for Mac Tools, Revchem, Toyota and everybody else that supports us. We have to keep everybody moving forward – we have a lot talent on this team, but we just have to prove it on Sunday. Our team is testing tomorrow so we’ll figure it out and be ready to race at the U.S. Nationals.”

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Shawn Langdon was the No. 9 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals; his best qualifying attempt came in the final session Saturday afternoon when the Kalitta Air Careers car reached the finish line in 3.796 seconds at 327.43 mph.

Like Kalitta, Langdon made his best run of the weekend when he made a 3.782-second run at 323.97 mph, but like Millican against Kalitta, Antron Brown made a 3.689-second run and won the round. Langdon had a brilliant reaction time and left the starting line well before his opponent, but it was not enough to win the round.

Langdon leaves Brainerd in 11th place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings. He trails 10th place Josh Hart by 63 points and leads 12th place Tony Schumacher by 99 points.

“Brainerd was another tough race for the Kalitta Air Careers team; we made a couple of pretty good runs in qualifying and made our best run of the weekend today, but it wasn’t good enough,” said Shawn Langdon. “Jason, Kurt, Ronnie (co-crew chiefs Kurt Elliott, Jason McCulloch and Ronnie Thompson) and all our guys are working as hard as they can for Kalitta Air, Revchem, Toyota and everybody who supports us; it’s frustrating – we just have to keep working. We’re testing tomorrow so we’re all hoping we figure things out for Indy.”

Team Kalitta will be back in action Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2023 at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind. For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com. For additional information on Kalitta Motorsports, please visit www.teamkalitta.com

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