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NHRA

Sep 15 - 2019

Crampton Wins All-Toyota Final; Kalitta Takes Over Top Fuel Point Lead

September 15, 2019, Richie Crampton defeated teammate Doug Kalitta in an all-Toyota Top Fuel final to win Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in the opening race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.Crampton Wins All-Toyota Final; Kalitta Takes Over Top Fuel Point Lead
Richie Crampton defeated teammate Doug Kalitta in an all-Toyota Top Fuel final to win Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in the opening race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. With the runner-up showing, Kalitta has taken over the Top Fuel point lead with five races remaining.
September 15, 2019, In the final, Kalitta had a slight advantage at the tree (.067 to .074), but Crampton hooked up immediately and had taken over the lead by the 60’ mark and never relinquished it, winning 3.738-3.779 with a margin of victory of .034 seconds or approximately 17 feet.
In the final, Kalitta had a slight advantage at the tree (.067 to .074), but Crampton hooked up immediately and had taken over the lead by the 60’ mark and never relinquished it, winning 3.738-3.779 with a margin of victory of .034 seconds or approximately 17 feet. Crampton never trailed at 60 feet or beyond the entire day. Previously, defeating Dan Mercier with a 3.733-second pass, then knocking off fellow Toyota driver Antron Brown in the second round. In the semifinals, Crampton would run a solo as Brittany Force’s car suffered a mechanical failure at the starting line.

“It’s a huge win for us,” said a victorious Crampton. “I’m so lucky to be a part of this team. I hated to race my teammate, Doug Kalitta, in the final and win, but it was a great day for the whole team. We had three real strong runs to close out qualifying (including a 3.689), so we knew we had a car that could contend. Then we had another strong run in round one and made another solid pass in the second round. In the finals, we had a pretty good light and made a really good pass to beat a great driver and team. For DHL, Toyota, Wix, Global and everyone who’s stayed behind us, this is big. It’s the business time of the year. It’s just so important to get round wins and try to run for a championship. We’ve shown we have a car capable of competing for a championship. Now we just need to keep digging in these last five races.”

Kalitta was the epitome of consistency throughout the day. He led wire-to-wire in defeating his first two round opponents - Smax Smith with a 3.722 and Mike Salinas as he ran a 3.740. In the semifinals, Austin Prock had a slight advantage at the tree, but Kalitta quickly ran him down, registering another 3.740-second pass on the way to the win. Today’s run to the finals marks his second consecutive final round appearance after winning the U.S. Nationals and it’s the third straight race that Kalitta has gone to the semifinals or beyond.

Rounding out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent was Brown, who opened up the day with a wire-to-wire victory over Terry McMillen to set up the second-round match-up with Crampton. As the two Toyotas squared off, Brown would get the starting line advantage, but was up in smoke right at the hit and clicked it off as Crampton went straight down the track for the victory.
September 15, 2019, Langdon left the starting line with the best Funny Car reaction of the first round with a .052 light and went on to run a solid 3.961-second pass.
In Funny Car, J.R. Todd advanced to his second consecutive semifinal in the DHL Toyota Camry. He defeated Tommy Johnson, Jr. in round one on an impressive 3.915-second run. The two left together, but Todd had the lead at the 60’ mark and never trailed. In the second round, Todd defeated John Smith to set up a matchup with Jack Beckman in the semis. They came off the starting line together, but Todd’s car started smoking the rear tires early. He tried to pedal it, but wasn’t able to get it to hook up, giving Beckman the win. 
Shawn Langdon proved to the wrong man in the wrong place in his opening round loss to Matt Hagan. Langdon left the starting line with the best Funny Car reaction of the first round with a .052 light and went on to run a solid 3.961-second pass. Unfortunately, Hagan ran the quickest pass of the round as the only driver to run in the 3.8s. Langdon’s run would have beaten four of the other seven drivers that won in the opening round, including Ron Capps and eventual race winner Beckman.
Mike McIntire Jr. lost in the opening round to Ron Capps.
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in suburban St. Louis, for round two of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, September 27-29.