Kalitta Takes Toyota to the Winners Circle in St Louis
Kalitta Takes Toyota to the Winner’s Circle in St. Louis
Toyota Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta registered a dominating performance in winning the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway, Sunday. Kalitta’s closest margin of victory on the day was .045 seconds, with his four winning passes averaging 3.710 seconds.
"We needed to get some momentum going for the last three races and this is going to do a lot for us for sure,” said Kalitta. “The conditions were really good and my Mac Tools Toyota guys had my car running really well. I'm real proud of my entire team and Toyota is a big part of making this car run and knowing what the track is doing. Just a big team effort."Doug Kalitta
The Mac Tools Toyota driver defeated teammate Shawn Langdon in the opening round with a 3.731-second run and then ran even quicker in round two, knocking off T.J. Zizzo with a 3.709. In the semifinals against fellow Toyota driver Tony Schumacher, Kalitta would end up running an unopposed 3.711 after Schumacher appeared to have his throttle stick during his burnout.
In the finals, he would square off with championship rival Steve Torrence. Kalitta took the lead by the 60-foot mark and pulled away to the victory with his best run of the weekend, a 3.690-second pass at 322.58 mph. With the win, Kalitta closed to within two points of Torrence in the championship with just three races remaining.
Before the incident in the semifinals, Schumacher enjoyed his best weekend of the year. The all-time leader in Top Fuel wins earned his 88th career number one qualifier on Saturday. He proceeded to eliminate Kebin Kinsley in round one and then defeated Leah Pritchett in the second round.
“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t take a shot at Doug Kalitta,” said Schumacher. “We made a great showing this weekend for Sandvik, Okuma, Toyota and all the DSM partners. We had an awesome car getting the pole with that 3.68. The throttle stuck on the burnout and at that point I pulled back two or three times and as its motoring down the track and building speed, I just had to shut it off. That’s the responsible thing to do. The little gremlins are biting us. We don’t have a complete package just yet. Our guys are doing their best, but haven’t worked together very long. We’re doing the best we can with what we have. We’re thankful that Leah is safe, but you put it in perspective that, yeah, we got beat in the semis, but our team driver was protected because all the great safety precautions we take at DSR with the chassis and canopy. We’ll go to Dallas, Texas, my home state, Toyota’s home state, in two weeks and get back after a win.”Schumacker
In Funny Car, after qualifying second on Saturday, DeJoria advanced to her second semifinal round of the season in her ROKiT Toyota Camry. In the opening round, she easily defeated Dale Creasy with a 3.907-second pass, which set up an all-Toyota second round with J.R. Todd. The two left the starting line side-by-side before DeJoria eventually pulled out to the lead by the 330-foot mark on the way to a victorious 3.918-second run. Unfortunately, the car suffered an explosion from a mechanical problem just after passing the finish line. After extensive work by the team, they were able to complete the repairs in time for the semifinals but were unable to make a clean pass down the track, giving Matt Hagan the win.
Todd had defeated Tim Wilkerson in round one to advance to his meeting with DeJoria.The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, October 17-18.