Kalitta Motorsports News

INDIANAPOLIS (August 28, 2017) – Former Rookie of the Year and U.S. Nationals champion Richie Crampton has been named as the driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster for Kalitta Motorsports, effective immediately. He will begin his tenure for Kalitta Motorsports at the historic U.S. Nationals and will remain in the seat for the balance of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.

"It was a huge honor to get the call from Jim O (Oberhofer) asking if I could finish out the year with the team,” said Crampton. “Connie Kalitta is a legend, and for me to get an opportunity like this is unreal. I am excited to jump into the SealMaster Toyota dragster and see what we can do. I never knew if I was going to be able to drive a Top Fuel dragster again, so I am extremely grateful for this opportunity."

Crampton begun his NHRA career in 2007 as a crew member at Morgan Lucas Racing, eventually elevating himself to clutch specialist and car chief. However, Crampton had the desire to drive. Morgan Lucas Racing put Crampton in a Top Fuel ride in 2014, and Crampton had success nearly immediately. Crampton scored the U.S. Nationals win in his rookie season on his way to the Auto Club Road To The Future trophy. In 2015, Crampton earned five victories and finished third in the final point standings. In 72 career events, Crampton has already earned seven wins, five no.1 qualifiers and 70 career round wins.

SealMaster, the pavement maintenance industry’s one-stop source for materials, products and equipment, will continue to back Kalitta Motorsports as Crampton’s primary sponsor. SealMaster has been a valued partner of Kalitta Motorsports family since 2014 and a primary sponsor since 2016. 

"After talking with Connie Kalitta and SealMaster, we decided Richie Crampton would make a good fit to fill the seat of the SealMaster dragster," said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. "His driving experience as well as his overall knowledge of the dragster will make him a valuable asset to Kalitta Motorsports. We were happy he was available to race in Indy." 

Crampton will make his first qualifying lap in the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster on Friday evening as he begins his trek for his second U.S. Nationals trophy. Eliminations begin on Monday, September 4th at 11:00am EST.

Alexis Wins Brainerd.jpg

DeJoria scores first win of the season; moves into top ten of the standings

Race Recap: Alexis DeJoria raced her Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry to victory at the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday. 
Along her way to the Brainerd Winners Circle, DeJoria defeated Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon, John Force and Tommy Johnson Jr. Sunday’s victory was DeJoria’s fifth career Funny Car win and eighth visit to the final round.
The Patrón Funny Car pilot qualified 10th for the Brainerd event and started race day ranked 14th in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship points system, 48 points out of the No. 10 spot. After defeating Tim Wilkerson in the first round of eliminations, DeJoria found herself in a crucial Countdown matchup with Pedregon. Both DeJoria and Pedregon are part of a fierce five-way battle for the coveted final NHRA Countdown Top 10 spot. DeJoria’s 3.883-second pass easily defeated Pedregon’s 4.505 and advanced Team Patrón to the semifinals.
DeJoria faced John Force in the semifinal round and once again, her expertly tuned Patrón Camry made another stout run (3.892) and ended the 16-time World Champion’s day.
The final round saw Team Patrón squaring off against Tommy Johnson Jr. Both drivers were quick off of the starting line but DeJoria’s 3.906-second pass was no match for Johnson Jr.’s 3.933. 
With the Brainerd victory, DeJoria has moved in to the No. 10 Countdown spot and will go into the final event of the regular season defending her Countdown to the Championship berth opportunity, rather than chasing it. DeJoria has a 12 point lead over the 11th ranked Countdown contender hopeful.
Sunday’s win also marked the first time two female drivers won a national event in the nitro categories at the same time. DeJoria shared the Winners Circle stage with Top Fuel event champion, Leah Pritchett. 

Qualified: No. 10 (3.941 sec., 327.43 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated Wilkerson - 4.416 sec., 210.05 mph to 4.650 sec., 271.13 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated Pedregon - 3.883 sec., 330.96 mph to 4.505 sec., 192.47 mph

E3: DeJoria defeated J. Force - 3.892 sec., 329.02 mph to 3.909 sec., 331.94 mph

Final: DeJoria defeated Johnson Jr. - 3.906 sec., 330.96 mph to 3.933 sec., 324.44 mph

Point Standings: 10th; leads Cruz Pedregon by 12 points for 11th

Doug Kalitta Brainerd Sunday

Kalitta locks in final Traxxas Shootout spot with Brainerd efforts

Race Recap: Despite Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team suffering a tough quarterfinal loss at Brainerd, Kalitta locked in the final Traxxas Shootout spot and will race for $100,000 in Indianapolis.

Kalitta was stout in qualifying. The Mac Tools team earned bonus points three out of the four passes down the Brainerd International Raceway surface. The most outstanding run was in the final round of qualifying as Kalitta was the quickest Top Fuel machine down the track by over three thousandths of a second.

In the first round, Kalitta faced Terry Haddock in the first round for the second straight weekend. The Mac Tools driver got the jump at the line and was clean to the stripe to score the opening round win. 

The second round saw Kalitta take on Steve Torrence. Kalitta recorded a solid .055 reaction time, but Torrence was away first. The Mac Tools machine ran the fastest it has ever run at over 332 mph, but Torrence was able to cross the line just in front of the Mac Tools ride. However, even in the loss, Kalitta ranked the highest among the non-winners and claimed the final spot in the Top Fuel version of the Traxxas Shootout. 

Qualified: No. 3 (3.694 sec., 330.31 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Haddock - 3.697 sec., 328.54 mph to 4.267 sec., 226.92 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated by Torrence - 3.709 sec., 332.10 mph to 3.723 sec., 328.30 mph

Quotable: “That is not the way we wanted to end what was a solid Brainerd weekend for the Mac Tools team. We got locked into the Traxxas Shootout, which is definitely a positive. The Mac Tools team will go to Indy and try to pick up two trophies there." 

Point Standings: Sixth; trails Brittany Force by 14 points for fifth; leads Clay Millican by 24 points for seventh

Shawn Langdon Brainerd Sunday

Langdon suffers close first round loss after qualifying struggles

Race Recap: After electrical woes cost the Global Electronic Technology team and Shawn Langdon multiple runs in qualifying, they faced a tough draw in the first round. Although they suffered a loss, they recorded a solid run that the hope leads to more consistency to come.

Qualifying did not go the way the Global Electronic Technology team would have hoped. Problems in the evening session on Friday led to the electrical issues on Saturday. The Global Electronic Technology team worked tirelessly to get the issues fixed, even firing up the machine again on Saturday evening to ensure the problem had been fixed.

Langdon would start from the 10th starting position with reigning Top Fuel Champion in the other lane. Langdon would record the second best reaction time of the session, but Brown's machine was just too much for the Global Electronic Technology dragster and he would score the win. Langdon's team recorded a solid lap in defeat despite having much less data than their opponent.

Qualified: No. 10 (3.859 sec., 265.43 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated by Brown - 3.734 sec., 318.62 mph to 3.695 sec., 331.77 mph

Quotable: "A gremlin in qualifying set us behind and put us in a bad spot in the ladder. Per the circumstances, great job by the Global Electronic Technology team. We made a great run coming out of the gate after not having a lot of information in qualifying. So to go .058 on the tree felt good, but for my team to make that 3.73 second run is a great job. Just don't seem to have any luck right now, which is a shame because you need a little luck when you are trying to get in that top ten spot. We will go get ready for Indy, and make some good runs there."

Point Standings: 11th; trails Troy Coughlin Jr. by eight points for 10th

Troy coughlin Brainerd Sunday

Coughlin Jr. and SealMaster team see progress with new chassis

Race Recap: Troy Coughlin Jr. and the SealMaster team debuted a brand new chassis for the Brainerd event, and despite the first round loss, the team feels like they made progress going into the U.S. Nationals.

The SealMaster team started the weekend with a short run to make sure all of the components were working correctly. Despite the machine failing to make a clean pass to the line in qualifying, the team learned in each pass with their new machine.

For the second straight race, Coughlin Jr's SealMaster dragster was paired with Tony Schumacher in the first round. Unfortunately, a part failure caused the parachutes to deploy nearly immediately and the SealMaster team would fall in the first round to Schumacher.

Qualified: No. 13 (4.359 sec., 179.44 mph) 

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Schumacher - 16.216 sec., 22.68 mph to 3.711 sec., 324.67 mph

Quotable: “Well, just a little more adversity. It is just a matter of time. We are going to have respond well and look at where we can improve. It is all about how you respond to the challenges and get better. We are going to look at our data and get the SealMaster Toyota ready for the U.S. Nationals." 

Point Standings: 10th; trails Scott Palmer by 73 points for ninth; leads Shawn Langdon by eight points for 11th

JR Todd Brainerd Sunday

Despite Todd's stellar efforts at the tree, DHL team loses early

Race Recap: The DHL team and J.R. Todd started qualifying strong, but was unable to continue that performance through qualifying. Despite running the quickest pass in the right lane on Sunday, Todd was defeated in the first round in Brainerd.

Todd's DHL Toyota blazed down the track in 3.937 seconds to start qualifying at Brainerd International Raceway, however, the machine failed to make another clean pass in the other three attempts and the DHL Funny Car would be bumped to ninth overall.

On Sunday, Todd was part of the final Funny Car pairing. Todd started with a stellar .052 light at the starting line, easily getting out ahead of his opponent, Ron Capps. However, Capps was able to drive back around Todd and beat him to the finish line, ending Todd's day in the first round. 

Qualified: No. 9 (3.973 sec., 323.35 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by Capps  - 3.973 sec., 323.35 mph to 3.894 sec., 330.96 mph

Quotable: "Not the weekend we were looking for. We ran good in qualifying on Friday and then struggled on Saturday. Then today, we were just down on power for some reason. Still, we were the only car to make it down the right lane, which shows something. We will go to Indy and test and get ready for the U.S. Nationals." 

Point Standings: Ninth; trails Tim Wilkerson by four points for eighth; leads Alexis DeJoria by 124 points for 10th

Doug Kalitta Brainard Sat.jpg

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 3.711 sec. at 314.68 MPH
Q2: 3.694 sec. at 330.31 MPH
Q3: 3.766 sec. at 329.75 MPH
Q4: 3.737 sec. at 326.95 MPH

Bonus Points: 5 pts. (Third best of the first session, third best of the second session, best of the final session)
Starting Position: 3rd
First Round Matchup: Terry Haddock
Quotable: “What a great way to end qualifying for the Mac Tools team. I could not be more excited about our chances tomorrow after the strong runs we made in qualifying. The goal is to come out tomorrow, go four rounds and get the first win of the season.

Shawn Langdon Brainard Sat.jpg

Shawn Langdon, driver of the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: No time; timing system malfunction
Q2: 3.859 sec. at 265.43 MPH
Q3: 9.360 sec. at 87.71 MPH
Q4: 9.330 sec. at 89.93 MPH

Starting Position: 10th
First Round Matchup: Antron Brown
Quotable: "It is frustrating. We are right at the cusp at getting into the Countdown and we keep finding these gremlins. We have an electrical issue right now in the ignition. It is not for a lack of effort; everyone on this Global Electronic Technology machine is working hard trying to figure this out. The issue cost us two runs today which is pretty unfortunate. It put us further down on the ladder than we would have liked, so we have a tough opponent, Antron, in the first round. At this point, though, we are not really worried about our opponent; we are worried about fixing our racecar."

Troy Coughlin Brainard Sat.jpg

Troy Coughlin Jr., driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 7.782 sec. at 87.00 MPH
Q2: 4.664 sec. at 157.78 MPH
Q3: 9.211 sec. at 88.40 MPH
Q4: 4.359 sec. at 179.44 MPH

Starting Position: 13th
First Round Matchup: Tony Schumacher

Quotable: "It is just a little more adversity we are going to face with this SealMaster Toyota team that we are going to use as a stepping stone to success. We face the Sarge tomorrow, and we will have a good hot rod for that matchup. It should be a great race. I have a lot of faith in Jim O, Donnie, Glen and Nick and the whole SealMaster team. They are working hard and have been through a lot so it is time to turn on some win lights."

JR Todd Brainard Sat.jpg

J.R. Todd, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car

Q1: 3.937 sec. at 327.98 MPH
Q2: 4.643 sec. at 176.63 MPH
Q3: 5.198 sec. at 143.61 MPH
Q4: 15.107 sec. at 63.64 MPH

Starting Position: 9th

First Round Matchup: Ron Capps
Quotable: "We struggled after Q1 in qualifying, but Sunday is a new day. Hopefully, that is the key to turning on four win lights starting with Ron Capps tomorrow."

Alexis DeJoria Brainard Sat.jpg

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car

Q1: 8.212 sec. at 89.25 MPH 
Q2: 3.947 sec. at 330.31 MPH
Q3: 3.941 sec. at 327.43 MPH
Q4: 8.650 sec. at 89.20 MPH

Starting Position: 10th

First Round Matchup: Tim Wilkerson

Doug Kalitta Brainerd

Kalitta plans to earn first victory of the season

Brainerd Highlights: Two wins (2005, 2003); Two finals (2014, 2000); Three No.1 qualifiers (2010, 2004, 2002)

Last Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified second; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Terry Haddock in the first round, lost to Terry McMillen in the quarterfinals)

2016 Brainerd Recap: Qualified sixth; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Morgan Lucas in the first round, lost to Brittany Force in the quarterfinals)

Quotable: “My Mac Tools team has been working very hard in this off week to get us ready for Brainerd. The place is always fast, so I know we will be strong. The goal is to score our first win of the season and I know that is within our grasp.”

Career Stats: 450 starts, 609 round wins (ninth all-time), 42 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel), 89 finals, 48 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)

2017 Season Stats: Two finals (Pomona-I, Norwalk); One no.1 qualifier (Norwalk); 20 round wins; sixth in the standings

Noteworthy: Kalitta continues to rank as the top driver in the point standings without a win; currently he is just 15 points from the top five in the standings; Kalitta officially locked his spot in the NHRA Countdown for the Championship in Seattle, his 20th straight top ten points finish; Kalitta turns 53 on Sunday; Kalitta can claim the final Traxxas Shootout spot with a win or if a previous 2017 winner claims victory in Brainerd, Kalitta would earn the final spot based on his point standing. If there is another first time winner, Kalitta would be eligible for the fan vote.

 Shawn Langdon Brainerd

Brainerd record holder Langdon looks to have another fast weekend

Brainerd Highlights: Track ET record holder (3.662 sec. - 2015)

Last Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified eighth; First round loss (Lost to Mike Salinas in the first round)

2016 Brainerd Recap (w/ DSR): Qualified second; Semifinalist (Defeated Luigi Novelli in the first round and J.R. Todd in the quarterfinals, lost to Brittany Force in the semifinals)

Quotable: “Brainerd kicks off a really neat part of the year. We are getting really close to the Countdown. It is a pivotal time for my Global Electronic Technology team to make up the points to get a spot inside the top ten. Brainerd is a great track and a great overall facility. If weather allows, it can be quick, which is the most fun for us as drivers. The Brainerd fans are awesome as well. They have a great time camping in the zoo and show us a ton of support. It is truly one of the most exciting races on tour.”

Career Stats: 197 starts, 238 round wins, 14 wins, 28 finals, 18 no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: 12 starts; Eight round wins; 11th in the point standings

Noteworthy: Joined Kalitta Motorsports from Don Schumacher Racing after Las Vegas in a full-time third Top Fuel entry; Langdon’s track record elapsed time (3.662 seconds - 2015) still holds as the third quickest pass in NHRA history; Langdon is looking to claim the last Traxxas Shootout spot, which he would earn with a win; he is not eligible for the fan vote due to missing the first four races of the season

 Troy Coughlin Jr Brainderd

Coughlin Jr. excited for Brainerd debut

Noteworthy: 17th career pro event; a candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former two-time Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former six-time NHRA champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.); part of Coughlin family with 114 career wins

Last Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified 11th; First round loss (Lost to Tony Schumacher in the first round)

Quotable: “We have a new SealMaster Toyota Bounty Hunter chassis ready to go for the weekend. I am really optimistic about what we’re jumping into. The guys have been working long hours on this car. I cannot wait to go up for Q1!”

2017 Season Stats: 16 starts; Four round wins; 10th in the point standings

Career Info: Five national event wins (Three in Super Gas, Two in Super Comp); 2013 Division III Super Gas Champion; 2015 NHRA Pro Mod Rookie of the Year; Coughlin Jr. can claim the final Traxxas Shootout spot with a win this weekend, is eligible for the fan vote

 JR Todd Brainerd

Todd desires to duplicate team's 2016 victory

Brainerd Highlights: the DHL team are the reigning Brainerd Funny Car winners

Last Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified ninth; First round loss (Lost to John Force in the first round)

2016 Brainerd Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified 10th; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Richie Crampton tin the first round, lost to Shawn Langdon in the quarterfinals)

Quotable: “Brainerd is a race a lot of us look forward to. The fans are great and extremely passionate about us being there. The track itself can be really good when the conditions are right. The 'Yella Fellas' won there last year so I am looking forward to trying to repeat." 

Career Stats: 164 starts, 161 round wins, 10 wins, 20 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 16 starts; One win (Sonoma); Two finals (Charlotte-I, Sonoma); 12 round wins)

2017 Season Stats: 16 starts; One win (Sonoma); Two finals (Charlotte-I, Sonoma); 12 round wins; ninth in the point standings

Noteworthy: With Sonoma win, became the 16th driver in NHRA history to have a Top Fuel and Funny Car win; locked into the Traxxas Shootout; first driver in Traxxas Shootout history to have competed in the Top Fuel and Funny Car shootouts

 Alexis Dejoria Brainerd

DeJoria Brainerd pre-race notes

Last Event Recap (Seattle): Qualified seventh; Quarterfinalist (Defeated Jonnie Lindberg in the first round, lost to Matt Hagan in the quarterfinals)

2016 Brainerd Recap: Did not compete due to injury

Career Stats: 128 starts; 88 round wins; Four wins; Seven finals, Four no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: 13 starts; Six round wins; 14th in the point standings

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On the Run with Ashley


Mello Yello Championship Points

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Brittany Force (2690)
2. Steve Torrence (2609)
3. Doug Kalitta (2553)
4. Antron Brown (2508)
5. Leah Pritchett (2452) 
6. Clay Millican (2419)
7. Shawn Langdon (2406)
8. Tony Schumacher (2395)
9. Terry McMillen (2310)
10. Scott Palmer (2218)


Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Robert Hight (2686)
2. Ron Capps (2588)
3. Courtney Force (2543)
4. Jack Beckman (2519)
5. Matt Hagan (2470)
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2452)
7. John Force (2388)
8. Tim Wilkerson (2296)
9. J.R. Todd (2282)
10. Cruz Pedregon (2178)