Kalitta Motorsports News

INDIANAPOLIS (April 4, 2017) –  Just days after Global Rallycross driver Alex Keyes experienced nitro for the first time, J.R. Todd completed the crossover as he stepped behind the wheel of Keyes' WIX Filters machine this morning.

At a closed test session in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Raceway, Keyes drove Todd around the prepped track before turning over the wheel completely to Todd. The NHRA veteran made two three-lap segments and was completely blown away. 

"It is pretty cool to be driving around here where we typically park our 18-wheelers when we are here racing," said Todd, driver of the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports. "It gives you a new respect for what these guys do. You are shifting gears going all the way around the course, it is a lot of fun. It is easy to go as fast as you can on the straightaways, but then you got get on the brakes to get on the corners that are always coming up. Huge thanks to Alex and the WIX Filters team for having me out." 

Blown away could also discribe Keyes' experience as he stood behind a 10,000-horsepower nitro-burning machine just days ago as Todd qualified for the Las Vegas Nationals on Friday.

"It was so sweet. I have seen NHRA on TV and I know they are fast, but it just does not do them justice," said Keyes, driver of the WIX Filters GRC Lite for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. "First off, I did not know that they ran on nitro, so I was crying a little bit. Then got to the starting line and wasn't anticipating it and I jumped. After that, I got to watch about 10 runs. When you know its coming it is sweet. You feel it through your chest and it is definitely a cool experience." 

Both are making plans to attend the other's actual events this season. Currently, Todd sits 10th in the NHRA point standings after four of 24 events, while Keyes will make his 2017 debut at the GRC season opener in Memphis at the end of the month. 
On Friday, Alex Keyes joined J.R. Todd at qualifying for the Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Gary Nastase)
Keyes said he jumped the first time he experienced nitro. (Photo: Gary Nastase)
Todd strapping aboard the WIX Filters GRC Lite machine. (Photo: Kalitta Motorsports)
WIX Filters drivers Keyes and Todd have completed the crossover and are new fans of each other's racing disciplines. (Photo: Kalitta Motorsports)

Doug Kalitta

Kalitta earns second consecutive semi-final result

Race Recap: After earning a semi-final finish at the Gatornationals, Kalitta and the Mac Tools team turned to Las Vegas where he had seen much success. However, the talented driver was still searching for his first spring Vegas win to add to his two Toyota Nationals triumphs.

Kalitta failed to make a clean pass on Friday, but the Mac Tools team more than made up for it on Saturday. They earned five of the possible six bonus points with two solid passes. The best, a 3.758, moved him all the way to third overall.

Up first was part-time driver Steve Chrisman. The Mac Tools dragster got the jump at the line and ran clean down the Strip, laying down the best run of the first session of Top Fuel.

The quarter-final draw was Clay Millican. Kalitta was on his game on the starting line as he had the best reaction time of the class in the round with a .050 in his way to another round win over a tire-smoking Millican.

The Mac Tools driver's day would end in the semi-finals in a close race with Tony Schumacher. Kalitta again earned the starting line advantage, but trailed at the finish line stripe by four thousandths of a second.

Qualified: No. 3 (3.758 sec., 318.69 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Chrisman - 3.743 sec., 326.40 mph to 4.104 sec., 248.48 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated Millican - 3.778 sec., 106.24 mph to 4.913 sec., 153.51 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Schumacher - 3.782 sec., 326.87 mph to 3.775 sec., 320.97 mph

Quotable: “Great effort by the Mac Tools Toyota team this weekend. We definitely want to get our first win of the season soon, so to not achieve that stinks. However, I am very confident in my Mac Tools guys and I know it is coming soon."

Point Standings: Fourth (-81); trails Antron Brown by 23 points for third; leads Steve Torrence by 30 for sixth

Troy Coughlin Jr

Coughlin Jr. suffers tough first round defeat

Race Recap: The SealMaster team and driver Troy Coughlin Jr. earned his fourth consecutive strong qualifying start to his rookie season. However, with issues down track, Coughlin Jr. was unable to earn his third career round win.

With a 3.790 second effort in the final round of qualifying, Coughlin Jr. started in the top half for the fourth consecutive time to start his nitro career. The SealMaster team was seeded seventh overall and a first-ever matchup with Terry McMillen.

McMillen and Coughlin Jr. left side-by-side, but Coughlin Jr. began pulling away. However, the SealMaster ride began to smoke the tires and the parachutes deployed. McMillen was also experiencing issues, but was able to his machine hooked back up. The two were separated by mere inches at the finish line, but McMillen was running over 70 mph faster, which allowed him to drive by.

Qualified: No. 7 (3.790 sec., 310.27 mph)

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by McMillen - 4.230 sec., 194.32 mph to 4.227 sec., 269.03 mph

Quotable: “I am bummed for the SealMaster Toyota guys. Just a lot of work goes into this, and having races and rounds like these is tough. I am continuing to grow and move forward. The expectations are high and something that is definitely attainable."

Point Standings: Eighth (-206); trails Clay Millican by 11 points for seventh, leads Terry McMillen by 12 points for ninth

JR Todd

Todd dealt an early loss

Race Recap: The DHL team were dealt a losing hand in the first round of Vegas Nationals eliminations earlier today.

After facing extremely treacherous track conditions at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Todd's DHL Camry was able to make two clean passes in qualifying. They opened the weekend with a solid 3.949 second run, and then closed Saturday with a better 3.936 second effort. That pass tied his teammate, Alexis DeJoria, and forced the second first round draw between the two in the first four events of the 2017 season.

Todd and DeJoria were the final pair of nitro machines to make it to the line. The duo left together, but for the second consecutive event, Todd's DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car fell to immediate tire smoke. Todd pedaled, but was unable to catch DeJoria, who was one of the few to make a clean pass to open eliminations.

Qualified: No. 9 (3.936 sec., 324.67 mph)

E1: Todd defeated by DeJoria - 9.752 sec., 77.54 mph to 4.054 sec., 320.97 mph

Quotable: "Unfortunately, a very quick way to end our Vegas trip. That was not what we were looking for with this DHL Toyota team in round one, but we will continue to get after it with this time off. I know we will be ready when the series hits our next race in Houston."

Point Standings: 10th (-198); trails Jim Campbell by 10 points for ninth; leads Tim Wilkerson by 15 points for 11th

Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria takes Vegas round win

Race Recap: The defending event champion, Alexis DeJoria and her Tequila Patrón team, started qualifying strong. Her 3.936 second qualifying effort just missed achieving bonus points and slotted her amongst the top half of the field for the second time this season. However, the draw was an unfortunate one, as DeJoria drew her teammate, J.R. Todd, in the first round for the second time in four events. She was able to drive around a tire-smoking Todd in the opening stanza with a solid pass, but her title defense ended in the second round with a red light start against veteran Gary Densham.

Qualified: No. 8 (3.936 sec., 327.27 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated Todd - 4.054 sec., 320.97 mph to 9.752 sec., 77.54 mph

E2: DeJoria defeated by Densham - Foul to 4.551 sec., 190.73 mph

Point Standings: 12th (-214); trails Tim Wilkerson by one point for 11th, leads Del Worsham by seven points for 13th

Doug Kalitta 

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 4.020 sec. at 223.25 MPH
Q2: 7.503 sec. at 115.54 MPH
Q3: 3.765 sec. at 319.60 MPH
Q4: 3.758 sec. at 318.69 MPH

Bonus Points: 5 pts. (Best of the third session, second-best of the final session)
Starting Position: 3rd
First Round Matchup: Steve Chrisman
Quotable: "Great finish today by the Mac Tools boys! This machine was strong all day, and that gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow."

Tory Coughlin

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

Q1: 3.804 sec. at 292.08 MPH
Q2: 11.131 sec. at 86.31 MPH
Q3: 4.335 sec. at 183.39 MPH
Q4: 3.790 sec. at 318.69 MPH

Starting Position: 7th
First Round Matchup: Terry McMillen
Quotable: "Stoked to finish the session with our best run of the weekend. I know the SealMaster Toyota guys will be ready for tomorrow. We have a lot of people here, and we want to run strong for them and all of our great supporters"

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

Q1: 3.949 sec. at 318.84 MPH
Q2: 7.877 sec. at 75.41 MPH
Q3: 11.393 sec. at 69.76 MPH
Q4: 3.936 sec. at 324.67 MPH

Starting Position: 9th
First Round Matchup: Alexis DeJoria
Quotable: "The track was very tricky. Not a lot of teams were making it down this weekend. We backed the DHL Toyota down to make it the last session. It was a good run, but we want to run a little quicker. We have to run Alexis in the morning, so we have to perform strong. The plan is to go out and race the track tomorrow and hopefully turn on four win lights."

Alexis Dejoria

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

Q1: 3.936 sec. at 327.27 MPH
Q2: 7.769 sec. at 80.01 MPH
Q3: 12.742 sec. at 72.03 MPH
Q4: 5.656 sec. at 124.45 MPH

Starting Position: 8th
First Round Matchup: J.R. Todd

Doug Kalitta 

Kalitta looking for first Vegas spring race win

Las Vegas Highlights: Two wins (Fall 2015, Fall 2004); Four finals (Spring 2014, Fall 2007, Spring 2005, Spring 2003); Two no.1 qualifiers (Spring 2005, Spring 2003)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified second; Semi-finalist (Defeated Ike Maier in the first round and Leah Pritchett in the quarter-finals, lost to Antron Brown in the semi-finals)

2016 Las Vegas Nationals Recap: Qualified second; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Steve Faria in the first round, lost to Dave Connolly in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: "The Mac Tools team had a solid Gatornationals, but I would really love to pick up that first win of the season this weekend in Las Vegas. The Mac Tools Toyota dragster has performed strong here in the past, and I am confident in our chances."

Career Stats: 437 starts, 594 round wins (10th all-time), 42 wins (Fifth all-time in Top Fuel), 88 finals, 47 no.1 qualifiers (13th all-time)

2017 Season Stats: One final (Pomona-I); 5 round wins; fourth in the standings

2016 Season Stats: Four wins (Houston, Atlanta, Topeka, Pomona-II); Four no.1 qualifiers (Phoenix, Atlanta, Norwalk, Charlotte-II); Two finals (Pomona-I, Charlotte-II); 44 round wins; second in the final standings

Noteworthy: With a win, Kalitta would pass Bob Glidden for ninth all-time in total round wins; Could become the ninth driver to hit 600 round wins this season; also will reach 1,000 career rounds competed early this year (currently at 989)

Troy Coughlin JR

Coughlin Jr. planning for strong Vegas debut

Noteworthy: National event win at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Super Comp in 2009 (first career national event win); Fourth career pro event; a leading candidate for Auto Club Road to Future trophy (best rookie driver); father is former Pro Mod champion (Troy Coughlin Sr.); uncle is former Pro Stock champion (Jeg Coughlin Jr.)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified sixth; Quarter-final finish (Defeated Pat Dakin in the first round, lost to Antron Brown in the quarter-finals)

Quotable: "The learning continues and what better place to get back on track than Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The SealMaster Toyota dragster is fresh and ready to go thanks to my guys."

2017 Season Stats: Three starts; Two round wins; seventh 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


Last fall's finalist, Todd desires Vegas trophy

Las Vegas Highlights: Three finals (Fall 2016, Fall 2014, Fall 2006); Two No.1 Qualifiers (Spring 2015, Fall 2014)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified seventh; First round defeat (Lost to Jonnie Lindberg in the first round)

2016 Las Vegas Nationals Recap (Top Fuel): Qualified ninth; Semi-finalist (Defeated Tony Schumacher in the first round and Steve Chrisman in the quarter-finals, lost to Troy Buff in the semi-finals)

Quotable: "Team Kalitta machines always run well in Las Vegas and we hope to keep the trend going with the DHL Toyota Camry."

Career Stats: 151 starts, 151 round wins, 9 wins, 19 finals, 9 no.1 qualifiers (Funny Car stats: 3 starts, 2 round wins)

2017 Season Stats: Three starts; Two round wins; Ninth in the point standings

2016 Season Stats: One win (Sonoma); Three finals (Atlanta, Norwalk, Chicago); One no.1 qualifier (Pomona-II); 37 round wins; fourth in the finals standings

Noteworthy: Attempting to become the 16th driver in NHRA history with a Top Fuel and Funny Car win; DHL celebrating 10th season of NHRA sponsorship

Media Availability & Special Guest: On Thursday, Todd will be a part of the Las Vegas pre-race Press Conference at Joe's Seafood, Steak and Stone Crab. On Friday, Todd will welcome GRC star Alex Keyes to Las Vegas. Todd and Keyes are participating in a crossover event with Todd making laps in a GRC machine the following Tuesday.

 Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria Las Vegas pre-race notes

Las Vegas Highlights: Reigning event champion; Two wins (Spring 2016, Spring 2014)

Last Event Recap (Gainesville): Qualified 11th; First round defeat (Lost to Ron Capps in the first round)

2016 Las Vegas Nationals Recap: Qualified sixth; Event Winner (Defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round, Robert Hight in the quarter-finals, John Force in the semi-final and Del Worsham in the final )

Career Stats: 119 starts, 82 round wins, 4 wins, 7 finals, 4 no.1 qualifiers

2017 Season Stats: Three starts; 12th in the point standings

2016 Season Stats: One win (Las Vegas-I); One semi-final (Bristol); One No. 1 qualifier (Charlotte-I); 13 round wins; 10th in the final standings

Doug Kalitta 

Kalitta advances to the semis

Race Recap: After a quick end to his Arizona Nationals, Kalitta was hoping for a big rebound in Gainesville.

He succeeded in qualifying by earning two bonus points and running a 3.6 second pass for the third consecutive race to start the season. He just missed out on his first no.1 qualifier of the season as the Mac Tools driver was seeded in the second spot.

First up was Ike Maier. Maier was making his first start of the season and the Mac Tools team was focused on running strong. They did just that by running the low elapsed time of the first session to give Kalitta lane choice over the points leader, Leah Pritchett, in the second round.

Billed as the marquee match-up, they were the last pair to see the track in the second round. Kalitta moved first in the Mac Tools dragster and took that advantage to the stripe defeating Pritchett on the holeshot for her first round loss of the season.

In the semi-finals, Kalitta's Mac Tools Toyota again got the advantage early, but the defending champion Antron Brown was able to get by before the finish line ending Kalitta's day in the semi-finals.

Qualified: No. 2 (3.698 sec., 328.78 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Maier - 3.706 sec., 328.70 mph to 3.929 sec., 289.69 mph

E2: Kalitta defeated Pritchett - 3.754 sec., 325.14 mph to 3.738 sec., 323.97 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated by Brown - 3.738 sec., 327.03 mph to 3.719 sec., 326.24 mph

Quotable: “Solid day for this Mac Tools team. Wanted the win, but today was not our day. I am confident in our set-up, and I am excited to get back on track in Vegas and try to pick up the trophy there."

Point Standings: Fourth (-80); trails Antron Brown by 23 points for third; leads Steve Torrence by 30 for sixth

Troy Coughlin 

Coughlin Jr. has tough end to Gatornationals debut

Race Recap: Coughlin Jr.'s weekend started on the top of the pile as the driver of the SealMaster Toyota claimed three bonus points as he led the first session of Gatornationals qualifying. He would go on to earn two more bonus points and earn the sixth starting spot for the third consecutive race to start his nitro career.

The SealMaster Toyota driver would face Pat Dakin for the first time in the opening round. Dakin went early yielding the win light to Coughlin Jr., who tore down the track in 3.724 seconds.

Next up was the reigning Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. Coughlin left with Brown and was ahead before the SealMaster machine made a big move forcing Coughlin Jr. off of the throttle. The car would make minor contact with the wall, but Coughlin Jr. was okay.

Qualified: No. 6 (3.738 sec., 328.86 mph)

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated Dakin - 3.724 sec., 322.42 mph to Foul

E2: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Brown - DQ to 3.787 sec., 321.42 mph

Quotable: “It was a pretty decent weekend. I am getting more laps; I am uncovering things that I haven't experienced yet, so I am learning. We had a great first run in the SealMaster Toyota. Took on Antron, the former champ, in the second. Felt optimistic about it, was trying to go a .72 or a .73. We had the lead at the eighth mile, and then the car made a large move to the left and went over and tagged the guardrail. The SealMaster Toyota has a little mark on it, but we will buff it out."

Point Standings: Seventh (-157); trails Steve Torrence by 42 points for sixth, leads Shawn Reed by seven points for eighth

JR Todd 

Solid qualifying effort for Todd derailed by mechanical issue

Race Recap: After earning his second Funny Car round win in Phoenix, Todd and the DHL team were focused on going even further in the season's third race.

Co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith tuned Todd to another career-best pass in the second session on Friday with a 3.871 second pass at over 332MPH. That pass earned Todd his second straight top half start. His first round opponent was first-time competitor Jonnie Lindberg.

Todd would get the jump at the tree, but the DHL Toyota suffered immediate tire smoke due to another mechanical woe. This time, they blew a o-ring in the cannon pressure line, which allowed clutch to engage way before the tune-up dictated. Todd attempted to pedal the machine to catch Lindberg, however, it was not enough as Lindberg was able to achieve his first round win.

Qualified: No. 7 (3.871 sec., 332.51 mph) **CAREER-BEST ET & MPH**

E1: Todd defeated by Lindberg - 10.000 sec., 74.70 mph to 4.735 sec., 187.05 mph

Quotable: "Tough way to end the weekend, especially when it is mechanical woes again. This DHL Camry has a gremlin that I know these guys will get a hold of here, but it is never fun to be out early. We will make a couple laps tomorrow and then get ready for Vegas."

Point Standings: Ninth (-170); trails Jack Beckman by six points for eighth; leads Tim Wilkerson by 21 points for 10th

Alexis DeJoria 

DeJoria suffers tough first round loss

Race Recap: DeJoria and the Tequila Patrón team was solid throughout qualifying. The Tommy DeLago and Nicky Boninfante-tuned Toyota Camry was the only Funny Car to make four sub-four second passes. Her best, a 3.928, earned her the 11th starting spot.

Her first foe was reigning champion Ron Capps. DeJoria left the starting line first, and ran another good pass but Capps was just able to drive around her before the finish line.

Qualified: No. 11 (3.928 sec., 327.98 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated by Capps - 3.925 sec., 328.46 mph to 3.895 sec., 330.96 mph

Point Standings: 12th (-207); trails Del Worsham by 15 points for 11th, leads Cruz Pedregon by six points for 13th

Doug Kalitta

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Q1: 4.436 sec. at 175.52 MPH
Q2: 3.698 sec. at 328.78 MPH
Q3: 3.753 sec. at 324.20 MPH
Q4: 4.420 sec. at 178.19 MPH

Bonus Points: 3 pts. (Second best of the second session, third best of the third session)
Starting Position: 2nd
First Round Matchup: Ike Maier
Quotable: "Solid qualifying effort for the Mac Tools team. We are feeling good with our setup selections for tomorrow and hope to go rounds. My Mac Tools guys are working hard and we would love to claim another Gatornationals Wally."

Tory Coughlin

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

Q1: 3.748 sec. at 327.03 MPH
Q2: 3.747 sec. at 306.88 MPH
Q3: 5.635 sec. at 113.83 MPH
Q4: 3.738 sec. at 328.86 MPH

Bonus Points: 5 pts. (Best of the first session, second best of the final session)
Starting Position: 6th
First Round Matchup: Pat Dakin
Quotable: "I think the bonus points are the work of the SealMaster Toyota guys. They are working hard. They have this thing dialed in. I am gaining experience and getting in some new situations which is going to be huge in the long run. I feel really good and optimistic for tomorrow. The guys are working really hard. We will put a little more nitro and Red Line in it, and be ready for tomorrow."
Note: The 328.86 MPH from the final session reset Coughlin's career-best MPH and is the top speed in Top Fuel on the weekend.

JR Todd

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

Q1: 3.913 sec. at 325.77 MPH
Q2: 3.871 sec. at 332.51 MPH
Q3: 4.475 sec. at 177.67 MPH
Q4: 4.901 sec. at 160.48 MPH

Starting Position: 7th
First Round Matchup: Jonnie Lindberg
Quotable: "We were trying some things today, so basically testing, so we know what we can't do tomorrow with this DHL Toyota. I think we are in good shape for raceday. I think we can run with the guys in front of us for sure."
Note: The 3.871 second pass at 332.51 MPH in the second Friday qualifying session reset both of Todd's career-bests.

Alexis DeJoria

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

Q1: 3.965 sec. at 324.75 MPH
Q2: 3.963 sec. at 305.84 MPH
Q3: 3.928 sec. at 327.98 MPH
Q4: 3.963 sec. at 326.40 MPH

Bonus Points: 2 pts. (Second best of the third session)
Starting Position: 11th
First Round Matchup: Ron Capps

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Mello Yello Championship Points

Top Fuel (Unofficial)

1. Antron Brown (1418)
2. Steve Torrence (1405)
3. Leah Pritchett (1329)
4. Tony Schumacher (1064)
5. Brittany Force (992) 
6. Doug Kalitta (977)
7. Clay Millican (937)
8. Terry McMillen (690)
9. Scott Palmer (606)
10. Troy Coughlin Jr. (560)
11. Shawn Langdon (536)

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (1330)
2. Robert Hight (1164)
3. Matt Hagan (1152)
4. Jack Beckman (1104)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1081)
6. Courtney Force (951)
7. John Force (877)
8. Tim Wilkerson (759)
9. J.R. Todd (756)
10. Cruz Pedregon (601)
14. Alexis DeJoria (552)