Kalitta wins Winternationals

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team scored an opening race win this evening at the NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

In qualifying, Kalitta earned bonus points in three of the four sessions, and was consistent throughout. He was able to earn the fifth starting spot, which meant his teammate, Richie Crampton, in the first round.

Kalitta and Crampton were both stellar on the tree, as they recorded the top two reaction times of the session. Crampton had issues nearly immediately, and Kalitta was skating away before a big blowup before the finish line. Kalitta was able to still score the win, but it left a lot of work for the Mac Tools team.

He moved on to the second round. This time it was clean. Kalitta earned the best reaction time of the round, and led from the start to the finish as the Mac Tools ride got to the finish line in 3.760 seconds, which was enough to defeat Scott Palmer.

Kalitta moved to the semi-finals, and his foe was the new national record holder Clay Millican. Kalitta again got a solid advantage at the starting line. However, the Mac Tools machine quickly dropped a cylinder. Kalitta stayed with it and was able to score the round win to move to his third straight Winternationals final round. It was his fourth final in Pomona in the last five events and tenth final at Auto Club Raceway of Pomona.

His opponent for the 17th time in the final round was Tony Schumacher. Doug was unfazed, and crew chief Jim Oberhofer proved to have the right tune up as Schumacher had issues, and Kalitta’s Mac Tools machine was clean to the finish line.

It was Doug Kalitta’s 44th career win in his 92nd final. It allows Kalitta to start the season atop of the point standings, and give the Mac Tools driver his second Winternationals win.

Qualified: No. 5  (3.703 sec., 330.15 mph)

E1: Kalitta defeated Crampton – 4.121 sec., 217.56 mph to 4.234 sec., no speed given

E2: Kalitta defeated Palmer – 3.760 sec., 329.18 mph to 3.832 sec., 323.27 mph

E3: Kalitta defeated Millican – 3.866 sec., 307.58 mph to 4.860 sec., 145.02 mph

Final: Kalitta defeated Schumacher – 3.779 sec., 324.28 mph to 4.715 sec., 145.93 mph

Quotable: “To get the first win of the season and get that monkey off your back is huge. It was kind of a lucky day. Our Mac Tools Toyota dragster coasted across the finish line twice, but we were still getting the win light. It was one of those crazy days and we went through a lot of parts, but we got it done.”

“I can’t give enough credit to, not only the guys on my car, but to the entire team. The Kalitta Air guys all pitched in and we needed them. It was a thrash to make to at least three of the four rounds. It was just a great team effort.”

“We love coming here to Pomona with all of the history of this place growing up with Connie. This was a big deal. It’s just a great place to run.”

“My guys have a lot of work to do to prepare for Phoenix. We blew up a lot of stuff. They’ll be working right up until Phoenix, to get everything fresh again. But we’ll be ready. We’ll go there and see if we can qualify upfront and get another win.”

Point Standings: First, leads Tony Schumacher by 17

Team Kalitta PR

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