Kalitta Still In Title Hunt Heading Into NHRA Finals Eliminations

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Doug Kalitta laid down his best qualifying pass of the weekend with a 3.717-second run in Saturday’s final round to jump up to sixth and keep his Top Fuel championship hopes alive heading into tomorrow’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Kalitta, who has won three of the last six Top Fuel events in Pomona, including February’s Winternationals, will open Sunday’s actions with Terry McMillen. 

The key to Kalitta’s championship run may ride with fellow Toyota Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, who qualified ninth with a 3.729. Brown is in a position to face both drivers currently ahead of Kalitta in the point standings, opening Sunday’s eliminations with second-place Brittany Force. Should he defeat her, he would likely face point leader and pole-sitter Steve Torrence in round two.  

Richie Crampton rounded out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent by qualifying 13th. He will take on Mike Salinas in the opening round.

Shawn Langdon continued his breakout Funny Car season by qualifying fourth with a 3.893-second run on Friday night. In just his second season in Funny Car, the 2013 Top Fuel world champion has won a pair of races this year, including a Countdown win in St. Louis. He’s also now qualified in the top five in back-to-back events. He will race Jeff Arend in eliminations.

J.R. Todd, who wrapped up the 2018 Funny Car world championship with a win last November at Pomona, placed tenth and will square off with Tommy Johnson Jr. in round one.

John Hale qualified 15th and will face championship contender Jack Beckman in his opening run.

Tomorrow’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event coverage kicks off on FS1 with Sunday Live at 3:00 p.m., followed by the NHRA Finals eliminations scheduled at 4:00 p.m. (all times ET).

Toyota DriversNHRA Finals Qualifying
Funny Car Starting Position (Opponent)
Shawn Langdon4th (Arend)
J.R. Todd10th (Johnson)
John Hale15th (Beckman)
Top FuelStarting Position (Opponent)
Doug Kalitta6th (McMillen)
Antron Brown9th (Force)
Richie Crampton13th (Salinas)

Toyota Session-by-Session Qualifying

Funny CarQ1 Time/SpeedQ2 Time/SpeedQ3 Time/SpeedQ4 Time/Speed
Langdon6.277/107.323.893/330.80 (2)6.123/112.594.200/224.36
HaleNo runNo run5.288/142.914.345/221.05
Top Fuel    
Kalitta5.153/133.96 3.903.325.613.797/326.243.717/324.28
Brown5.007/144.603.729/330.07 3.762/324.593.776/324.36

(#) – Bonus Points Earned 

Bold = Driver’s quickest pass during qualifying 

Toyota Racing PR

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