Heading into the final race of the season Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Toyota team will bring the confidence of being one of the winningest Top Fuel drivers at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona with them to the track. The 49-time Top Fuel winner has recorded six of those victories at the track located under the snow-capped mountains of Southern California. Kalitta has wrapped up the season with a win twice at the Auto Club Finals getting the last win light of the season in 2019 and 2016. He has also recorded two additional runner-up finishes in 2013 and 1999.
“I love racing at Pomona and we have had some great wins there at the Winternationals and the Auto Club Finals,” said Kalitta. “Getting another win this weekend would be a good way to end the season and head into the off-season with some momentum. We have been making a lot of changes and improvements all season. This would be a great weekend to see it all come together.”
Only Hall of Famer Don Garlits and 8-time world champion Tony Schumacher can match Kalitta with six wins at Pomona. Kalitta raced to five consecutive final rounds at the season opening Winternationals from 2016-2020, a record for the event, collecting three wins in a row from 2018-2020.
This season Kalitta has had several high points has he has maintained his position in the Top Ten. He was No. 1 qualifier at the Arizona Nationals, the 50th of his impressive career. The Michigan resident has recorded two No. 1s at the Auto Club Finals in 2006 and 2004. Two semifinal finishes in the Countdown this year buoyed the team as the season wound down.
“We started to get the consistency we were looking for once the Countdown got started,” said Kalitta, who has finished in the Top Ten every season of his professional career which started in 1998. “(Crew chiefs) Alan Johnson and Brian Husen have been great and we just had a lot to overcome this season. I am proud of how no one gave up and we came ready to win every single race.”
Last Saturday night before the Auto Club Finals Connie Kalitta and Doug along with the entire Kalitta Motorsports organization were honored by A Kid Again, during a special fundraising event “Adventure Takes Flight” at the Kalitta Air hangar in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Since the launch of the partnership between A Kid Again and Kalitta Motorsports just 18 months ago, A Kid Again has grown from serving 2,500 families in Ohio and Indiana, to now serving more than 11,000 families in all fifty states.
“Kalitta Motorsports has been instrumental in helping A Kid Again reach more families across the country, creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for them at the drag races and connecting us with their incredible partners,” said Cassy Sleeper, A Kid Again Director of Strategic Partnerships. “Team Kalitta has been at the forefront of fueling Adventures and giving families across the country a time out from childhood illness. We are beyond grateful and proud to honor Connie, Doug and Team Kalitta for the thousands of priceless smiles and life-long memories they have made possible for so many deserving families through their generosity.”
Before the Michigan chapter began in 2021, the national expansion team including Sleeper and Kathy Greene Derr were working primarily with corporations, hospitals and nonprofit partners to bring A Kid Again to Michigan. Team Kalitta stepped up in a very big way, when they didn’t have to, to give these families the chance to race like A Kid Again at races across the country including Charlotte, Norwalk, Indianapolis, Houston and Dallas.
Kalitta and the Mac Tools team will have four qualifying runs this weekend and with points and a half available on race day a move up the point standings is a strong possibility. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. with FS1 broadcasting the race nationally.
2021 Auto Club Finals Highlights: Qual. No. 10; Beat Josh Hart; Lost to Steve Torrence
Last Event Recap 2022 Nevada Nationals: Qual. 8; Lost to Antron Brown
Career Stats: 565 events, 558 starts, 739 round wins, 49 wins, 107 finals, 51 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Arizona Nationals: Qual. 1; Lost to Rob Passey
Gatornationals: Qual 5; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Las Vegas1: Qual 6; Lost to Leah Pruett and Shawn Langdon
Houston: Qual 3; Lost to Billy Torrence
Charlotte1: Qual 4; Beat Alex Laughlin, Doug Foley; Lost to Mike Salinas, Cameron Ferre
Richmond: Qual 6; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Austin Prock
Epping: Qual 4; Beat Cameron Ferre; Lost to Shawn Langdon
Bristol: Qual 12; Lost to Brittany Force
Norwalk: Qual. No. 6; Beat Antron Brown; Lost to Mike Salinas
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Josh Hart
Sonoma: Qual. 2; Beat Ron August, Josh Hart; Lost to Mike Salinas
Seattle: Qual. 4; Beat Alex Laughlin; Lost to Leah Pruett
Topeka: Qual. 5; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Brainerd: Qual. 10; Lost to Tony Schumacher
Indianapolis: Qual. 12; Beat Clay Millican, Mike Salinas; Lost to Brittany Force
Reading: Qual. 7; Beat Leah Pruett; Lost to Justin Ashley
Charlotte2: Qual. 5; Beat Shawn Langdon, Mike Salinas; Lost to Justin Ashley
St. Louis: Qual. 4; Beat Doug Foley, Brittany Force; Lost to Steve Torrence
Dallas: Qual. 7; Lost to Justin Ashley
Las Vegas2: Qual. 8; Lost to Antron Brown
Kalitta Motorsports PR