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Kalitta Makes It Three In Row

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 22 2016
Doug Kalitta continued his winning ways on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Doug Kalitta continued his winning ways on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)


Doug Kalitta hit a triple on Sunday.

Kalitta defeated Antron Brown in a peddle-fest to win the Top Fuel final at today’s NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka and it gave the Kalitta Motorsports driver a third straight victory.

The victory also padded Kalitta’s points lead in Top Fuel.

Also earning victories Sunday were Matt Hagan in Funny Car and Jason Line in Pro Stock.

Kalitta defeated Rob Passey, Clay Millican and Steve Torrence to set up his final round match-up with Don Schumacher Racing’s Brown in a battle between the top two drivers in the championship race.

In the final, both cars smoked their tires early and each got sideways, but it was Kalitta who got his car straightened out first and went on to register the win.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the final,” said Kalitta, “I was probably more sideways than I’ve ever been in a Top Fuel car and kept going. It straightened itself out and I was just real fortunate to get this win. You just take what you can get as quickly as you can do it.  Fortunately, I got there just a little quicker than Antron. It was exciting.”

It was Kalitta’s second win at Topeka and 41st victory of his career. Kalitta finished with a performance of 5.452 seconds at 238.85 mph, while Brown’s posted a 5.687 at 298.60.

“These wins don’t come easy, I’m just real happy to do it here.  I’m proud of our guys and the opportunity I’ve got right now.  We just keep winning rounds and doing what we’re doing. This is a really good car and this is a really good team.  This team is gelling really well. It’s all the little things that just keep adding up.”

Brown ran a gauntlet of three fellow Toyota drivers on the day, first knocking off J.R. Todd in the opening round, then Richie Crampton in the semi-finals before meeting up with Kalitta. In addition, he defeated pole-sitter Brittany Force in the second round.

“It’s not what we wanted, for sure,” said Brown, who became just the ninth driver in Mello Yello Series history to reach 100 final rounds. “The track looked like it was better. I was just trying to give it all we’ve got and hit it a little bit earlier than what they did. I just didn’t keep my car straight enough in the groove to really get back on it sooner.

“To lose out there by two tenths, it breaks you down. We’ve worked so hard for this one and we just wanted to bring it home. We came up on him at the big end. So they got a little bit further down the track so we came up a little bit short. But all in all, these last five races have been good. We’ve been to the semifinals or further. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and keep plugging away.”

Also winning in a pedal fest was Hagan.

The Don Schumacher Racing driver lost traction early in the Funny Car final round, but managed to get on and off the throttle just enough to finish in front of Jack Beckman in a rematch of the Atlanta final last weekend.

Hagan stopped the clocks in 5.724 at 179.04, while Beckman’s Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger also smoked the tires on the run and trailed with a 6.560 at 146.75. It was Hagan’s second consecutive victory of the season, 20th career win and his first ever at Topeka.

“It was wild,” Hagan said of the final round. “It’s important to put everything in perspective. We set world records for E.T and speed and then to come back out here to win this race is a tribute to my guys and their hard work. My butt was puckered pretty good on that last run.”

Hagan swerved very close to the center line two times during the final, and although it took only a little more than five seconds, the run must’ve seemed like an eternity in the car that on Friday covered the same distance in a national record time of 3.862 seconds.

Hagan beat Brian Stewart, Robert Hight and Courtney Force en route to the final round, his first-ever at Heartland Park. He used a consistently quick car that posted low 3.9-second runs to win those rounds. In the final, he had to employ a different strategy.

In Pro Stock, Line captured his fifth win of the season in his eighth consecutive final round appearance, outrunning Ken Black Racing teammate Greg Anderson in the final round.

Line finished in 6.664 at 207.85 in his  Chevy Camaro, while Anderson’s Summit Racing Camaro trailed with a 6.687 at 207.02. It was Line’s first Topeka victory and the 42nd win of his career.

“It was the perfect weekend,” said Line, who outran Mark Hogan, defending world champ Erica Enders and Shane Gray to advance to the final from the No. 1 qualifying spot. “It was an exciting weekend for me and we didn’t mess it up. It’s a big deal to me. It’s nice to win at someplace you’ve never done well. I really can’t stop smiling right now. There were times I had good cars here but didn’t drive well. This weekend everything came together.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues June 3-5 with the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.


TOPEKA, Kan. — Final finish order (1-16) at the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.  The race is the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.


  1. Doug Kalitta; 2.  Antron Brown; 3.  Steve Torrence; 4.  Richie Crampton; 5.  Tony Schumacher; 6.  Shawn Langdon; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Clay Millican; 9.  J.R. Todd; 10.  Scott Palmer; 11. Terry McMillen; 12.  Rob Passey; 13.  Luigi Novelli; 14.  Terry Haddock; 15.  Smax Smith.


  1. Matt Hagan; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Courtney Force; 4.  Tim Wilkerson; 5.  Robert Hight; 6. Alexis DeJoria; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8.  Del Worsham; 9.  John Force; 10.  Bob Tasca III; 11. Brian Stewart; 12.  John Hale; 13.  Chad Head; 14.  Ron Capps; 15.  Dale Creasy Jr.; 16.  Cruz Pedregon.


  1. Jason Line; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Allen Johnson; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Bo Butner; 6.  Alex Laughlin; 7.  Erica Enders; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Aaron Strong; 10.  Chris McGaha; 11.  Deric Kramer; 12.  Drew Skillman; 13.  Jeg Coughlin; 14.  Dave River; 15.  V. Gaines; 16.  Mark Hogan.

Sunday’s final results:

op Fuel — Doug Kalitta, 5.452 seconds, 238.85 mph  def. Antron Brown, 5.687 seconds, 298.60 mph.

Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 5.724, 179.04  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 6.560, 146.75.

Pro Stock — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.664, 207.85  def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.687, 207.02.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Joey Severance, 5.327, 270.27  def. Megan Meyer, 5.445, 263.20.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Jeff Jones, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.676, 258.32  def. Clint Thompson, Chevy Camaro, 5.576, 260.86.

Super Stock — Justin Jenkins, Chevy Cobalt, 9.755, 130.52  def. Mike Cotten, Plymouth Barracuda, 10.146, 126.15.

Stock Eliminator — Trista Fenner, Chevy Nova, 10.683, 121.52  def. Brenda Grubbs, Chevy Camaro, 10.425, 122.86.

Super Comp — Austin Williams, Dragster, 8.938, 155.06  def. Mike Green, Dragster, 8.885, 175.09

Super Gas — Bruce Johnson, Chevy Camaro, 9.921, 161.46  def. Duane Kohl, Chevy Corvette, 9.932, 160.96.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Scott Javers, Chevy Camaro, 6.815, 204.23  def. Curt Harshfield, Chevy, 7.017, 188.81.


Final round-by-round results from the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:


ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 3.783, 320.74 def. Terry McMillen, 3.984, 245.58; Tony Schumacher, 3.748, 327.90 def. Luigi Novelli, Broke; Richie Crampton, 4.033, 218.72 def. Terry Haddock, Broke; Brittany Force, 3.707, 326.24 was unopposed; Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 287.23 def. Rob Passey, 14.800, 34.25; Steve Torrence, 3.800, 324.12 def. Smax Smith, Broke; Shawn Langdon, 3.915, 242.71 def. Scott Palmer, 3.940, 311.70; Antron Brown, 3.723, 319.82 def. J.R. Todd, 3.767, 322.96; QUARTERFINALS — Torrence, 3.770, 324.59 def. Langdon, 4.037, 248.84; Kalitta, 3.796, 325.61 def. Millican, 6.533, 89.42; Crampton, 3.781, 317.34 def. Schumacher, 3.782, 320.20; Brown, 3.753, 315.64 def. Force, Foul – Red Light; SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.757, 329.10 def. Torrence, 3.840, 314.46; Brown, 3.784, 313.95 def. Crampton, 9.335, 76.58; FINAL — Kalitta, 5.452, 238.85 def. Brown, 5.687, 298.60.


ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.935, 325.45 def. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.086, 314.53; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.943, 325.69 def. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 4.065, 313.15; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.933, 327.19 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.311, 239.19; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.943, 324.44 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.004, 305.29; Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.963, 321.81 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.188, 268.06; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.953, 327.27 def. John Force, Camaro, 3.951, 328.70; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.006, 319.60 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 9.397, 79.86; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.926, 329.67 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.242, 229.90;

QUARTERFINALS — Wilkerson, 3.972, 324.44 def. Worsham, 5.624, 141.82; Beckman, 3.956, 316.75 def. Johnson Jr., 4.045, 309.34; Hagan, 3.942, 323.81 def. Hight, 3.963, 325.37; C. Force, 3.961, 324.05 def. DeJoria, 3.981, 318.69; SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 3.936, 324.20 def. Wilkerson, broke; Hagan, 3.951, 324.05 def. C. Force, 10.747, 80.24; FINAL — Hagan, 5.724, 179.04 def. Beckman, 6.560, 146.75.


ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Dodge Dart, 6.718, 205.19 def. Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.655, 208.20 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.748, 204.66 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.693, 207.24; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.653, 207.91 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.746, 205.07; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.645, 207.66 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.789, 205.32; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.683, 206.57 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.777, 202.42; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.647, 208.30 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.905, 198.67; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.653, 206.89 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.696, 205.76;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 6.676, 207.02 def. Butner, 6.716, 199.37; Gray, 6.664, 207.15 def. Laughlin, 6.719, 206.48; Line, 6.661, 207.85 def. Enders, 6.725, 204.98; Anderson, 6.660, 206.61 def. Nobile, 6.738, 205.26; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.670, 207.43 def. Gray, 7.725, 135.16; Anderson, 6.672, 206.67 def. Johnson, 7.317, 144.18; FINAL — Line, 6.664, 207.85 def. Anderson, 6.687, 207.02.


Point standings (top 10) following the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Doug Kalitta, 710; 2.  Antron Brown, 615; 3.  Brittany Force, 580; 4.  Steve Torrence, 557; 5. (tie) Clay Millican, 440; J.R. Todd, 440; 7.  Richie Crampton, 418; 8.  Tony Schumacher, 403; 9. Shawn Langdon, 346; 10.  Terry McMillen, 310.

Funny Car

  1. Courtney Force, 601; 2.  Jack Beckman, 589; 3.  Tim Wilkerson, 554; 4.  Matt Hagan, 511; 5. Robert Hight, 510; 6.  Ron Capps, 504; 7.  Del Worsham, 485; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 451; 9.  John Force, 448; 10.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 404.

Pro Stock

  1. Jason Line, 942; 2.  Greg Anderson, 816; 3.  Bo Butner, 614; 4.  (tie) Allen Johnson, 465; Drew Skillman, 465; 6.  Chris McGaha, 427; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 346; 8.  Erica Enders, 341; 9.  Jeg Coughlin, 339; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 327.
| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 22 2016
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