Kalitta groups prep for season opener with profitable outing in Gainesville check session

Some say preparation plus planning equals success, and if that’s the case, Kalitta Motorsports might very effectively be headed for a wonderful season of NHRA Tenting World Drag Racing.

The 2023 season begins with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals March 10-12 at historic Gainesville Raceway in Florida, however the three-car Kalitta crew was there the second week of February to arrange.

For the Mac Instruments Prime Gas crew, pushed by four-time Gatornationals winner Doug Kalitta, the check session was a possibility to check out a brand new cover the crew is contemplating racing for the primary time this season. Whereas preliminary outcomes had been constructive with a finest run of three.675 at 308.78 mph, the crew will proceed gathering information when it checks instantly previous to the Gatornationals.

“The cover was good,” Kalitta stated. “Visibility is nice, it is quiet, which is among the issues lots of people say. We’ve some issues to work on to verify it is proper for us, and we’re engaged on these issues within the store. We’re attempting to make it work higher for our crew, and we’ll have a possibility to attempt it out once more on Wednesday proper earlier than the primary race. Alan and Brian [co-crew chiefs Alan Johnson and Brian Husen] like what they noticed and do not suppose the cover goes to harm something, however we sit up for attempting it out once more after we get again right down to Florida.

“We made seven runs, and so far as the occasions, efficiency and what the automotive was doing, it was actually pleased,” the 49-time race winner added. “If the automotive is pleased, you recognize Alan and Brian are pleased with how the automotive was reacting. The response from these guys was very, very encouraging. This course of is only a crew effort; guys feed off each other. I’m tremendous excited as a result of attempting to go rounds and win races isn’t straightforward, however I believe if we are able to put up the numbers that it appeared like we must always have the ability to run, hopefully constantly, we needs to be in a fairly great place.”

The DHL Humorous Automotive wanted simply 3.866 seconds to achieve the end line at 332.34 mph in J.R. Todd’s finest run of preseason testing. The 2018 NHRA Humorous Automotive champion reached the ultimate spherical as soon as and made 4 semifinal appearances, however the crew didn’t win a race in 2022. Todd, together with co-crew chiefs Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer, left testing feeling good about what they completed and what hopefully lies forward.

“Yeah, testing was good,” Todd stated. “A very powerful factor is we unloaded a brand-new Toyota Supra physique, and it positively confirmed some actually good indicators. In all of our makes an attempt and runs, the early numbers had been good. For I do not understand how lengthy, we bought our butts kicked within the early half of the run, and it is simply arduous to make that up on the different finish, so I really feel like we’re heading in the right direction to selecting up that efficiency within the early half and enhancing from there. The automotive positively confirmed that in testing.

“We made a pair mid-3.80 runs that present promise going into the beginning of the season. For me, testing is about simply knocking the rust off. However the crew as a complete, we positively tried some elements and items that we did not run final 12 months, so it was a useful check for positive.”

For 2013 NHRA Prime Gas champion Shawn Langdon and co-crew chiefs Jason McCulloch, Kurt Elliott, and Ronnie Thompson, this check session was about working via some points that plagued the crew final season. Whereas Langdon and the DHL/CMR dragster crew reached two ultimate rounds final 12 months, the crew didn’t attain the winner’s circle, however they made offseason progress in therapeutic what ailed the crew final season. Their finest testing run was 3.727 seconds at 293 mph.

“We examined for 4 days however solely bought two due to the climate, however we had been capable of make a bunch of excellent runs,” Langdon stated. “We had been capable of work on the issues we have not been doing effectively and had been capable of see some good outcomes, in order that was good. We had been capable of get our early incremental numbers to the place we felt they need to have been, so we had a really, superb check.

“In drag racing, the whole lot is momentum primarily based; the faster you’ll be able to rise up to hurry, the quicker you will go on the end line. So, our primary focus has been attempting to get the automotive to speed up higher down low and having the facility degree up with the correct amount of clutch. We had been capable of do a few issues we felt had been lacking final 12 months.”

For all three of Connie Kalitta’s groups, if preparation plus planning does certainly equal success, the 2023 NHRA Tenting World Drag Racing Collection season could possibly be enjoyable to look at.

pictures by Thomas Gaines

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