First off I would like to thank all of you who sent well wishes to my wife Tammy…I passed them on to her and I know she thanks you all for thinking of her! I hope that your spring weather is better than the spring weather we are having here in Ypsilanti, as we are having snow flurries to go along with the 30 degree temps…lovely! It’s time for it to warm up here! Speaking of warm weather…Gainesville was a pretty good race for Team Kalitta, and hopefully it will be a springboard for the rest of 2013!
In the competitive Top Fuel World…Doug and his Mac Tools Team had another good weekend of qualifying, as Doug ended up qualifying in the number one spot for the second race in a row! The last qualifying session was cool as Doug went into that session as the number one qualifier with a 3.80, but Antron Brown…who ran right in front of us…ran a 3.78 and took the number one spot from Doug. After seeing the number one spot taken from us…we made a few adjustments and took it back, as Doug ran a 3.77 at 326 mph…what a cool deal that was! Grubby and his Optima Batteries/Advanced Auto Parts Dragster…made some good consistent runs, with a 3.84 at 319 mph being his best, which put Grubby in the number 11 spot and set up a first round race with Spencer Massey.
In Kalitta Funny Car World…both the DHL and Patron Toyota Funny Car Teams went into the Gainesville race with a different plan of attack. That plan seemed to payoff as Del qualified in the number five spot with a 4.10 at 309 mph, and Alexis ended up 10th with a 4.12 at 306 mph. On Alexis’ last qualifying pass…the Tequila Patron Toyota was on a great pass, but the team had planned to do an early shutoff as the Tequila Toyota had some engine problems that they wanted to make sure they had fixed before their next full pass, and after looking at everything…the problems were fixed!
On raceday…Doug was up first for Team K, and his opponent was rookie Leah Pruett. At the start…Leah had the slight advantage, but the Mac Tools Dragster was glued to the track as a 3.80 at 325 mph showed up on the Gainesville scoreboard to beat Leah’s tire smoking 5.12. Grubby was up next for Team K, and he had a tough opponent in Spencer Massey. At the start…Grubby and his Optima Batteries/Advanced Auto Parts Dragster was ready and on a great pass…but for whatever reason, the Optima Dragster began to make a move towards the centerline…Grubby fought it for as long as he could to keep it in the groove, but he just couldn’t and the Optima Dragster spun the tires right before half track, which gave Massey the win.
Now it was time for first round of Funny Car, and both Alexis and Del were ready to win their first rounds of racing in 2013! Del was up first against Tim Wilkerson, and at the start, the DHL Toyota darted out there pretty good, but at about 100 feet the DHL Toyota lost traction…at that point Del pedaled the DHL Toyota and got it hooked back up to beat Tim, who was smoking the tires in the other lane. Del is definitely one of the best when it comes to pedaling a Funny Car! Alexis was up next in her Tequila Patron Toyota, and her opponent was Blake Alexander. At the start, Blake had the slight advantage, but the black and green Toyota was hooked up and marching down the Gainesville strip! At the finish line, Alexis got the win with a very nice 4.08 at 308 mph to take out a tire smoking Blake Alexander. Going into the second round, there would be three Kalitta cars still racing!
In the second round…Doug was up against our buddy Brandon Bernstein…at the start, both Doug and Brandon had very good reaction times and were side by side most of the way down the track, but at the finish line, the Mac Tools Dragster got the win with a 3.79 at 319 mph to Brandon’s 3.81 at 322 mph, and move into the semifinals. Alexis was up next for Team K, and her opponent was Johny Gray who has been running very well in 2013. At the start, both Alexis and Johnny had nearly identical reaction times, but the Tequila Patron Toyota fell behind just a little at the 330 foot mark and just couldn’t catch up, as Johnny’s 4.08 at 312 mph beat Alexis’ 4.12 at 307 mph. Even with the loss…Alexis and her Tommy DeLago lead team are heading in the right direction! Del was up next, and his opponent would be Courtney Force. At the start, Del was ready and he never looked back as the DHL Toyota ran a nice 4.12 at 306 mph to beat Courtney’s 4.13 at 310 mph! The DHL Team was pumped and ready to head into the semifinals!
In the semifinals…Doug was up against Clay Millican, who was running very well in Gainesville. At the start, Clay had the slight starting line advantage, but the Mac Tools Machine began to reel him in and take the lead, but at about 500 feet, the Mac Dragster lost traction which gave Millican the win. No matter what…we had a good weekend with the Mac Tools dragster and moved into fourth place in the points! Del’s semifinal round opponent would be Robert Hight from John Force Racing, who is a threat to win any race! As Del put it…he left when he heard Robert leave! Del is one of those honest guys who said he never saw the light and figured he was dead meat…but fortunately for us…Robert smoked the tires immediately and Del was glued in…running his best time of the weekend with a 4.07 at 309 mph…what a great tuneup by Nicky and Jon O! It was off to the final round for Del and the DHL boys!
In the final round…Del was up against Johnny Gray…at the start both drivers were ready and off to good starts. But as was the case when Alexis ran Johnny in the second round…the DHL Toyota fell behind at the 330 foot mark and just couldn’t catch up…as Johnny’s 4.05 at 315 mph beat Del’s 4.10 at 303 mph. All in all it was a good weekend for the Team Kalitta Toyota Funny Cars as Del moved up to sixth place in the points and Alexis moved within one round of the Top Ten! I believe that there are more good weekends to come for the Team Kalitta Toyota’s! We even stayed and did some testing with all of the Team Kalitta cars on Monday and were very happy with the results we saw with all of the cars!
Well that’s all the BS I can stand to type today! I hope all of you have a great weekend…we are all going to enjoy the next couple of weekends off here at Kalitta Motorsports, and some of us may even go to a wedding! Take care and I’ll type at you before our next race in Vegas, which is April 5th thru the 6th.
Jim “O” Oberhofer
1010 James L Hart Parkway
Ypsilanti, MI 48197