Kalitta Sets The Pace In Norwalk

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Kalitta Motorsports has expanded its partnership with Toyota to include its two NHRA Top Fuel teams in 2016. (NHRA Photo)
Doug Kalitta topped the NHRA Top Fuel charts during qualifying Friday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. (NHRA Photo)
Doug Kalitta topped the NHRA Top Fuel charts during qualifying Friday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. (NHRA Photo)

NORWALK, Ohio – Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta has advanced to the final round in six races this season, and his hot streak continued Friday as he raced to the qualifying lead at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

Del Worsham (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Cleveland.

Kalitta drove his Mac Tools dragster to a leading performance of 3.771 seconds at 326.16 mph in the Top Fuel class. If the performance holds, it will be the 42nd No. 1 of his career. He is seeking his first Norwalk win.

“Tomorrow will be a lot like today so it’ll be interesting to see if we can hold the lead,” Kalitta said. “I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity with what we have going on right now. I’m just trying to make the best of it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what we can do.”

Also in Top Fuel, Steve Torrence is in the second spot with a 3.799 at 324.67 in his Capco Contractors dragster, while Kalitta teammate J.R. Todd is third with a 3.807 at 319.22 in his Optima Batteries dragster.

Veteran Funny Car driver Worsham powered his DHL Toyota Camry to a track record time of 4.000 at 317.34 to lead that category.

“We were definitely trying to make a three-second run,” said Worsham. “We changed cars for the third time in three races so we’re pretty excited to make a good run. We’ll just have to play a little harder tomorrow.”

Tommy Johnson Jr. is second with a 4.030 at 319.67 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger. John Force is third in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang with a 4.034 at 319.45. Ohio native Chad Head sits in fifth place in his Head Racing Toyota Camry with a 4.052 pass at 318.02.