Toyota Gazoo Racing North America NHRA Chicago Post-Qualifying Report — 5.20.23

TOYOTA TOP FUEL DRAGSTERS ALL QUALIFY WITHIN TOP HALF OF ROUTE 66 FIELD
J.R. Todd’s GR Supra Qualifies Third Following Mid-Week Test Session

ELWOOD, Ill. (May 20, 2023) – The five Toyota Top Fuel dragsters all qualified within the top-half of the field during the three qualifying sessions at Route 66 Raceway outside of Chicago. Doug Kalitta was the top-qualifying Toyota in the third position with a time of 3.702. Justin Ashley won his second Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday evening securing championship bonus points and a $10,000 bonus for his race team along with a fourth place qualifying effort.

In Funny Car competition, J.R. Todd earned the third qualifying position in his DHL GR Supra. The entire Kalitta Motorsports organization tested in Indianapolis midweek prior to this weekend’s event. Ron Capps earned the Funny Car class Mission Foods Challenge win with his run Saturday evening and qualified in the sixth position.

Toyota Post-Qualifying Recap
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series
Route 66 Raceway
Race 6 of 21

TOYOTA TOP FUEL QUALIFYING POSITIONS

NameCarQualifying PositionFirst Round Opponent
Mike Salinas*Gerber Collision Top Fuel Dragster1st (3.686)T. Zizzo
Doug KalittaMac Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster3rd (3.702)K. Wurtzel
Justin AshleyPhillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster4th (3.717)J. McNeal
Antron BrownMatco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster5th (3.720)J. Hart
Shawn LangdonAutoDesk Toyota Top Fuel Dragster6th (3.721)C. Millican
Steve TorrenceCapco Contractors Toyota Top Fuel Dragster8th (3.735)L. Pruett

(*non-Toyota driver)

TOYOTA FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING POSITIONS

NameCarQualifying PositionFirst Round Opponent
Robert HightJohn Force Racing Funny Car1st (3.831)D. Creasy Jr.
J.R. ToddDHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car3rd (3.906)B. Tasca III
Ron CappsNAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra Funny Car6th (3.941)T. Haddock
Alexis DeJoriaBandero Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car15th (5.017)C. Pedregon

(*non-Toyota driver)

TOYOTA QUOTES

DOUG KALITTA, Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster, Kalitta Motorsports

TF Qualifying Result: 3rd

How do you feel about your qualifying effort here at Route 66 Raceway?

“We’re pretty excited about moving our Mac Tools Toyota team up to third,” Kalitta said. “We were kind of slipping back before that last session so I was hoping we’d be able to come up with something good, and Alan (co-crew chief Alan Johnson) and the boys pulled out that ‘70 (3.702-second run). For race day, we’re just hoping to go some rounds and have some fun with this thing. We’re looking forward to it for sure. It’s been a team effort; we’ve been working on this thing all year, but that test was definitely big. Any time you can get out and help with what these guys are trying to work on, it’s definitely helpful.”

JUSTIN ASHLEY, Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel Dragster, Davis Motorsports

TF Qualifying Result: 4th

What does it mean to win the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge for the second time?

“It’s very exciting. You know, this deal does mean a lot to us. It’s a new deal. Everyone’s kind of getting used to it but really grateful for Mission Foods and how they’ve put on this challenge. I think that anytime you add an additional opportunity to race and collect bonus points along the way, I think it’s special. Not to mention the $10,000 cash always helps as well. This was a great day. I think we did a good job of running well and setting the tone for ourselves going into tomorrow. Tomorrow’s a new day, but really proud to be able to represent Mission Foods and Philips Connect, Toyota and our whole team today.”

How much does the Challenge help prepare you for race day with it’s competitive nature?

“I was in the car earlier and actually thinking about how this helps get you set up for race day. You know in round one you always get those butterflies and not as much in qualifying, but I had them you know today in Q2. I think it does kind of mentally help from a driver’s perspective, just kind of getting raised to a mode you try every time to approach each run the same, but only to a certain extent can you actually do that. To be able to put the driver’s in a position to get ready before Sunday, I definitely think it provides at least a little bit of an advantage.”

How special was the announcement you made regarding the race team earlier today?

“I have a lot of gratitude. I feel very blessed to be in the position that we’re in now, to be able to announce today the formation of our new partnership. Maynard Ashley Racing to have the Maynard family’s involvement, Jim Eppler “Mr. 300” and Dustin Davis to have this collective group working together as one. This new team shows growth, it shows strength, it shows stability, and we want to be out here doing this for a very long time because this is what we love to do and it’s a business on and off the racetrack and that’s where our focus is.”

How long will the team enjoy this achievement tonight?

“Make no mistake about it. Mike Green and Tommy DeLago and the crew guys did a great job. You really have to enjoy these things because they’re tough to come by. But once the day is done, it’s over and it’s a new day. We’ll shift that focus to tomorrow.”

SHAWN LANGDON, AutoDesk Toyota Top Fuel Dragster, Kalitta Motorsports

TF Qualifying Result: 6th

How do you feel about your car this weekend and how beneficial was the test session from this week?

“Collectively as a team, I feel all three cars did really well yesterday and today. We went testing last week and it was really just us trying to get better as a whole team. Every car had it’s certain niches and certain things and just wasn’t really flowing right so just had to do a hard restart. I think the guys have been busting their butts on this AutoDesk Toyota Top Fuel dragster and for as much work that has gone into everything, the guys at Kalitta Motorsports deserve better results than what we’ve been getting. It’s not really been one thing, it’s been a group of things. I feel really excited about tomorrow. The car has been running good. Doug’s (Kalitta) car has been running really good as well so we have two good cars. I feel our chances are as good as ever right now.”

J.R. TODD, DHL Toyota GR Supra Funny Car, Kalitta Motorsports

FC Qualifying Result: 3rd

How much did this week’s test session help your team coming into this weekend?

“I think testing Wednesday definitely helped us coming in here because we ran into some issues Wednesday that probably would have set us back a little bit here. It’s nice to make two good – out of the three qualifying runs there. It set us up good for race day.”

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800 dealerships.

Toyota directly employs more than 48,000 people in North America who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 45 million cars and trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 22 electrified options.

Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit www.ToyotaNewsroom.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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