2020 Winternationals preview: Kalitta goes for three straight

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Top Fuel Dragsters return to the track on Friday at the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

This is the first race of the season. For many teams, it’s the first time they are able to see the results of all their off-season hard work.

Top Fuel Dragster pilot Doug Kalitta racing on Sunday during eliminations of his lone win of the season
Doug Kalitta racing on Sunday during eliminations of his lone win of the season (Photo by the NHRA)

Doug Kalitta will attempt to win the season-opener in Top Fuel for the third straight year. In 2019, he defeated Steve Torrence in the final round.

The Michigan native went 4.014 at 269.29 mph to claim the Wally. The Texas native was the runner-up with a 4.008 at 240.25 mph.

While Kalitta will be on the property this weekend, Steve Torrence was announced earlier this week that he will not participate this weekend. We’re not going to speculate as to why he is not competing this weekend.

Despite being on the entry list, Scott Palmer Racing will not be competing this weekend. He is showing support for Steve Torrence in his alleged disagreement with the NHRA.

Also, Mike Salinas is not competing due to his business obligations in San Jose, California.

Kalitta’s teammate Shawn Langdon will be back in a Top Fuel Dragster at this event. For the past several seasons, he competed in the Global Electronic Technology Funny Car.

However, when Global Electronic Technology pulled its full-time partnership on the Funny Car sometime near the end of the season — and his crew going with Alexis DeJoria — Langdon was without a ride. That was before it was confirmed that he was going back to Top Fuel.

John Force Racing’s dynamic duo Brittany Force and Austin Prock will be on the property. Don Schumacher Racing’s teammates Antron Brown and Leah Pruett will be competing at the event.

Full-time competitors Terry McMillen and Clay Millican will be on the property. The rest of the drivers, who are competing, are part-time drivers.

The part-time driver list includes Shawn Reed, Brandon Welch, Rob Passey, Cameron Ferre, James Maroney, and Justin Ashley.

This is the second straight year that Top Fuel will have 14 drivers entered. This means that the top two qualifiers on Sunday will receive a bye into the second round.

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