By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Mac Tools Top Fuel Dragster pilot Doug Kalitta won the ninth annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil. He defeated Steve Torrence in the final round at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Illinois.
Kalitta went 3.690 at 322.58 mph to claim the Wally. Torrence had trouble, as he went 9.111 at 82.58 mph.
With the win, Kalitta has claimed his 49th career Top Fuel Wally. Despite the win, he trails Torrence by two points in the Top Fuel points standings.
“We needed to get some momentum going for the last three races and this is going to do a lot for us for sure,” Kalitta said. “The conditions were really good and my Mac Tools Toyota guys had my car running really well. I’m really proud of my entire team and Toyota is a big part of making this car run and knowing what the track is doing. Just a big team effort.”
Torrence leads Top Fuel with 642 points. Kalitta has 640 points.
“When you’re rolling up to the stage lights, you’re just thinking about the win,” Kalitta said. “But we’re all counting points and we’re all figuring out what we can do to get ahead. But the only place you can do it is on the starting line and you have to have a great effort behind you.”
Kalitta now has four wins at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. He also previously won in 2004, 2003, and 2001.
“I love running in St. Louis,” Kalitta said. “I’m probably one of the few guys that ran at the paved oval here and the drag strip. So I’ve been coming here for a number of years, as well as in Granite City with the midgets. It’s a good racing town.”
Prior to this final round pairing, Torrence held a 19-16 advantage over Kalitta. In addition, the Texas native also held a 6-2 advantage over Kalitta in previous final rounds.
Torrence did have the starting line advantage, as he had the better reaction time. The Capco Contractors driver went 0.056 off of the Christmas tree, while Kalitta was 0.066 off of the starting line.
A short time after getting the lead, Torrence hazed the tires. He then shut it off from there.
Kalitta had no issues as he picked up his second Wally of the season. He also won the 60th Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com in February.