Kalitta (TF), Worsham (FC), Enders-Stevens (PS), Krawiec (PSM) provisional No. 1 NHRA qualifiers in Norwalk

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Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the provisional No. 1 qualifiers after Friday’s first of two days of qualifying at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

Kalitta covered the 1,000-foot drag strip with a top elapsed time of 3.771 seconds at 326.16 mph. If that time holds up during Saturday’s second round of qualifying in preparation for Sunday’s final eliminations, it would be the 42nd No. 1 qualifying spot of Kalitta’s career.

He’s also seeking his first career win at Norwalk, between Toledo and Cleveland, and to reach his seventh final round in the first 13 races of the 2014 season.

“Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a lot like today so it’ll be interesting to see if we can hold the lead,” Kalitta said in a NHRA media release. “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.”

Steve Torrence was second-quickest in Top Fuel (3.799 seconds at 324.67 mph), while Kalitta’s teammate, J.R. Todd, was third-quickest (3.807 seconds at 319.22 mph).

In Funny Car, Worsham set a Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park track record of an even 4.000 seconds (at 317.34 mph). Worsham just barely missed becoming the 11th driver in NHRA Funny Car history to slip below the four-second mark.

“We were definitely trying to make a three-second run,” Worsham said. “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. continued his recent hot streak, qualifying No. 2 (4.030 seconds at 319.67 mph), followed by 16-time national champion John Force (4.034 at 319.45 mph).

In Pro Stock, Enders-Stevens looks to extend her already huge lead in the points standings. She had a field-best of 6.523 seconds at 212.63 mph, both new track records.

Enders is looking for her 12th top-three qualifying position (and second No. 1) in the first 13 races of the season.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve worked really hard. I couldn’t be more proud to throw up the numbers that we did today. We were hoping for better numbers this evening but that starting line is a little challenging. I feel confident this weekend.”

Shane Gray was second-quickest in Pro Stock (6.527 seconds at 211.69 mph), followed by Allen Johnson (6.532 at 211.89).

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec also set a track record for elapsed time (6.844 seconds) at 195.05 mph.

“To come here and have low e.t. and a great motorcycle under me, I couldn’t ask for any more,” Krawiec said. “You never really know what’s going to happen. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Second-fastest was Jerry Savoie (6.865 seconds at 195.48), followed by John Hall (6.882 at 194.38). Series points leader Andrew Hines was No. 4 qualifier (6.913 seconds at 192.33 mph).

The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday afternoon (4:45 pm ET) and evening (7:15 pm ET). Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 am ET.

 

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Here’s Friday’s first two of four rounds of qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio:

Top Fuel — 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.771 seconds, 326.48 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.799, 324.67; 3. J.R. Todd, 3.807, 319.22; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.809, 322.88; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.813, 321.81; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.839, 322.65; 7. Antron Brown, 3.840, 311.56; 8. Larry Dixon, 3.844, 321.88; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.845, 316.82; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 3.849, 320.43; 11. Brittany Force, 3.860, 322.04; 12. Troy Buff, 3.873, 307.72.  Not Qualified: 13. Leah Pritchett, 3.888, 309.42; 14. Pat Dakin, 3.924, 308.00; 15. Richie Crampton, 3.929, 269.73; 16. Clay Millican, 3.953, 315.42; 17. Cory McClenathan, 4.164, 213.81; 18. Chris Karamesines, 4.183, 230.02; 19. Terry McMillen, 4.655, 167.34.

Funny Car — 1. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.000, 317.34; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.030, 319.67; 3. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.034, 319.45; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.044, 318.69; 5. Chad Head, Camry, 4.052, 318.02; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.064, 317.94; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.065, 315.12; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.077, 308.21; 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.083, 310.48; 10. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.096, 310.34; 11. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.106, 321.42; 12. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.127, 309.91.  Not Qualified: 13. Tim Wilkerson, 4.140, 307.65; 14. Tony Pedregon, 4.153, 303.57; 15. Terry Haddock, 4.329, 275.51; 16. Jeff Diehl, 4.340, 260.71; 17. Jeff Arend, 4.704, 181.15.

Pro Stock — 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.523, 212.63; 2. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.527, 211.69; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.532, 211.89; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.546, 211.53; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.551, 211.69; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.554, 212.03; 7. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.557, 210.67; 8. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.564, 211.13; 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.566, 211.69; 10. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.574, 210.90; 11. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.576, 211.39; 12. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.609, 211.56.  Not Qualified: 13. Larry Morgan, 6.613, 210.77; 14. V. Gaines, 6.628, 190.40; 15. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.684, 207.05; 16. Mark Hogan, 18.603, 35.35; 17. Travis Mazza, 89.000, no speed.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.844, 195.05; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.865, 195.48; 3. John Hall, Buell, 6.882, 194.38; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.913, 192.49; 5. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.919, 196.16; 6. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.928, 193.27; 7. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.933, 192.41; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.933, 191.57; 9. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.943, 190.65; 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.964, 192.08; 11. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.987, 191.76; 12. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.989, 188.38.  Not Qualified: 13. Jim Underdahl, 7.009, 192.93; 14. Justin Finley, 7.012, 192.14; 15. Joe DeSantis, 7.022, 188.78; 16. Elvira Karlsson, 7.072, 183.37; 17. Adam Arana, 7.354, 148.12; 18. Wendell Daniels, 8.211, 119.70; 19. Hector Arana Jr, 13.922, 55.34.

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Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.