Doug Kalitta roaring in NHRA title quest

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Ypsilanti — Three victories — in consecutive weeks — in 11 events.

Points leader by more than 50 points.

Seems like Doug Kalitta is on a roll entering the NHRA weekend at his home track in Norwalk, Ohio.

But there’s one thing missing.

A series title.

Kalitta, who turns 52 this summer, began his Top Fuel career nearly 20 years ago — but still is missing the title after finishing second a decade ago.

“We’re a bunch of hungry hunters,” said Kalitta, who competes for Kalitta Motorsports based out of Ypsilanti and owned by his uncle, legendary Connie Kalitta. “We’re just out there doing our thing and it’s just a matter of us getting the breaks and obviously having the performance when you need it.

“As long as we’re competitive to win these things, that’s what keeps me out there doing it.”

Kalitta leads the points standings nearly midway through the 24-race season — he has 926 points, with Antron Brown at 873). The top 10 competitors in each division race for the title in the Chase for the Championship, the final six races of the year.

The first two rounds this weekend will be televised live (FS1) for the first time 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday. The final round is Sunday (midnight on FS1).

“I’m surrounded by good people, and that’s the key to success in anything,” Kalitta said. “Fortunately I delegate and not by being Mr. Micromanager, which is important.

“It’s a good thing for me personally to not have to be right in the mix of everything. I rely on building a strong team and that’s the difference you see in the effort I put together.”

Kalitta Motorsports has had strong title in the past, with Del Worsham winning the Funny Car championship last year. Alexis DeJoria has a Funny Car victory this season, and J.R. Todd is having a solid run (seventh in points) in Top Fuel.

Worsham’s championship was the first for Kalitta Motorsports since 1995, when the late Scott Kalitta won consecutive Top Fuel titles in 1994 and 1995.

“We have things going well,” Kalitta said.

Kalitta, however, said it’s important to have everything clicking when the Chase begins Sept. 16 in Charlotte, N.C.

“It’s just another year under our belts, and you want to make sure we’re as solid as we can be heading into the Chase.” Kalitta said. “Our confidence level is up from last year. We’re going to try and put ourselves in a good position heading in.”

Twitter: @DavidGoricki