Baytown: Dave Grubnic preview

Dave Grubnic heads to Houston free of pretend primates and ready for more NHRA Top Fuel wins BAYTOWN, Texas (March 28, 2006) - You could hear it under the breath of race fans and competitors in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. They ...

Dave Grubnic heads to Houston free of pretend primates and ready for more NHRA Top Fuel wins

BAYTOWN, Texas (March 28, 2006) - You could hear it under the breath of race fans and competitors in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. They were mumbling that Dave Grubnic's first career Top Fuel win last May in Topeka was maybe a fluke. He had yet to repeat the feat since, but then came this year's Gatornationals a little more than a week ago in Gainesville, Fla., where native Australian Grubnic, driver of the black and pink StriVectin-SD dragster, raced to the Top Fuel title at one of the sport's biggest events by defeating some of the biggest names in drag racing's pinnacle class.

Now as all of drag racing's biggest stars make a latitudinal left toward Baytown, Tex., for this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, March 31-April 2, just outside of the Houston city limits, Grubnic has a slight sense of relief as well as a fortified conviction to pursue his team's long term goal of winning the 2006 POWERade points championship.

"We got that 'one-win' monkey off our back finally," Grubnic said. "Sure, I feel a bit relieved about that, but at the same time, we're right up there in the points chase again.

"The season is still very young, but we need to take advantage of every opportunity we can. Winning a race in Top Fuel is getting tougher and tougher because there are just so many good cars out there now. It makes it even tougher to contend for the championship. We're in third place right now, but we're only one point away from second and only about four rounds (74 points) out of the lead. You always get momentum with a win, so we want to make sure we take advantage of that this weekend in Houston and go for it again."

With his win in Gainesville, Grubnic leaped from 11th place to 3rd place (201 points) in the points standings.

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports. Since joining the Ypsilanti, Michigan-based multi-car nitro team, Grubnic has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In the fall of 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional and long overdue first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy.

The O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals begins Friday, March 31, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (CT). Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

The O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals is the 4th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

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