Baytown: Doug Kalitta eliminations summary

Kalitta takes Houston title; gets first victory of 2003. Houston, April 13, 2003 -- Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team can finally stop hearing the question, "Why can't you run as well on Sunday as you do in qualifying?". The...

Kalitta takes Houston title; gets first victory of 2003.

Houston, April 13, 2003 -- Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team can finally stop hearing the question, "Why can't you run as well on Sunday as you do in qualifying?". The Mac Tools team ran better than any other on this Sunday en route to their first victory of 2003 at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

After qualifying No.1 for the fifth consecutive time this season, tying the NHRA record for consecutive pole positions to begin a season, and posting the fastest speed ever of 333.91 mph during qualifying, the eyes of Texas and NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series fans around the world were fixed upon the Mac Tools team to see if they could carry their qualifying dominance into final eliminations.

Kalitta began eliminations on Sunday by easily defeating Scott Weis in round one (4.563 seconds, 323.19 mph to 5.375 seconds, 183.77 mph) and almost effortlessly disposing of Melanie Troxel in round two (4.651 seconds, 314.39 mph to 8.622 seconds, 130.23 mph).

The semifinals saw Kalitta roll to the starting line against the always-competitive Budweiser dragster driven by Brandon Bernstein. On paper the match-up looked like a possible dead heat, but Bernstein lost traction early in his run as Kalitta powered down the hot and tricky Houston Raceway Park right lane at 4.654 seconds, 315.34 mph for the win. Kalitta also posted an incredible .021-second reaction time in the round, best of eliminations for the Top Fuel class.

The Mac Tools dragster would go to the title round for the second consecutive Sunday to face Cory McClenathan. Kalitta and McClenathan had faced each other 16 times previously in eliminations, with each winning eight, and Kalitta winning their only previous final round appearance together.

After the final green light lit today, McClenathan lost traction before he went 300 ft. as Kalitta made a great pass down the quarter-mile to get his 12th career victory and first of 2003.

"This win is so sweet for our Mac Tools team," Kalitta said. "Our racecar ran consistently all the way through eliminations. Connie (Kalitta, crew chief) and our team are making awesome horsepower in our Mac Tools car. We knew we would get a win eventually. Now, we hope to carry our momentum into Bristol (Tenn.) in two weeks and get another win at the Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals. We are looking forward to seeing all of the Mac Tools distributors, district managers and corporate staff in Bristol. We want to give them and our great fans another reason to celebrate in two weeks."

Doug Kalitta Power Points

Career event wins: 12
Last event win: 2003 NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston
Career final rounds: 25
Last final round: 2003 NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston
Career No. 1 qualifying: 12
Last No. 1 qualifying: 2003 NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston
Career best elapsed time: 4.482 seconds (2003 K&N Filters Winternationals)
Career best speed: 333.91 mph* (2003 NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston)

After five of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events in 2003, Kalitta is 3rd in Top Fuel championship points.

*Fastest speed in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series history

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Weis , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein