NHRA's Doug Kalitta wins in Brainerd to extend his Top Fuel championship points lead; Teammates "Aussie Dave" Grubnic and Scott Kalitta suffer quarter-final and first round losses respectively Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 14, 2005 -- Mac Tools Top Fuel...
NHRA's Doug Kalitta wins in Brainerd to extend his Top Fuel championship points lead; Teammates "Aussie Dave" Grubnic and Scott Kalitta suffer quarter-final and first round losses respectively
Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 14, 2005 -- Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta won his second straight NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event trophy Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway in Brainerd, Minn.
Doug, who also won in Sonoma, Calif., just two weeks ago, claimed his fifth win of the 2005 season, a career-best, en route to extending his championship points lead over second place Tony Schumacher. When final eliminations began Sunday, Doug was ahead of Schumacher by 10 points, but he now leads the championship battle by 70.
The win was the 24th of Doug's eight-year Top Fuel drag racing career. The win in Brainerd comes in his seventh final round appearance of 2005 and the 47th final of his career. This quarter-mile triumph coupled with the Sonoma victory is the second time this season that Doug and his Mac Tools crew, led by co-crew chief Rahn Tobler, have won back-to-back NHRA events. The previous pair was Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta. Doug made his first trip to the winner's circle of 2005 at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
"What a great win for this team," Doug said. "After qualifying ninth and seeing how we struggled in qualifying, this win is a bit of a surprise, but it's a tribute to my Mac Tools team that we got this one. Those guys worked very hard all day to put me in a car that could win and we did it.
"Getting some more points ahead is great too, obviously. The points are the most important thing to us, so we're really happy to expand the gap."
Doug easily defeated Jack Beckman in the opening round of eliminations, 4.568 seconds, 324.36 mph to 7.306 sec., 113.02 mph.
The Top Fuel match-up of the Brainerd event came in the second round when Doug faced Schumacher. Doug powered by his points nemesis with a 4.604-sec., 325.22-mph blast over Schumacher's losing effort of 5.588 sec., 170.23 mph.
In the semifinals, Doug vanquished Brandon Bernstein, 4.576 sec., 326.95 mph to 7.633 sec., 101.09 mph to set up his final round run against Larry Dixon.
Doug and Dixon had met previously this season in the final rounds at Gainesville and Las Vegas 1. Doug took the win in Gainesville, but Dixon bested him in Las Vegas. This time in Brainerd it was Doug's turn. Doug cruised by a tire-smoking Dixon, 4.593 sec., 325.92 mph to 6.799 sec., 119.62 mph.
Doug is a former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994).
Doug's Kalitta Motorsports teammate and native Australian Dave Grubnic, 43, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fueler was the No. 3 qualifier. He drove past an engine-erupting Luigi Novelli in round one, 5.760 sec., 272.61 mph to 19.365 sec., 52.71 mph. In the second round, Grubnic's slight starting line advantage (.084 sec. to .086 sec.) was not enough to get a win over Dixon in round two, 4.616 sec., 324.75 mph to 4.557 sec., 327.74 mph.
Grubnic is now in fifth place in championship points, 243 markers from the lead.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster and Doug's cousin, qualified No. 4 for Team Kalitta. His 7,000 horsepower race car lost traction almost immediately after starting and lost to Joe Hartley. Scott's car failed to cross the finish line, so no time was recorded for him as Hartley posted a 4.819-sec., 275.17-mph lap.
Scott remains in eighth position in championship points.
Regarding the driver of the new Ken Black-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster that will campaign for the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series championship, a final decision and subsequent official announcement will be made Tuesday.
The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals was the 16th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.