NHRA's Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 4 in Bristol; Top Fuel teammate Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 6 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 9 in nitro Funny Car
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 29, 2006) - Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 4 with a qualifying best of 4.588 seconds at 323.58 mph for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field for the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. Grubnic will race No. 13 qualifier Bob Vandergriff Jr. (4.658 sec., 319.75 mph) in the first round of eliminations tomorrow. Grubnic is 5-4 versus Vandergriff Jr. in his career in eliminations.
Grubnic won the prestigious NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in March of this year. He enters Sunday's final eliminations in 2nd place in Top Fuel championship points, 159 points off of the lead.
In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 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.
Grubnic's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, qualified for final eliminations in the No. 6 spot (4.599 sec., 326.40 mph). He will race No. 11 qualifier Scott Weis (4.653 sec., 318.99 mph) in the first round of eliminations. Doug is 12-2 versus Weis in his career in eliminations.
Doug, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He has 24 NHRA national event wins. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.
Doug enters eliminations in 6th place in championship points.
Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driving his new Kalitta Air Monte Carlo Funny Car flopper, qualified No. 9 (4.821 sec., 320.66 mph) for Sunday's eliminations. Scott, the son of team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, will race No. 8 qualifier Ron Capps (4.818 sec., 320.58 mph) in the first round of eliminations. This will be a rematch of the opening Funny Car round at the previous event Las Vegas that Capps won. Scott is 3-3 versus Capps in his career.
Scott's 320.66-mph blast in Friday night's second qualifying session was the fastest of his career in a nitro-fueled Funny Car flopper.
Scott, a 43-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., and 25-year drag racing veteran, made the switch from Top Fuel to Funny Car this season. Scott has one NHRA national event win in his career in nitro Funny Car and that was at the Houston event in 1989 while driving with a broken left foot. In Top Fuel, Scott scored two world championships (1994-1995) and 17 NHRA national event wins.
Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 2 position.