Columbus: Dave Grubnic preview

NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic looking to NHRA legends on his team for winning edge in Columbus COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 16, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, does not have to look...

NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic looking to NHRA legends on his team for winning edge in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 16, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, does not have to look very hard to find winning advice from a drag racing legend and/or former Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals event winner when he races this weekend, May 18-21, at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio.

Grubnic's team owner, crew chief and legendary drag racer Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta tunes his 7,000 horsepower, 330-mph dragster. Kalitta won the Columbus event in his Top Fueler in 1986. Four-time Columbus event winner (1976-77, 1980, and 1982) and three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion (1977, 1980, and 1982) Shirley "the First Lady of Racing" Muldowney serves as the StriVectin-SD's team and sponsor relations representative. In Columbus 30 years ago, Muldowney made a vociferous proclamation to the racing gentlemen starting their engines that the gender barrier was officially obliterated by becoming the first female competitor to win an NHRA event title in the auto racing's quickest and fastest class -- Top Fuel.

"Wow. You know, there's a little bit of talent on our team," Grubnic jokingly observed. "It's really pretty awesome when you think about it. I'm sure both of them could give me some pointers on driving in Columbus or any place else for that matter.

"Columbus has a great history for Shirley, Kalitta Motorsports and the whole sport really. It would be great to add to that legacy by getting a win with my StriVectin-SD team this weekend. I'm sure Connie and Jon (Oberhofer, co-crew chief) will have our car running with the best of them."

Grubnic enters the event in Columbus in 3rd place in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series championship points, 202 behind the leader and 70 behind his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Doug Kalitta in 2nd.

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. He also won the prestigious Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in March of this year.

The Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals begins Friday, March 31, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (ET). Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 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 Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals is the 8th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta