Columbus: Dave Grubnic preview

NHRA's "Aussie Dave" Grubnic going to Columbus determined to change opinions Columbus, Ohio, May 18, 2005 - "My right leg must've detached from my brain," "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, said after he ...

NHRA's "Aussie Dave" Grubnic going to Columbus determined to change opinions

Columbus, Ohio, May 18, 2005 - "My right leg must've detached from my brain," "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, said after he second-straight, second-round NHRA national event red light foul start in final eliminations at the previous event in Atlanta. His quarter-mile opponent in the other lane was the same driver in both instances - His Kalitta Motorsports teammate and Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta.

This weekend, May 19-22, at the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, at National Trail Raceway, native Australian Grubnic and his nitro-fueled dragster team are resolute to redefine their 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season by getting yet another light - A final-round win light.

"I just don't want this thing to be how people know me," Grubnic said. "Our fans are great and they and our sponsors deserve better than what I've been doing at these last two races.

"I'm hoping that when we get our first win, and I'm confident it will be very soon, that all of this will fade away, not only for me, but for the fans and the media too. We've got an incredible group of guys that work very hard on our race car. I owe it to them and our whole Kalitta Motorsports team, especially Connie (Kalitta, team owner and drag racing legend), to do better, and I will. I promise."

Grubnic, 42, who won the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event last fall in Las Vegas, drives a striking black and electric blue flame-decorated rail for Zantrex-3. He has made seven final-round appearances in his career but has yet to score his first NHRA national event win. He has made semi-final appearances in three out of seven events so far this season (Pomona 1, Phoenix and Las Vegas 1).His career-best elapsed time is 4.448 sec., and his career-best speed is 333.58 mph.

Grubnic's best showings at National Trail Raceway were quarter-final round appearances in 1999 and 2000. He is currently fifth in Top Fuel championship points, 164 points behind leader Doug Kalitta.

Despite rampant rumors in the NHRA pits and in the media, Kalitta Motorsports team manager Jim Oberhofer has made quite clear the three-car team's racing strategy regarding intentionally favoring one car over the others after Grubnic's consecutive foul starts against his teammate Doug.

"We have not and are not taking dives for Doug," Oberhofer stated. "Unfortunately, it may look like we are, but we aren't, and I want to make that very clear to all of our fans and to the media that our team is in no way intentionally letting Doug, or anyone else on our team for that matter, win. If anyone would like to dispute that, I want them to personally come and talk to me or Connie."

Kalitta Motorsports, which includes Grubnic's teammates Doug and Scott Kalitta, has made five final-round appearances in the first seven NHRA national events of 2005 with four wins (Doug - 3, Scott - 1).

The Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals begins Friday, May 20, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations.

The Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals is the eighth of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

About Kalitta Motorsports

Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is the only full-time three-car Top Fuel drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by now legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta drives the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian David Grubnic drives the third dragster under the banner of Zantrex-3.

Connie serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer (Zantrex-3 dragster).

Associate sponsors on all three race cars include Red Line Oil, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies and Fischer Honda.

-www.kalittaracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Jesse James