Columbus: Grubnic looking to make waves

HEBRON, Ohio - David Grubnic is not a rookie, yet you might not consider him a veteran, either. He's somewhere in between, still searching for his true identity in the land of 6,000 horsepower dragsters. The Australian racer has been part of the...

HEBRON, Ohio - David Grubnic is not a rookie, yet you might not consider him a veteran, either. He's somewhere in between, still searching for his true identity in the land of 6,000 horsepower dragsters. The Australian racer has been part of the Top Fuel category since 1997, but has yet to snag his first national event victory.

Grubnic started racing a partial schedule of events in 1997. He moved to the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) full-time in 2000 and has logged two top 10 finishes in the point standings both seasons. He is looking to improve on his career-best ninth place points effort (2001) this year.

"I feel very good about where the team is," said Grubnic, speaking with an unmistakable twang from the land down under. "Our confidence is very high and we are producing results."

Grubnic is still aiming for the ultimate result, a 4-0 day in eliminations, as he and the Montana Express Dragster head to the 38th annual Pontiac Excitement NHRA Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, June 13-16. Larry Dixon, John Force, Warren Johnson and Angelle Savoie are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $1.9 million race, the 11th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

So far this season, Grubnic is performing better than he has in the past, and is getting closer to that elusive first win - something he is confident will come sooner than later.

"We need to stick to the route we're going on right now," Grubnic said. "I feel happy and very confident where we are right now and I think that we are knocking on the door of a win. This is a real competitive category, especially this year and we are working on improving our setup every time we make a run.

"(Crew chief) John Mitchell is just in the early stages of being with this team and if we keep developing this program, it will produce a win."

Grubnic has flirted with becoming a first-time winner on two occasions during his career. Last season he came up just short of winning his first 'Wally' when he lost to Kenny Bernstein in the final round at Sonoma, Calif. Four years ago in Houston, he was a surprise first-time finalist against Cory McClenathan, who unfortunately for Grubnic, had the faster car that day.

While there have been nine different Pro Stock drivers to win a race, and five different Funny Car drivers to make an appearance in Winner's Circle, there have only been four Top Fuel drivers to win a race this season. Grubnic would like to make it five. He knows that in the unpredictable world of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, rounds can be won and lost by any team on the strip on any given day.

"I do feel good about where the team is at right now and I think the confidence is high for every person on this team," Grubnic said. "We haven't gotten the win yet, but we are producing better results. It's very difficult adapting to different conditions and tracks but if you want to win, you have to be able to make adjustments.

"The competition in this category is very tough but we are going to do whatever we can to be one of the more competitive cars out there."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Warren Johnson , John Force , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan