Doug Kalitta makes final round at NHRA Columbus event; Kalitta Motorsports teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic make quarterfinals Columbus, Ohio, May 22, 2005 -- At the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway...
Doug Kalitta makes final round at NHRA Columbus event; Kalitta Motorsports teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic make quarterfinals
Columbus, Ohio, May 22, 2005 -- At the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red and black flame-adorned Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, reached his fourth consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event final round Sunday. It was the 45th final-round appearance of Doug's quarter-mile career and his fifth final round of 2005. Doug's Kalitta Motorsports teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic made quarter-final round appearances.
In round one of final eliminations, No. 2 qualifier Doug defeated Bruce Litton, 4.554 seconds, 328.86 mph to 4.882 sec., 299.73 mph. No. 7 qualifier Scott defeated Tim Cullinan, 4.576 sec., 323.50 mph to 4.756 sec., 300.66 mph and No. 3 qualifier Grubnic defeated John Smith, 4.586 sec., 325.85 mph to 7.656 sec., 111.12 mph.
In a great side-by-side quarter-final round two race between Kalitta cousins Doug and Scott, Doug barely won the battle of the teammates, 4.566 sec., 326.32 mph to 4.587 sec., 328.14 mph. Scott's quicker starting line reaction time of .031 sec. against Doug's .050 sec. start helped make the race incredibly exciting for the big crowd of fans at National Trail Raceway. The margin of victory was a mere 0.0027 sec. (approximately 16 inches).
The obviously close heads-up race between Doug and Scott should now finally squelch all speculation of Kalitta Motorsports' alleged team orders that have been the talk of the NHRA pits lately after points leader Doug had won the previous three match-ups with his Kalitta Motorsports teammates.
In his quarter-final round match-up with Morgan Lucas, Grubnic lost traction very early in the run and ended his bid for his fourth semifinal of 2005, 10.959 sec., 76.19 mph to 4.556 sec., 323.19 mph.
In the semifinals, Doug avenged his teammate Grubnic's loss to Lucas by beating the young driver, 4.989 sec., 306.53 mph to 17.070 sec., 36.60 mph to set up a final-round showdown with defending Top Fuel World Champion and current second place points holder Tony Schumacher.
In a race for the ages between the two top race cars in Top Fuel, Doug had to settle for a runner-up finish in a thrilling drag race, 4.513 sec., 324.90 mph to 4.489 sec., 336.15 mph. Doug maintains a 43-point lead over Schumacher in a championship points battle that is shaping up to last all season between the two.
Current Top Fuel championship points leader and two-time championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 40, an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994), owns 22 NHRA national event trophies. He won the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March in Gainesville, Fla., and the previous two national events before Columbus in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the colorfully striped and black Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February. He is currently eighth in championship points. He has 17 (16 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career.
Fifth place championship points holder, native Australian and driver of the black and electric blue-flamed Zantrex-3 Top Fuel hot rod Grubnic, 42, has made seven final-round appearances in his 11-year career but has not yet won an NHRA national event. He won the 2004 Budweiser Shootout special event in Las Vegas.
The Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals was the eighth of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.