NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 9 in Columbus; Teammates and cousins Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta both qualify No. 11 for Top Fuel and Funny Car respectively COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 20, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of...
NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 9 in Columbus; Teammates and cousins Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta both qualify No. 11 for Top Fuel and Funny Car respectively
COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 20, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black, 7,000 horsepower StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, will lead the Kalitta Motorsports drag racing contingent into quarter-mile battle for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field at the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, from the No. 9 (4.558 seconds, 321.96 mph) qualifying position at National Trail Raceway.
Grubnic will race No. 8 qualifier J.R. Todd (4.557 sec., 311.49 mph) in the first round of eliminations tomorrow. The venerable Top Fuel veteran Grubnic and the rookie Todd have never raced against each other in eliminations.
Grubnic enters tomorrow's final eliminations in third place in POWERade championship points.
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. 11 spot (4.590 sec., 329.67 mph). He will race No. 6 qualifier Larry Dixon (4.531 sec., 324.28 mph) in the first round of eliminations in Columbus, the hometown of his longtime primary sponsor Mac Tools. Doug is 20-21 versus Dixon in their storied careers. Doug has raced against Dixon more times than any other driver he has faced.
Doug enters tomorrow's final eliminations in second place in POWERade championship points.
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's cousin Scott Kalitta, driving his new Kalitta Air Monte Carlo Funny Car flopper, also qualified No. 11 (4.797 sec., 316.67 mph) for Sunday's eliminations. Scott, the son of team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, will race No. 6 qualifier and defending POWERade points world champion Gary Scelzi (4.749 sec., 329.58 mph) in the first round of eliminations in a rematch of the first round of the previous NHRA national event in Atlanta.
Scott's qualifying effort of 4.797 sec., is the quickest of his career in Nitro Funny Car.
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. 14 position.
Sunday's final eliminations at the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals begin 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.