Columbus: Scott Kalitta preview

Scott Kalitta encouraged about Columbus NHRA event after Atlanta testing Columbus, Ohio, May 17, 2005 - Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster driver Scott Kalitta has had his share of hard times lately on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series...

Scott Kalitta encouraged about Columbus NHRA event after Atlanta testing

Columbus, Ohio, May 17, 2005 - Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster driver Scott Kalitta has had his share of hard times lately on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour. After winning the 2005 season opener in Pomona, Calif., Scott and his 7,000 + horsepower, nitro-fueled race car have managed to win only two rounds in final eliminations in the six national events contested since his great start. His team's woes have dropped them to eighth in Top Fuel championship points.

This weekend, May 19-22, at the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, the home of his sponsor Mac Tools' corporate headquarters, Scott and his colorfully striped and black hot rod are planning a return to glory at National Trail Raceway after a successful test Monday at Atlanta Dragway following the event held there this past weekend.

"This has been a nightmare," Scott said. "We've been doing everything we thought we could to make our car come back around, but it just hasn't wanted to. It has been horribly frustrating for all of us on our team.

"We stayed in Atlanta to test, and I'm really encouraged with what happened. We basically clean-slated everything and went to a combination we thought we could get a better baseline from, and it responded well. We made a great lap on a hot track, near 130 degrees, of 4.59 (seconds) at 326 (mph). We made some changes to that tune-up to try to get a better launch, and it did what we told it to do on the next lap. The track conditions weren't as good on that lap, and it lost traction about three seconds in, but it still had better numbers early, and that's what we were hoping for.

"It's almost like a new race car now. We've been really struggling to keep our heads up, but our whole team was encouraged after the test. We're all looking forward to Columbus now to see what we can do there."

Scott and his Mac Tools/Jesse James team should be encouraged to return to Columbus. In the event's 34-year history at National Trail Raceway, Scott has won the Top Fuel title twice, in 1994 and 1995. He was No. 1 qualifier for three years straight, 1993-1995. He also holds the track record for speed at 330.39 mph (2004).

Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and Snead Island, Fla., resident Scott, 43, has 17 (16 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career. His career-best elapsed time is 4.455 sec., and his career-best speed is 333.95 mph.

Kalitta Motorsports, which includes Scott's teammates Doug Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, 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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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Jesse James