Commerce: Dave Grubnic preview

Dave Grubnic needs a bit more boost for Atlanta NHRA event COMMERCE, Ga. (May 2, 2006) - Last weekend in the semifinals of final eliminations at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Bristol, Tenn., native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver...

Dave Grubnic needs a bit more boost for Atlanta NHRA event

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 2, 2006) - Last weekend in the semifinals of final eliminations at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Bristol, Tenn., native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black, 7,000 horsepower StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, knew that something just didn't feel right about the way his 330-mph, nitro-fueled race car was running. It seemed to be a tad sluggish to the Top Fuel veteran as he was overtaken at the quarter-mile finish line by his opponent Rod Fuller. As it turns out, Grubnic was right. The supercharger (blower) on his dragster was inexplicably down on boost, or power. The team stayed Monday to test at Bristol Dragway to alleviate the problem, which they did with only one 4.5-sec. lap down the race track.

This weekend, May 4-7, Grubnic and his StriVectin-SD team head further south down the highway to Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., just northeast of downtown Atlanta, for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in hopes of continuing their climb up the POWERade points tally. Grubnic and his team shortened the championship points gap to leader Melanie Troxel by besting her by one round in Bristol. He reached the final round in the event previous to Bristol in Las Vegas.

"Man, we were so close to going back to the finals," Grubnic said. "Our blower was down about four pounds on boost and that's what bit us. "We got everything squared away on Monday though, so we should be ready to go some more rounds in Atlanta. It's tough out there. The competition in Top Fuel is as good, across the board, as I've ever seen. It's a thrill to be a part of it."

Grubnic now trails leader Troxel by 139 points with 16 events remaining in the 2006 season. He gained 17 points on the leader in Bristol. Grubnic holds the elapsed time track record of 4.469 seconds at Atlanta Dragway (2004). He was the No. 1 qualifier for the annual event in 2004. Grubnic's team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta won the Top Fuel trophy in Atlanta in 1994 at the spry age of 56. In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports. Since joining the Ypsilanti, Michigan-based multi-car nitro team, Grubnic, a 12-year Top Fuel veteran, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In the fall of 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 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.

The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals begins Friday, May 5, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (EST). Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m. All times and dates subject to change.

The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals is the 7th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , Connie Kalitta , Rod Fuller