Doug and Scott Kalitta reach semifinals in Atlanta Commerce, Ga., May 16, 2004 -- All in all, it was a good weekend for the only three-car Top Fuel dragster team of Kalitta Motorsports. Cousins Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools flagship hot...
Doug and Scott Kalitta reach semifinals in Atlanta
Commerce, Ga., May 16, 2004 -- All in all, it was a good weekend for the only three-car Top Fuel dragster team of Kalitta Motorsports. Cousins Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools flagship hot rod, and Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James entry, both reached the semi-final round at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway Sunday. Their teammate David Grubnic, driver of the Kalitta Air dragster, entered Sunday's eliminations as low qualifier after setting a track record (4.469 sec.) in qualifying.
All three Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta-tuned Team Kalitta cars won their opening round match ups. No. 4 qualifier Doug Kalitta, Connie's nephew, defeated Bruce Litton. Connie's son Scott Kalitta, from the No.15 qualifying spot, took out the current Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher to begin his day. The win was a huge boost for the Mac Tools/Jesse James team who have struggled somewhat to begin the 2004 season. Scott's 4.551-sec. lap down the quarter mile was his best effort of the weekend and lowest elapsed time of the round. Low qualifier Grubnic put John Smith on the trailer.
Grubnic did not fair as well in round two. The likeable native Australian lost a close race to Clay Millican. His 4.664-sec. pass was not quite enough to beat Millican's 4.631-sec. run. Doug's 4.775-sec., 297.68-mph pass in round two was barely enough to hold off Rhonda Hartman-Smith's 4.834-sec., 295.66-mph losing attempt. Scott again paced the field in the round when his 4.599-sec., 320.74-mph run defeated a hard-charging Darrell Russell and his 4.613-sec., 322.19-mph lap.
In the semifinals, both remaining Team Kalitta race cars had traction problems on the hot and slick Atlanta Dragway racing surface. With the track temperature soaring to near 125 degrees, Doug lost traction and then the race with his 5.669-sec., 233.32-mph run against Millican (4.928 sec., 279.90 mph). Scott Kalitta also lost the grip of his big Goodyear rear slicks when his 4.894-sec., 238.85-mph effort lost to Cory McClenathan's 4.660-sec., 316.90-mph winning run.
Doug will remain in third place in Top Fuel championship points behind leader Schumacher and Brandon Bernstein. Grubnic drops from fourth to fifth in the standings while Scott moves into the top ten from the 11th spot to No. 9.
The next national event on the 23-event, $50 million POWERade Drag Racing Series tour takes place next weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just south of Chicago.