Grubnic qualifies No. 1 at Atlanta Dragway; Teammates Doug and Scott Kalitta qualify No. 4 and No. 15 respectively Commerce, Ga., May 15, 2004 -- At the seventh stop on the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour at Atlanta Dragway for...
Grubnic qualifies No. 1 at Atlanta Dragway; Teammates Doug and Scott Kalitta qualify No. 4 and No. 15 respectively
Commerce, Ga., May 15, 2004 -- At the seventh stop on the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour at Atlanta Dragway for the 24th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, "Aussie Dave" Grubnic piloted his Kalitta Air dragster to the top of the Top Fuel ladder to claim his third No.1 qualifier award of 2004. His incredible blast down the quarter mile Friday night of 4.469 sec., 324.44 mph gave him the top spot and set a new track record for elapsed time.
Grubnic also took top qualifying honors at consecutive events in Phoenix and Gainesville earlier this season. The fan-friendly native Australian leads the way for the three-dragster Kalitta Motorsports effort into Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field.
"Wow, three times No.1," a smiling Grubnic said. "It's really a credit to Connie (Kalitta, crew chief) and Jon (Oberhofer, co-crew chief) and all the guys at Kalitta Motorsports. This is a tricky track down here, so to be able to get the pole here is quite a feat. We'll just take it one round at a time tomorrow and see how it all plays out. Hopefully we'll be there in the end to take the trophy."
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" serves as crew chief for Grubnic and his teammates Doug and Scott Kalitta.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster and Connie's nephew, starts from the No. 4 spot. His 4.548-sec., 325.85-mph pass in Friday's second qualifying session sets up a first round match-up with No. 13 qualifier Bruce Litton.
In the Mac Tools/Jesse James nitro entry, Connie's son Scott Kalitta will face No. 2 qualifier Tony Schumacher in the opening stanza after his 4.769-sec. lap in the third qualifying session Saturday landed him in the No. 15 qualifying slot.
Kalitta Motorsports drivers have now qualified No. 1 at five of the seven NHRA events held so far in 2004. Cousins Doug and Scott will each be vying for their 16th NHRA national event victory, while Grubnic tries for his first event trophy.
Pre-race ceremonies for the final day of racing at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals Sunday begin at 10:00 a.m. Top Fuel leads the day of eliminations at 11:00 a.m.