NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic makes semifinals in Dallas; Teammate and Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta ousted in round two of eliminations
ENNIS, Texas, (Sept. 24, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black, 330-mph StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, made it to the semifinals of final eliminations Sunday for the sixth time in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, just a few miles south of downtown Dallas.
Grubnic, the No. 6 qualifier, 4.611 seconds, 322.11 mph, certainly had some Lone Star luck on his side in his run to the semifinals in Dallas. In the opening round, Grubnic faced off against No. 11 qualifier Alan Bradshaw. Both drivers' 8,000-horsepower race car rails had traction problems on the quarter-mile drag strip, and both drivers were on and off and then on the throttle pedals trying to get their nitro-fueled entries to the finish line first. Grubnic was able to wrestle his StriVectin-SD dragster the stripe ahead of Bradshaw, 5.417 sec., 202.91 mph to 6.720 sec., 118.59 mph.
Grubnic's good fortunes continued in round two. Just like the opener, Grubnic and his opponent had difficulty getting their mounts to maintain valuable traction. This time the car in the other lane was driven by J.R. Todd. Grubnic won the tire-smoking affair, 6.751 sec., 242.19 mph to 8.771 sec., 128.80 mph, to set up his semi-final appearance with Brandon Bernstein.
In the semifinals, Grubnic's good luck finally waned. Once again his StriVectin-SD dragster lost traction just after he stepped on the loud pedal, but his foe Bernstein cruised right down the track without incident, 9.382 sec., 78.64 mph to 4.629 sec., 326.63 mph.
Grubnic leaves the Lone Star state in sixth place (1093) in POWERade championship points, 270 points behind the leader.
Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of "Big Red", the flagship Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 2, 4.535 sec., 324.59 mph, for the weekend's festivities at Texas Motorplex. He easily advanced to the second round of eliminations, 4.530 sec., 325.61 mph, after his round one opponent Andrew Cowin experienced mechanical troubles on the starting line, 21.489 sec., 74.51 mph. In the second round, Doug battled Bernstein for a trip to the semifinals. Both red race cars left the starting line strong and it seemed a classic race was at hand, but just before half track, puffs of smoke started emanating from the big rear tires on the Mac Tools dragster as Doug's ride began losing traction. Doug tried to get his car to recover, but it was too little, too late as Bernstein sped to the finish line for the win, 5.276 sec., 207.69 mph, 4.696 sec., 296.83 mph.
Doug retains his points lead by 33 over second place and by 40 points over third place holder Bernstein.
Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, the No. 7 qualifier (4.837 sec., 311.99 mph) and driver of the Toyota Solara Nitro Funny Car, lost in the first round of Funny Car final eliminations to No. 10 qualifier Gary Scelzi, 9.247 sec., 86.87 mph to 4.986 sec., 306.40 mph.
-credit: kalitta racing