Ennis, Tex., (Oct. 4, 2005) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship contender Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster, heads south into the Lone Star state this weekend for some big, bombastic, 7,000-horsepower quarter-mile...
Ennis, Tex., (Oct. 4, 2005) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship contender Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster, heads south into the Lone Star state this weekend for some big, bombastic, 7,000-horsepower quarter-mile racing in Ennis, Tex., just south of downtown Dallas, at the Texas Motorplex at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, Oct. 6-9.
Entering the event in Dallas, Doug sits in third place in POWERade championship points, 208 behind leader Tony Schumacher and three points behind second place holder Larry Dixon. Doug held the lead for over half of the 2005 season before Schumacher recently took over after the Indianapolis event three events ago. Now Doug looks to regain his earlier winning stride after winning only two elimination rounds in the previous four events.
"We've been struggling lately, and it could not have come at a worse time," Doug said. "There are now only 12 rounds left to potentially make up ground in the points, so we have to be sharp and win a lot of rounds in the next three races to have any shot at the championship.
"These next few races, including Dallas, are at some tracks that we have done very well at in the past. We've just got to put the past few races behind us and move ahead. It sounds easy, but sometimes it's hard to do. I've seen how fortunes can quickly turn in our sport, so we're going to keep battling and try to put ourselves in the best position we can to win."
Doug's competitive history at Dallas is impressive. He made his first final-round appearance at the Texas Motorplex in his Road to the Future Award-winning rookie season of 1998 (spring event). He was again a runner-up at the spring event in 1999 and at the single event in 2001. He won his first Wally (trophy) in Dallas in 2002. He set the track record for elapsed time, 4.483 seconds, in 2003 and was the No. 1 qualifier for last year's competition.
After the previous NHRA event in Joliet, Ill., this past weekend, Doug's Mac Tools crew and co-crew chief Rahn Tobler stayed afterward to test on Monday with Ben Marshall, Kalitta Motorsports' marketing manager/test driver, taking the dragster's reins. Tobler used the opportunity to test different settings in the engine and in the clutch. He is very pleased with the data he retrieved.
"The test went really well," Tobler said. "Our car has been terribly inconsistent lately and we wanted to try to figure out why and how we could fix it. We made a few adjustments that have shown us on the computer that we should see much more consistency from here on out and that's always a good thing."
Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 41, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 24 NHRA national event trophies. His wins so far in 2005 were in Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma and Brainerd. His five wins in 2005 is a career-best mark for the Ann Arbor, Mich., resident.
The threat of Hurricane Rita postponed the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals which was originally set to take place Sept. 22-25.
The O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals begins Friday, Oct. 7, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 5:00 p.m. (CT) and 7:30 p.m. 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.