Denver: David Baca final summary

DENVER (July 16) -- Mach 1 Air Services racer David Baca outran new POWERade points leader Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinal round of the 27th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals but lost the race on the starting line with a slightly slower reaction...

DENVER (July 16) -- Mach 1 Air Services racer David Baca outran new POWERade points leader Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinal round of the 27th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals but lost the race on the starting line with a slightly slower reaction time. It was a rare miscue for the Brentwood, Calif., racer, but one that grated him at day's end.

"I made a fatal mistake at the starting line," Baca said of his .079- to .139-second reaction time deficit. "I was thinking. I should have just done my usual thing and turned my brain off but I started thinking about where we are in the points and how I really wanted a good light so I could beat Doug and darn if it didn't bite me."

Baca's Mach 1 rail negotiated Bandimere Speedway's scorching hot racetrack in 5.013 seconds at 295.01 mph, quick enough to beat Kalitta's 5.023 at 302.28 mph. But the head start gave Kalitta was too much to overcome.

Baca's first-round win over red-hot Rod Fuller lifted him from 12th to 11th place in the POWERade championship points, just five points out of the elite top 10. A win over Kalitta would have ranked him 10th, but that goal will have to wait until next weekend's race in Seattle. ]

"That's the good news," Baca said. "I don't have too many days to beat myself up over this loss. Hey, you win as a team and lose as a team. This one is on me, but we're still damn happy with the way we're running right now and that's an even bigger reason to be excited about Seattle."

Aside from his seventh-place finish here, Baca's weekend in Denver was highlighted by an unique one-race partnering with Alex's Lemonade Stand, a charity the benefits pediatric cancer research. Alex's Lemonade Stands were set up in the customer waiting area of 540 Big O Tire stores across the country this week and Baca got the charity and Big O Tires national exposure on ESPN2 by bannering the program on his racecar. Based in Denver, Big O Tires is a major associate sponsor on Baca's racecar.

"It was a great deal and the folks from Big O Tires should be commended for their hard work with this incredible charity," Baca said. "It was an honor to associate ourselves with this program and I hope the TV time we got them pays off with increased awareness and donations.

"Everything around this team has such a positive vibe. This just added to it. Mike Entzminger, the CEO of Mach 1, always says if you do the right things in life, then good things happen. I think we're seeing that now with our race team."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Rod Fuller