Denver: Doug Kalitta preview

Top Fueler Doug Kalitta has the points summit in sight as the NHRA heads to Denver DENVER, Colo., (July 12, 2006) -- It's a hit TV show. It's the amount of hours in a day, and it's the most important number right now on the minds of Top Fuel...

Top Fueler Doug Kalitta has the points summit in sight as the NHRA heads to Denver

DENVER, Colo., (July 12, 2006) -- It's a hit TV show. It's the amount of hours in a day, and it's the most important number right now on the minds of Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta and the 8,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team. It is 24, and it's the amount of points that the "Big Red" dragster team is away from the NHRA Top Fuel championship points lead.

This weekend, July 14-16, Kalitta and the stars of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will compete in the first of three consecutive weekly events known as the Western Swing in Denver at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at picturesque Bandimere Speedway. Kalitta and the Mac Tools team are hoping for a peak performance and maybe a little mountain magic this weekend in an attempt to take away the top spot in POWERade points.

"We're really close now," Kalitta said. "We've been chipping away at the lead for almost the whole first half of the season. Maybe in Denver we'll get there.

"Last year we had the points lead going into Denver, and then the second half of the season went downhill from there. We're hoping to flip that around this year. We had a good first half this year, probably better than last year, but Melanie (Troxel, points leader) and those guys had a great start. I just hope we going rounds and stay right there with her and eventually get the lead."

Kalitta won back-to-back events in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta and then consecutively won again at events in Topeka, Kans., and Chicago. Kalitta leads Top Fuel, the NHRA's quickest and fastest racing class, with four wins in 2006 and has climbed from 9th to 2nd place in POWERade championship points since April. He has trimmed away an astounding186 points from the points deficit in the last seven NHRA events.

Kalitta, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing and has 28 career Top Fuel victories in 51 final-round appearances. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Kalitta raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship. He is also the owner and president of Kalitta Charters, a charter airline service based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., alongside Kalitta Air, an airline freight service owned by his uncle, race team owner, and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta.

The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals begins Friday, July 14, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (MT). Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals is the 13th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Connie Kalitta