Denver: Kalitta Motorsports final report

Scott Kalitta leads Team Kalitta in Denver as he reaches first semifinal of 2007 MORRISON, Col., (July 15, 2007) -- At the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on the mountain-side at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Col., just a few miles west of the...

Scott Kalitta leads Team Kalitta in Denver as he reaches first semifinal of 2007

MORRISON, Col., (July 15, 2007) -- At the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on the mountain-side at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Col., just a few miles west of the Denver city limits sign, Scott Kalitta drove his DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car to his first semi-final appearance in this season's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Scott, who has three Top Fuel trophies from the Mile-High city (2004, 1995, and 1994), qualified his yellow and red DHL fuel flopper in the No. 9 position for Sunday's final eliminations. In round one, Scott and his opponent Tony Bartone made a run that defines the term -- pedalfest. Both drivers' entries began losing traction and smoking the tires soon after the Christmas Tree went green. Both drivers were on and off and on the throttle of their race cars all the way down the quarter-mile trying to regain traction. In the end, Scott crossed the finish line first in a holeshot win, 7.030 seconds, 183.32 mph to 7.012 sec., 233.44 mph. Scott's starting line edge of .026 seconds helped him get the win by .008 seconds (approximately 3 feet).

In the quarterfinals, Scott matched up with No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight. This trip down the strip, Scott's DHL car gripped the track much better as Hight's did not and Scott got the big upset win, 5.161 sec., 277.94 mph to 5.616 sec., 196.22 mph.

In his first semi-final appearance since the Richmond, Va., event last fall, Scott faced off against the current POWERade championship points leader Ron Capps. The DHL car began spinning the tires near half-track and Capps was able to pick up the win light, 5.856 sec., 174.35 mph to 5.091 sec., 299.00 mph.

Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, qualified his black and blue Kalitta Motorsports mount in the No. 2 position, his best qualifying effort of 2007. Grubnic charged into the quarterfinals by defeating another venerable Top Fuel veteran in Cory McClenathan in the opening round, 4.806 sec., 302.69 mph to 4.895 sec., 267.43 mph.

In the second round, Grubnic squared off against Larry Dixon. As the sun beat down on the quarter-mile at Bandimere, the track temperature started climbing over 130 degrees. Grubnic and the Zantrex-3 machine started losing traction before half-track on the slippery strip as Dixon had fewer traction problems and went on to get the win, 5.210 sec., 268.97 mph to 4.910 sec., 291.13 mph.

Grubnic is currently in 8th place in POWERade points.

Grubnic's Team Kalitta teammate Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, qualified his "Big Red" rail in the No. 7 spot. For the second time in the past three NHRA events, Doug matched up with Dixon in the first round of eliminations. The two perennial championship contenders gave the huge crowd at Bandimere Speedway an incredible side-by-side drag racing show. This time, it was Dixon's day as he got the very close win, 4.791 sec., 302.82 mph to 4.790 sec., 310.41 mph. The margin of victory at the finish line stripe was a scant .012 seconds.

Doug drops one position in points from 11th to 12th. He now sits 88 points from the No. 8 position.

This season the NHRA instituted a new Countdown to the Championship points system. Only the top eight in POWERade points after the first 17 national events will be allowed to vie for the season championship.

Hillary Will, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned KB Racing LLC Top Fueler, qualified in the No. 11 position for eliminations. She was defeated in the quarterfinals.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Bartone , Ron Capps , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Robert Hight , Hillary Will , Ken Black