Denver: Kalitta Motorsports final summary

Kalitta Motorsports' "Aussie Dave" Grubnic makes the semifinals at NHRA event in Denver; Teammates Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta bow out in second and first rounds respectively Morrison, Colo., July 17, 2005 -- At the Mopar Mile-High NHRA ...

Kalitta Motorsports' "Aussie Dave" Grubnic makes the semifinals at NHRA event in Denver; Teammates Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta bow out in second and first rounds respectively

Morrison, Colo., July 17, 2005 -- At the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Morrison, Colo., just outside of Denver, Top Fuel driver "Aussie Dave" Grubnic raced his way to the semi-final round at scenic Bandimere Speedway, an audacious quarter-mile drag strip chiseled in the side of the Rocky Mountains.

In the opening round of final eliminations, No. 9 qualifier Grubnic rolled his 7,000 horsepower blue and black Zantrex-3 hot rod to the starting line to face his Kalitta Motorsports teammate and driver of the specially painted Coors/Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fueler, Scott Kalitta, the No. 8 qualifier. In their seven prior career meetings, Scott had won four, but this time it was Grubnic's turn to turn on the win light and even the series between the teammates and good friends, 4.940 seconds, 287.47 mph to 5.022 sec., 276.41 mph.

Scott remains in seventh in championship points.

Scott's cousin and Team Kalitta teammate Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools nitro-powered dragster, easily took a round win against Mike Strasburg, 4.789 sec., 312.57 mph to 5.251 sec., 222.51 mph. Doug started eliminations from the No. 5 qualifying spot.

Grubnic was given a rare gift in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series competition in the second round -- a bye run. In round one, Brandon Bernstein was given the same infrequent bye-run gift when Rob Passey failed to come to the starting line, but Bernstein's dragster broke during the burnout, and he failed to make the run. By rule, neither Bernstein's team nor Passey's team could be declared the winner of the round, so Grubnic became the eliminations ladder beneficiary in round two. Grubnic made a 5.117-sec., 209.20-mph solo run after intentionally shutting the car off at half-track to save parts.

Doug wasn't so fortunate in round two. After getting a small advantage off the starting line over his opponent Morgan Lucas, .038 sec. to .049 sec., Doug's red Mac Tools rail dropped cylinders and lost valuable horsepower to let Lucas slide by to get the win, 4.924 sec., 298.80 mph to 4.894 sec., 294.31 mph.

Doug held a 43-point lead in 2005 NHRA Top Fuel championship points over second place Tony Schumacher going into the Denver event, but with Schumacher's win in Denver, Schumacher now leads Doug by 20 points.

In the semifinals, Grubnic was unfortunately on the losing end of a great drag race with Lucas, 4.759 sec., 313.29 mph to 4.712 sec., 316.90 mph, to end his racing day on the mountain.

The trip to the semifinals was the seventh such eliminations progression for Grubnic in 2005, with two final-round appearances in Topeka, Kans. (winner), and Englishtown, N.J. (runner-up).

Native Australian Grubnic, 42, the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, made history May 29th in Topeka by becoming the first non-North American to win an NHRA Top Fuel national event. The win in Topeka was Grubnic's first in his 11-year career.

Grubnic is currently in fourth place in championship points, just 12 markers from third place and only 101 points from the lead.

The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals was the 13th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-www.kalittaracing.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Morgan Lucas , Jesse James , Rob Passey