Denver: Kalitta Motorsports preview

Team Kalitta geared up to go up to Denver MORRISON, Col., (July 11, 2007) -- This weekend's, July 13-15, annual running of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on the mountain-side at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Col., just a few miles outside...

Team Kalitta geared up to go up to Denver

MORRISON, Col., (July 11, 2007) -- This weekend's, July 13-15, annual running of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on the mountain-side at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Col., just a few miles outside of the Denver city limits, always provides the fans of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series a great show with a spectacular Rocky Mountain backdrop, but it also keeps the tuners and crew chiefs of race cars in the world's quickest and fastest motorsport on their proverbial toes.

Bandimere sits almost 5,900 ft. above sea level. The lack of oxygen at such a lofty level completely changes everything about tuning the engines of all of the 8,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled race cars that compete side-by-side on the scenic strip.

Team Kalitta's Scott Kalitta, driver of the DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, has had the most success in the rare air at Bandimere. When Scott was still guiding the controls of a Top Fuel dragster, he won three event titles (2004, 1995 and 1994) on the mile-high quarter-mile.

"Denver is tricky," Scott said. "There are so many things the crew chiefs have to adjust for the altitude -- compression, blower boost, fuel, everything really. We've been lucky enough to figure it out a few times. You just get out your notes from last year in Denver and then go from there."

Scott, a 45-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., is the son of team owner Connie and Doug's cousin. He returned to the Funny Car class last season after many successful years at the helm of a Top Fuel dragster. He won the NHRA Top Fuel World Championship in 1994 and 1995 as well as 17 NHRA national event trophies, but got his first professional NHRA national event win under the carbon fiber canopy of a Funny Car in Houston in 1989.

Scott's Cousin Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, is hoping this weekend's trip up to the mountains will see him and his team continue their recent climb in POWERade championship points. In the previous three NHRA national events, Doug, who raced to a semi-final finish last season at Bandimere, has gained a total of 64 points on the ever-important No. 8 points position.

"We just keep chipping away at it," Doug said. "Our Mac Tools car has been a lot more consistent lately and that shows in how we've been doing better in the points. We've got three more races left on the six-race summer swing. Hopefully by the time the swing is over, we'll be up to eight or even higher. We're confident that we will be."

Team Kalitta Top Fuel pilot and native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 dragster, is confident that he and the Zantrex-3 team are going to break through for their fist win of the year very soon, possibly even this weekend in Denver.

"I can just feel it," Grubnic said. "We've struggled some this year, but I just have this feeling that we're getting ready to go on a tear and win a few races down the stretch. The guys on my Zantrex-3 team have been working so hard this year. It's just time that they were rewarded for all of their dedication."

Grubnic, a semi-finalist at Denver in 2005, is currently in 7th place in POWERade points.

Hillary Will, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned KB Racing, LLC Top Fueler, was defeated in the quarterfinals of the Denver event last season.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Hillary Will , Ken Black