Kalitta Motorsports' "Aussie Dave" Grubnic makes finals in Englishtown; Doug Kalitta expands points lead as teammates Scott Kalitta and Ben Marshall suffer early round losses Englishtown, N.J., June 19, 2005 -- At famed Old Bridge Township...
Kalitta Motorsports' "Aussie Dave" Grubnic makes finals in Englishtown; Doug Kalitta expands points lead as teammates Scott Kalitta and Ben Marshall suffer early round losses
Englishtown, N.J., June 19, 2005 -- At famed Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at the K&N Filters SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., "Aussie Dave" Grubnic made his second final-round appearance of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season Sunday. His Kalitta Motorsports teammate Doug Kalitta expanded his Top Fuel championship points lead with a semi-final appearance while other Team Kalitta drivers Scott Kalitta and Ben Marshall lose in the first round of Sunday's final eliminations.
Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 7 (4.519 seconds, 322.50 mph).
Grubnic defeated Doug Herbert in round one, 4.530 sec., 322.73 mph to 4.733 sec., 310.13 mph. In the quarterfinals, Grubnic and John Smith both had problems with traction, but Grubnic crossed the finish line first after the engine in Smith's car exploded into a fireball, 4.938 sec., 312.21 mph to 6.102 sec., 161.88 mph.
In the semifinals, Grubnic easily won over Jack Beckman, 4.548 sec., 324.59 mph to 4.663 sec., 291.38 mph.
Grubnic faced Larry Dixon in the final round. It was a title-round rematch of the two foes who had met in the final round in Topeka, Kans., just three events ago. Grubnic got off of the starting line first (.073 sec. to .077 sec.), but lost when his Zantrex-3 dragster lost traction before 300 feet down the quarter-mile, 6.798 sec., 135.44 mph to 4.533 sec., 329.91 mph.
Fourth place in championship points holder and native Australian Grubnic, 42, the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, made history last month 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. He now has nine final-round appearances in his career.
Current Top Fuel championship points leader and two-time points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug Kalitta, 40, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, qualified in the No. 5 spot (4.511 sec., 326.32 mph).
In the first round, Doug won over David Baca, 4.548 sec., 318.92 mph to 6.104 sec., 140.21 mph. Doug made a single run in the quarterfinals because Scott Weis's team was unable to make the starting line call. Doug cruised down the quarter-mile at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park with a 4.542-sec., 324.36-mph lap to get lane choice over Dixon in the semifinals.
Dixon defeated a tire-smoking Doug in the semifinals, 4.522 sec., 330.63 mph to 5.095 sec., 232.03 mph.
Doug holds a 62-point lead over second place Tony Schumacher. Doug's lead had shrunk to only 22 points entering Sunday's eliminations, but Schumacher's loss in the first round helped Doug expand his lead.
Doug is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 22 NHRA national event trophies. He has three wins so far in 2005 (Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta). He was runner-up at events in Las Vegas and Columbus, Ohio.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and Doug's Cousin Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 3 (4.498 sec., 329.75 mph). In his opening-round battle with Beckman, Scott's nitro rail launched hard to the left and raised the front tires enough to keep Scott from steering his race car back into the groove. Scott then began smoking the tires and that allowed Beckman to get the win light, 7.049 sec., 124.98 to 5.823 sec., 187.23 mph.
Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, and the event before Englishtown in Joliet, Ill., remains sixth in championship points. He has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career.
Ben Marshall, driver of the StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, made his second professional appearance this weekend in Team Kalitta's fourth dragster entry. Marshall made his pro debut in the same race car in Las Vegas earlier this year. He qualified No. 11 (4.621 sec., 317.49 mph). In round one, Marshall lost traction before half-track and lost to No. 6 qualifier Clay Millican, 6.913 sec., 113.27 mph to 4.508 sec., 322.81 mph.
Kalitta Motorsports has made seven straight final-round appearances. In the first 11 NHRA national events of 2005, Team Kalitta race cars have made nine final-round appearances with six wins (Doug - 3, Scott - 2, Grubnic - 1).
The K&N Filters SuperNationals was the 11th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.