Team Kalitta's NHRA Top Fuelers qualify No. 3, No. 5, No. 7 and No. 11 in Englishtown Englishtown, N.J., June 18, 2005 -- At Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at the K&N Filters SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., Kalitta Motorsports' NHRA-only...
Team Kalitta's NHRA Top Fuelers qualify No. 3, No. 5, No. 7 and No. 11 in Englishtown
Englishtown, N.J., June 18, 2005 -- At Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at the K&N Filters SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., Kalitta Motorsports' NHRA-only full-time, three-car Top Fuel dragster team of Scott Kalitta, Doug Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic qualified No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7 respectively in Sunday's 16-car eliminations ladder. This weekend, Team Kalitta is also fielding a fourth Top Fueler driven by Kalitta Motorsports' test driver/marketing and hospitality manager Ben Marshall. Marshall qualified No. 11.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 3 (4.498 sec., 329.75 mph). He will race No. 14 qualifier Jack Beckman in round one of eliminations. Scott has never raced Beckman in his career. Beckman is Scott's 101st opponent in his career.
Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, and the previous event in Joliet, Ill., is currently sixth in championship points.
"You don't want to count your chickens before they hatch, but our car is looking like a contender again," Scott said. "We've made mostly clean, consistently good runs since right before Joliet. I think we have a great shot at getting our second straight win."
Scott has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career.
Scott's Team Kalitta teammate Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel hot rod, qualified No. 7 (4.519 sec., 322.50 mph). He will race No. 10 qualifier Doug Herbert in round one of eliminations. Grubnic is 8-7 versus Herbert in his career.
"We would have obviously liked to qualify better," Grubnic said. "There are some pretty tricky track conditions here this weekend. All-in-all, we're fairly happy with how we did. I'm very confident we'll have the right tune-up for racing tomorrow."
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, Kans., 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.
Current Top Fuel championship points leader and two-time points runner-up (2003-2004) and Scott's cousin Doug, 40, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, made his best lap of 4.511 sec., 326.32 mph in final qualifying session Saturday to qualify No. 5. He will race No. 12 qualifier David Baca in round one of eliminations. Doug is 3-2 versus Baca in elimination rounds in his career.
"It always feels good to run your best qualifying lap in the last session," Doug said. "We read what the car was telling us in the previous three runs and finally did the right thing."
Doug holds a slim 22-point lead over second place Tony Schumacher going into Sunday's eliminations.
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 will be vying for his sixth final-round appearance of Sunday. He also made the title round at events in Las Vegas and Columbus, Ohio.
Marshall, driver of the StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, is making his second professional appearance this weekend. Marshall made his pro debut in the same race car in Las Vegas earlier this year, where he qualified No. 9 and lost in the first round of eliminations to Jack Beckman. His best qualifying effort in Englishtown of 4.621 sec., 317.49 mph lands him in the No. 11 qualifying position. He will race No. 6 qualifier Clay Millican in round one.
"It's really good for me and my team to get in the show for our second time out now," Marshall said. "I'm getting more and more comfortable in the car. We used up a lot of parts in qualifying and as a former crew guy, that upsets me, but we'll get everything ready to race tomorrow."
Marshall worked as a crewman for Kalitta Motorsports from 1998 to 2000.
Kalitta Motorsports has made six straight final-round appearances. In the first ten NHRA national events of 2005, Team Kalitta race cars have made eight final-round appearances with six wins (Doug - 3, Scott - 2, Grubnic - 1).
The K&N Filters SuperNationals is the 11th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Sunday's final eliminations begin with the Top Fuel class at 11:00 a.m.