Gainesville: Dave Grubnic final summary

Dave Grubnic wins in Gainesville to claim second NHRA Top Fuel win of career Gainesville, Fla., (March 19, 2006) -- For only the second time in his 12-year career, "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the black and pink StriVectin-SD Top Fuel ...

Dave Grubnic wins in Gainesville to claim second NHRA Top Fuel win of career

Gainesville, Fla., (March 19, 2006) -- For only the second time in his 12-year career, "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the black and pink StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, hoisted the Top Fuel Wally (title trophy) high above his head in victory circle at an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event. This time it was Sunday at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville Fla., one of the sport's biggest and most coveted to win.

Native Australian Grubnic, the No. 3 qualifier (4.555 seconds, 323.62 mph) in Sunday's 16-car Top Fuel field, has several reasons why he is so excited about this win, his second in 11 career final rounds.

"Wow. What can I say about this StriVectin-SD team," an incredibly enthusiastic Grubnic pondered. "We just kept battling all weekend and then got it done."

"I can't say enough about my StriVectin guys. Connie (Kalitta, team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend) and Jon (Oberhofer, co-crew chief) did an awesome job today getting our car prepared and then getting win lights.

"Gina Gay, our StriVectin-SD marketing manger, was here and she wasn't supposed to be. She had some things to take care of back at the corporate office, but she decided to fly out and watch us race. Now that we've won, she's our new good luck charm. She better be at every race now!"

Grubnic, the track record holder at Gainesville for elapsed time, 4.481 sec. (2005), raced No. 14 qualifier and fellow native Australian Andrew Cowin in the first round of Sunday's final eliminations in Top Fuel, the NHRA's premier class of racing. Grubnic took out his countryman 4.557 sec., 316.56 mph to 4.625 sec., 320.39 mph.

In round two, Grubnic sent Bob Vandergriff Jr. packing for home, 4.542 sec., 322.58 mph to 7.722 sec., 119.37 mph.

In the semifinals, Grubnic was able to take out his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fueler, in a great race, 4.566 sec., 320.97 mph to 4.727 sec., 308.11 mph.

In the finals, Grubnic faced off against Melanie Troxel. In their previous three meetings, Troxel won, but not this time. Troxel lost traction early in the run and then Grubnic had some traction problems in his lane, but after a quick pedaling of the throttle, Grubnic was able to get his StriVectin-SD dragster locked back up and cruised to his second career title win, 4.943 sec., 317.90 mph to 7.995 sec., 93.59 mph.

With the victory in Gainesville, Grubnic moves from 11th place in POWERade Top Fuel points to 3rd.

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional and long overdue first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy.

The ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals was the 3rd of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Bob Vandergriff