Doug Kalitta prepares for biggest race of his NHRA career in Indianapolis Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 31, 2004 -- When you are battling for the 2004 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel championship, every race is big, even every elimination round is big. But...
Doug Kalitta prepares for biggest race of his NHRA career in Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 31, 2004 -- When you are battling for the 2004 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel championship, every race is big, even every elimination round is big. But for Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship dragster, the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Sept. 1-6, is quite probably the biggest race of his seven-year drag racing career.
Not only is Kalitta's 7,000 + horsepower hot rod dominantly decorated with the event's title sponsor, but this is Indy -- "The Big Go", the most prestigious drag racing event every season, and this year it's even more revered because of its golden anniversary. Now, throw into the mix that Doug, 40, is in second place in Top Fuel championship points, just 141 markers behind leader Tony Schumacher, and it's easy to see why this Labor Day weekend is no vacation for Kalitta and his Mac Tools team.
"My approach this year is to keep it simple." Kalitta said. "Indy always tends to be a bit overwhelming, but, with all that's going on for us this year, I need to just stay focused and try to relax as much as possible.
"I have a ton of confidence in my crew and a great sponsor in Mac Tools. Hopefully we can go out and set low E.T. (elapsed time) in qualifying and then go out and win the event. We have everything in place to make it happen."
Kalitta, who has 18 NHRA national event Top Fuel trophies, including three in 2004 (Chicago 1, St. Louis and Sonoma), holds the timeslips for the quickest (4.420 sec. -- Chicago 1, 2004) and the fastest (335.57 mph -- Las Vegas 1, 2004) laps down the quarter mile in NHRA history. He was runner-up in championship points in 2003, a career-high finish.
Doug's Mac Tools dragster runs out of the Kalitta Motorsports racing stable, the only full-time, three-car Top Fuel dragster team in the NHRA. His cousin Scott Kalitta carries the colors for Mac Tools and Jesse James on his nitro rail for Team Kalitta. Their teammate and native Australian "Aussie Dave" Grubnic bears the brand FatMax® for Stanley on his specially painted race car for "The Big Go".
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is Doug's uncle and Scott's dad. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer (Stanley® FatMax® dragster).
The 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis is the 18th event of the $50 million, 23-event 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Qualifying for Labor Day's 16-car final eliminations field begins with one session Friday for the professional classes. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday with qualifying wrapping up Sunday in two final sessions.
Please visit www.kalittaracing.com for more information about Kalitta Motorsports.