Indy ORP: Dave Grubnic final report

Dave Grubnic and the DHL team knocked out early in Indy eliminations INDIANAPOLIS, (Sept. 1, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow, Nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Top Fuel dragster, tried to make seven his...

Dave Grubnic and the DHL team knocked out early in Indy eliminations

INDIANAPOLIS, (Sept. 1, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow, Nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Top Fuel dragster, tried to make seven his lucky number during Sunday's eliminations at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, but "all eight" would have been great in the day's opening salvo.

When the opening round of the 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals started at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Grubnic, the No. 9 qualifier (3.879 seconds, 311.05 mph), and his opponent Antron Brown, the No. 8 qualifier (3.878 sec., 309.91 mph), rolled their dragsters to the starting line as the first race of the day. The two drivers left the starting line almost simultaneously, but Grubnic's yellow missile began to fade behind Brown's ride soon after the start because of a failing cylinder in the DHL car's 500 cubic-inch, eight-cylinder bullet. Brown got to the 1,000-ft. finish line first to get the win, 4.045 sec., 294.11 mph to 3.870 sec., 308.50 mph.

"Tough day," Grubnic, a 46-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., said. "Sometimes those things happen. The Nitro engines in these cars are very fickle and sometimes they drop cylinders and bite you. We thought we had a good chance of winning the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, but it wasn't meant to be for us this year. The No. 2 cylinder had other ideas, I guess. It's okay. We'll keep our heads up and go to Charlotte and begin our run for the championship."

Grubnic is in 10th place in POWERade championship points and in the Countdown to 1, which begins at the next event in Concord, N.C., just a few miles from Charlotte.

Beginning with the 13th event in Denver, the NHRA instituted a new racing distance for the nitro-fueled classes of Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster to 1,000 ft., as opposed to the traditional distance of 1,320 ft., or a quarter of a mile, as a temporary safety solution to help the drivers of the world's quickest and fastest racing safely bring their cars to a stop more efficiently. The unprecedented action, which will be observed for the remainder of the 2008 season, is in response to the tragic death of Kalitta Motorsports' Scott Kalitta, who died in a high-speed Funny Car qualifying accident in Englishtown, N.J., June 21.

Grubnic, unofficially, recorded the quickest 1,000-ft. elapsed time of the 2008 season, 3.783 sec., in Madison, Ill., in early May.

In early 2004, Grubnic was hired to drive for legendary team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta and Kalitta Motorsports. In the fall of '04, Grubnic won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt. Grubnic picked up an emotional 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. He has one other event victory to date, the 2006 running of the famed Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Scott Kalitta