Joliet: Kalitta Motorsports preview

Team Kalitta rolls to Joliet after successful last NHRA outing Joliet, Ill., May 19, 2004 -- After a successful weekend for the three-car Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster team at the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in...

Team Kalitta rolls to Joliet after successful last NHRA outing

Joliet, Ill., May 19, 2004 -- After a successful weekend for the three-car Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster team at the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Atlanta, the team now heads north to Joliet, Ill., for the NHRA Route 66 Nationals. The eighth event of the 23-event NHRA schedule will roar to life at Route 66 Raceway, just south of Chicago, on Friday for the pro classes. Cousins Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools flagship hot rod, and Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James entry, both reached the semi-final round in Atlanta. Their teammate David Grubnic, driver of the Kalitta Air dragster, was low qualifier for the event after setting an Atlanta Dragway track record (4.469 sec.) in qualifying.

"We turned a corner in Atlanta," two-time Top Fuel champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta said. "We've been struggling to get our car down the track all year, but we found some things that needed to be changed. I feel really good about what we accomplished down there and hopefully we have our problems behind us now and can start winning some races."

Scott, 42, has 15 NHRA national event victories in his 23-year career. He is the son of team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. Scott moved up to ninth in championship points from 11th after the strong Atlanta showing.

"It was a good weekend for our whole team," 2003 Top Fuel championship runner-up Doug Kalitta added. "It would've been even better if we would have won or made the finals, but it just didn't happen. Still, Kalitta Motorsports had a good event.

"The race track and the facility in Chicago are really great. We ran our 4.42 (seconds, the quickest pass in NHRA history) there last fall, so we know the track is good. Rahn (Tobler, co-crew chief) and Connie (crew chief) will have our Mac Tools car ready to run big numbers again. It should be a lot of fun if the weather cooperates."

Doug, 39, also holds 15 NHRA event trophies. He has been racing for his Uncle Connie since 1998. The veteran airplane pilot and owner/president of Kalitta Charters, an airline services company, in Ypsilanti, Mich., was the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Champion. Doug also holds the time slip for the fastest run in NHRA history of 335.57 mph (Las Vegas 1, 2004). He is currently third in championship points.

Grubnic's low qualifier in Atlanta was his third of 2004 (Phoenix, Gainesville). "Aussie Dave" piloted his jet black Kalitta Air dragster to the second round in Atlanta. The fan-friendly native Australian is in his first season with Kalitta Motorsports and sits in fifth place in 2004 championship points. Grubnic, 41, has been driving Top Fuel race cars in the United States for ten years. He has two career final-round appearances.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Jesse James