Kalitta Motorsports adds third dragster; Veteran David Grubnic chosen as driver
Ypsilanti, Mich., Jan. 6, 2004 -- Kalitta Motorsports, based in Ypsilanti, Mich., has served notice to the rest of their NHRA Top Fuel competitors that their quest for the 2004 Top Fuel championship just added some new muscle from Down Under. Veteran driver, native Australian, and all-around nice guy David Grubnic has been handed the reigns of the new Kalitta Motorsports third dragster to accompany the Mac Tools dragster, driven by Doug Kalitta, and the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster, driven by Scott Kalitta, for the entire 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule.
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "Bounty Hunter" Kalitta will assume crew chief duties for the new entry with assistance from 13-year Kalitta Motorsports clutch specialist Jon Oberhofer. Mike Peek of Peek Brothers Racing fame has also been added to the new team's roster. Although major funding for the racecar will come from Connie, perennial Kalitta Motorsports backers Mac Tools, Red Line Oil, Technicoat Companies, Champion and Fischer Honda will help as associate sponsors.
"To say I'm extremely happy would be an understatement," the 41-year-old Grubnic said. "I am fully stoked. I've been at this drag racing game 13 years at this point. I've been in the states a long time chasing this dream. To finally land with a team I have such enormous respect for and to be getting the seat in a car that should be as good as any car out there is a fantastic opportunity no matter my role with the team.
"I've always raced with teams that did the absolute best they could given the resources they had and I'm appreciative and proud of what we've accomplished in the past. Now it's time to step up to the big-time.
"It's up to the team how they use me. I'm certainly game for anything. I already know in my mind that my No. 1 goal will be to help this team and all their sponsors win back the championship. Connie is a great bud and he's given me this unbelievable chance and the best way I can think of to pay him back is to work as hard as I ever have before to help them achieve their goals of a POWERade championship."
In his nine-year career, Grubnic has driven for Phil and Chris McGee, Bill Blomgren, John Mitchell, and most recently Bill Miller. He has two runner-up finishes and one No. 1 qualifier's plaque to his credit. The very likeable Grubnic has earned the respect of teams and fans alike, most notably the respect of his new boss.
"We have wanted to do this for awhile but the timing was right for 2004 so we did it," Connie said. "I have watched David for quite some time and knew he was the driver I wanted for this deal. I'm happy he decided to do it. He will be a great fit on our new team."
Team manager and Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster crew chief Jim Oberhofer shares his mentor's sentiments. "This is a really exciting time for our race team. The addition of a third Top Fuel team will benefit all of our racecars. David Grubnic is a great driver and a fan favorite. His skills and experience will be invaluable to our entire organization.
"This will provide us with a great opportunity to try different things in race conditions that can be shared with our Mac Tools and Jesse James/Mac Tools teams. All three dragsters will be capable of winning NHRA national events. Obviously, that gives Kalitta Motorsports better odds at every race."