Kalitta reaches first final round of 2003; Leaves Las Vegas third in points. Las Vegas, Nev., April 6, 2003 -- The scene Sunday at the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a familiar one for the Mac ...
Kalitta reaches first final round of 2003; Leaves Las Vegas third in points.
Las Vegas, Nev., April 6, 2003 -- The scene Sunday at the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a familiar one for the Mac Tools/Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster team. For the fourth consecutive national event, they entered final eliminations as low qualifier. Kalitta's top qualifying streak is now just one short of tying the record of five pole positions to begin a season set by Gary Beck in the 1983 Top Fuel campaign. Kalitta's 4.499-second qualifying benchmark also set a new track record.
Since the opening of the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, race fans and Top Fuel competitors alike have witnessed the capability of the Mac Tools racecar to perform at a dominating level. In Las Vegas, Team Kalitta finally was able to consummate their qualifying proficiency with their first trip to the final round this season. Although the title was not in the cards for them this time, the Mac Tools team and their loyal fans know now that event wins are imminent.
"All in all it was a good weekend for the Mac Tools team," Kalitta said. "We are disappointed that we did not get the trophy, but we went rounds and gained some valuable championship points. We have an awesome racecar. We will win soon. Qualifying No. 1 for the first four races is a great accomplishment for our Mac Tools team, but every one of us would trade them all for a win."
In the first round of eliminations, Kalitta's day began with a little luck. The special Kid Rock-themed Mac Tools dragster dropped a cylinder early in the run and struggled down the track on its way to a 4.98-second pass after losing the blower belt near the finish line. However, Kalitta's opponent, Steven Chrisman, had more mechanical problems and conceded the win after posting an 8.98-second attempt. Kalitta then posted consecutive 4.66-second trips down the quarter-mile to defeat Rhonda Hartman-Smith and Brandon Bernstein in rounds two and three respectively. Kalitta's 4.69-second lap was not enough against Larry Dixon's 4.60-second run to claim the final round victory.