Las Vegas II: Kalitta Motorsports Saturday summary

David Grubnic wins the Budweiser Shootout; Team Kalitta dragsters take top three qualifying spots in Las Vegas Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 30, 2004 -- Ten-year Top Fuel journeyman and fan-favorite "Aussie Dave" Grubnic won the biggest race of his ...

David Grubnic wins the Budweiser Shootout; Team Kalitta dragsters take top three qualifying spots in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 30, 2004 -- Ten-year Top Fuel journeyman and fan-favorite "Aussie Dave" Grubnic won the biggest race of his NHRA career by taking the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout crown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday.

Grubnic, a Brisbane, Australian native, took his newly sponsored Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster to the winner's circle in the lucrative race-within-a-race special event for Top Fuel competitors during qualifying for Sunday's final eliminations at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, the next-to-last event in the $50 million, 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

The Shootout's eight-car field is comprised of dragster drivers who earned the most points while qualifying at NHRA national events over a one-year span.

Grubnic's win in the Budweiser Shootout is his first major Top Fuel victory and is the second consecutive Shootout win for Kalitta Motorsports, his teammate Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel hot rod won the event's big check last year.

Grubnic, who is in his inaugural year behind the wheel of Kalitta Motorsports' third team car, took the Shootout trophy in his first attempt in the event, becoming only the fourth driver to do so in the 20-year history of the Budweiser Shootout.

"This is fantastic," Grubnic said. "To go out there and finally win one after racing to so many finals (seven career runner-up finishes) only to come up short is very, very gratifying, to say the least.

"I've had so many races it seems where we looked like we were going to win and then you'd see someone's nose sneak past you at the end. This time I never saw or heard Larry and when I went through the scoreboards and saw my win light come on I realized we'd finally done it. The first thing I did was get on the radio and tell my crew chief, 'We just won a hundred thousand dollars.' What a thrill.

"Thanks to Bud for putting up the money. Thanks to Connie Kalitta (team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend) for giving me this ride. Thanks to Mac Tools and Technicoat and Zantrex-3, all the people who have supported me for 10 years. They should all share in this win."

Grubnic defeated teammate Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel rail, in round one of the Shootout. He then ended Tony Schumacher's Shootout victory bid in round two to set up the final round with Larry Dixon. Dixon smoked the tires early, but would have had difficulty without his loss of traction to beat Grubnic's 4.501-second, 328.46-mph blast down the quarter mile in his new Zantrex-3 ride.

Grubnic's elapsed time in the Shootout final helped him secure the No. 3 qualifying slot for Sunday's 16-car eliminations field. He will face No. 14 qualifier Rhonda Hartman-Smith in round one.

Scott Kalitta (4.491 sec., 333.00 mph) will enter final eliminations from the No. 1 qualifying for the second time in 2004. Scott also qualified No. 1 at the spring race this season in Las Vegas. His achievement this time marks the 20th time that Scott has taken one of his nitro-powered entries into eliminations from the top spot in his 23-year career. Scott will match up with No. 16 qualifier Scott Weis in round one Sunday.

Mac Tools flagship dragster driver Doug Kalitta, who entered the Budweiser Shootout as the No. 1 seed, but lost to Dixon in the opening round, will enter final eliminations in the No. 2 qualifying spot. His best qualifying attempt of 4.499 sec., 330.47 mph sets up his round one meeting with No. 15 qualifier Gary Ormsby Jr.

Sunday's final eliminations at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway begin with the Top Fuel class at 11:00 a.m.

-kr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Scott Weis , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Connie Kalitta , Gary Ormsby Jr.