Las Vegas: Kalitta Motorsports Saturday summary

NHRA's Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 8 in Las Vegas; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 10 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 11 in nitro Funny Car LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the specially painted Chip Foose/Mac...

NHRA's Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 8 in Las Vegas; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 10 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 11 in nitro Funny Car

LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the specially painted Chip Foose/Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 8 with a qualifying best of 4.580 seconds at 330.07 mph for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas.

Doug will race No. 9 qualifier Rod Fuller (4.586 sec., 327.59 mph) in the first round of eliminations tomorrow. This weekend, Kalitta's 7,000 horsepower race car is decorated with a unique one-time only design by famed custom hot rod builder Chip Foose. Foose is the host and star of The Learning Channel's Overhaulin'. Overhaulin' is the cable TV channel's highest rated program.

Doug enters eliminations in 9th place in championship points. He won the fall event in Las Vegas in 2004. His previous win in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series was in Brainerd, Minn., last August.

Doug, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He has 24 NHRA national event wins. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.

Doug's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate and native Australian Dave Grubnic qualified for Sunday's eliminations in the No. 10 spot (4.589 sec., 325.69 mph). He will race No. 7 qualifier Cory McClenathan (4.579 sec., 325.69 mph) in the first round of eliminations.

Grubnic won the prestigious NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., three weeks ago. He enters eliminations in 4th place in POWERade Top Fuel championship points.

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional and long overdue 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.

For only the second time this season (Phoenix), Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driving his new Kalitta Air Monte Carlo Funny Car flopper, qualified for Sunday's eliminations. Scott, the son of team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, qualified in the No. 11 spot (4.804 sec., 317.49 mph). He will race No. 6 qualifier Ron Capps (4.771 sec., 321.35 mph) in the first round of eliminations.

Scott's 4.804-sec blast in Friday night's second qualifying session was the quickest of his career in a nitro-fueled Funny Car flopper.

Scott, a 43-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., and 25-year drag racing veteran, made the switch from Top Fuel to Funny Car this season. Scott has one NHRA national event win in his career in nitro Funny Car and that was at the Houston event in 1989 while driving with a broken left foot. In Top Fuel, Scott scored two world championships (1994-1995) and 17 NHRA national event wins.

Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 5 position.

-km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Connie Kalitta , Rod Fuller , Hillary Will , Ken Black