Memphis: Dave Grubnic preview

Grubnic holding head high in Memphis after string of NHRA runner-up finishes Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 17, 2004 - "Aussie Dave" Grubnic is understandably frustrated. The likeable Brisbane, Australia native has taken his 7,000+ horsepower Red Line Oil...

Grubnic holding head high in Memphis after string of NHRA runner-up finishes

Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 17, 2004 - "Aussie Dave" Grubnic is understandably frustrated. The likeable Brisbane, Australia native has taken his 7,000+ horsepower Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster to four final rounds in the past five NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events (St. Louis, Seattle, Sonoma and Brainerd), but has yet to taste the spoils of victory.

Grubnic, a journeyman Top Fueler, is in his inaugural season at the wheel of the third Kalitta Motorsports nitro hot rod. His teammates Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster, and Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster, have claimed four trophies this season and have 34 career wins between them, but Grubnic, 42, has yet to reach the winner's circle in his ten-year career.

As the NHRA rolls into Memphis this weekend for the 17th of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events, the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, Aug. 20-22, Grubnic is undoubtedly disappointed that he does not yet have a win in six career final-round appearances, but he is also determined to stay focused on his team's goals and knows that his time to shine is inevitable.

"It gets a little harder to take every time," Grubnic said. "The loss in Brainerd is probably the worst to take because it was so close. I really thought I had him (championship points leader Tony Schumacher), but it was just not quite enough.

"I could sit around and beat myself up about it, but that doesn't change anything. I just need to stay focused on the task at hand, and that is helping my teammate Doug go for the championship. Sure we want to win, but that's secondary right now. The points battle is close (Doug is second, 122 points shy of the lead) and we need to do whatever it takes to take out as many cars as we can to help Doug and his team. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, that will also mean us getting our first Wally (trophy).

"I am also excited for Tim [Kerrigan, president of Red Line Oil]. Ever since we started running our new Red Line Oil car in Sonoma, we have reached at the final round. I hope that continues in Memphis. I got my first No. 1 qualifier in Memphis in '99, so maybe Memphis is lucky for me. We'll get a win someday. I am certain of it."

Grubnic will again be driving the specially painted Red Line Oil dragster in Memphis in celebration of the California-based company's 25th anniversary.

Grubnic is currently fourth in points, 324 off the lead.

Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is Doug's uncle and Scott's dad. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer (Kalitta Air dragster).

Qualifying for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field begins with two sessions Friday for the professional classes and two more again Saturday.

Please visit www.kalittaracing.com for more information about Kalitta Motorsports.

-km-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Jesse James