Memphis: Kalitta Motorsports final summary

Team Kalitta sings the blues in Memphis as all three Top Fuelers make early round exits Millington, Tenn., (Aug. 21, 2005) - At the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals in Millington, Tenn., just north of the birthplace of Rock n' Roll and the shores of...

Team Kalitta sings the blues in Memphis as all three Top Fuelers make early round exits

Millington, Tenn., (Aug. 21, 2005) - At the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals in Millington, Tenn., just north of the birthplace of Rock n' Roll and the shores of the mighty Mississippi River in Memphis, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' only full-time, three-car Top Fuel dragster team of Kalitta Motorsports struggled to win only two rounds on a very steamy and slippery quarter-mile at Memphis Motorsports Park Sunday.

Going into Sunday's 16-car final eliminations, No. 10 qualifier Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship dragster, held a 64-point lead over second place Tony Schumacher in the race for the POWERade championship. Unfortunately, Doug's lead diminished when he lost in the first round to Melanie Troxel, 4.914 seconds, 290.69 mph to 4.869 sec., 294.82 mph. Doug's better starting line reaction time (.080 sec. to .105) put him out in front early, but his dragster fell behind right before the finish line to give Troxel a .0204-sec. margin of victory.

By virtue of Schumacher's final-round showing in Memphis, Doug now leads the POWERade points by only four.

Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 41, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 24 NHRA national event trophies. His wins so far in 2005 were in Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma, Calif., and at the previous event before Memphis in Brainerd, Minn.

"Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the black and electric blue-flamed Zantrex-3 nitro dragster, fared much better than his teammate Doug in his opening round match with Clay Millican. Grubnic, the No. 11 qualifier, slid by Millican, 4.818 sec., 291.01 mph to 5.219 sec., 225.82 mph, to get the win.

In round two, Grubnic made a valiant effort with his 7,000 horsepower rail, but came up just short against Rod Fuller, 4.795 sec., 293.86 mph to 4.745 sec., 305.29 mph.

With his win in the first round, Grubnic moves up to fourth from fifth in championship points. He is 223 points from the lead.

Native Australian Grubnic, 43, the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, made history May 29th in Topeka, Kans., by becoming the first non-North American to win an NHRA Top Fuel national event. The win in Topeka was Grubnic's first in his 11-year career.

No. 12 qualifier Scott Kalitta, driver of the multi-colored striped Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster, won his first round battle with tool car rival Doug Herbert, 4.803 sec., 302.96 mph to 4.862 sec., 293.03 mph.

In round two, Scott lost an incredibly close race to Cory McClenathan. Scott and McClenathan left the starting time at almost the same time (.078 sec. to .073 sec.), but McClenathan's .005-sec. advantage at the start, gave him the edge at the finish line to beat the quicker Scott, 4.833 sec., 296.44 mph to 4.836 sec., 296.66 mph. The margin of victory at the stripe was an amazingly close .002 sec. (approximately 11 inches).

Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and Doug's cousin Scott, 43, won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, and took the Top Fuel trophy in Joliet, Ill., in early June. He has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his career. He is currently eighth in championship points.

The O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals was the 17th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Clay Millican , Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Rod Fuller , Jesse James