Norwalk: Kalitta Motorsports final report

Doug Kalitta reaches semifinals for the first time this season in Norwalk NORWALK, Ohio, (July 1, 2007) -- For Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000-horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, today's final eliminations at the Summit Racing Equipment...

Doug Kalitta reaches semifinals for the first time this season in Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio, (July 1, 2007) -- For Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000-horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, today's final eliminations at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, was a bittersweet event for the venerable quarter-mile veteran. Doug, last season's NHRA championship points runner-up, reached his first semi-final round of 2007 at the Norwalk race track that sits just two hours away from his home in Ann Arbor, Mich., but thoughts of his father's passing away just days before weighed heavy on the drag racing fan-favorite. Doug Kalitta, Sr., succumbed to cancer last Tuesday at age 67.

"We really wanted to win this one for dad," Doug said. "But, I'm sure he would be happy with what we accomplished. Today was our best day of the season, and I really wish he was here to see it."

Doug and his first-round opponent Larry Dixon put on a great show for the packed grandstands full of NHRA fans to start the day. Doug, the No. 14 qualifier, and Dixon raced side-by-side all the way down the drag strip, but Doug's Mac Tools machine was triumphant at the finish line, 4.601 seconds, 322.11 mph to 4.632 sec., 317.94 mph. In the quarterfinals, Doug won another close race. This time it was Bob Vandergriff, Jr. that Doug sent home, 4.586 sec., 325.53 mph to 4.630 sec., 317.34 mph. The round-two run was Doug's best of the weekend in Norwalk.

In the semifinals, Doug rolled to the starting line to face current points leader Rod Fuller. Doug looked to be on his way to his 53rd career Top Fuel final as the race got started, but his Mac Tools ride began to struggle with valuable tire traction before the half-track mark and the "Big Red" dragster fell back to let Fuller escape with the win, 5.209 sec., 215.75 mph to 4.738 sec., 314.17 mph.J Doug moved up one position in POWERade championship points from 13th to 12th and now sits only 53 points away from the magical No. 8 position in points. After the first 17 events of the season, only the top eight in points will be allowed to compete for the season championship in the new NHRA Countdown to the Championship format.

Doug's Top Fuel teammate and native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 dragster, qualified for eliminations in the No. 8 spot. Grubnic picked up a round one win after he and his opponent, Luigi Novelli, both struggled to keep their nitro-fueled machines stuck to the racing surface, but Grubnic managed to get the win in a tire-smoking affair, 6.857 sec., 207.82 mph to 10.264 sec., 207.82 mph.

In the quarterfinals, Grubnic raced Fuller. Grubnic's rail lost traction almost immediately after leaving the starting line and that let Fuller get the win light, 11.986 sec., 83.85 mph to 4.552 sec., 322.73 mph.

Grubnic also moved up position in POWERade Top Fuel points from 7th to 6th.

Scott Kalitta, driver of the DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, failed to qualify for Sunday's final eliminations in the Funny Car class.

Hillary Will, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned KB Racing LLC Top Fueler, was defeated in the quarterfinals.

The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals was the 11th of 23 national events in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-credit: km

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Bob Vandergriff , Rod Fuller , Hillary Will , Ken Black