Kalitta powers to semifinals in Phoenix. Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 23, 2003 -- As final eliminations for the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals began Sunday, Doug Kalitta found himself in familiar territory in the young NHRA POWERade Drag Racing...
Kalitta powers to semifinals in Phoenix.
Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 23, 2003 -- As final eliminations for the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals began Sunday, Doug Kalitta found himself in familiar territory in the young NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season.
For the second consecutive national event, Kalitta and the Mac Tools/Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster team raced to the No. 1 qualifying position. Kalitta's 4.512-second, 328.62-mph blast during Saturday's qualifying action set a new elapsed time record at Firebird Int'l Raceway on his way to the top spot.
"We could get used to this," said a smiling Kalitta. "Our Mac Tools team likes to get that low-qualifier, bonus money from Budweiser. We sure wouldn't mind getting it at every event this season."
In the first round of eliminations, Kalitta's best reaction time, .042 seconds, and quickest elapsed time, 4.532 seconds, of the round were more than enough to defeat his opponent David Grubnic's 5.627-second, 158.65-mph run.
The quarterfinals pitted Kalitta against John Smith. Again, the Mac Tools dragster was too powerful for their competition. Kalitta's pass of 4.557 seconds at 325.06 mph defeated Smith's 4.664-second, 314.46-mph lap.
In the semifinals, Kalitta tripped the scoring timers at 6.370 seconds (140.61 mph) after losing traction before half-track. In the opposite lane, Larry Dixon had no problems en route to running 4.564 seconds at 325.30 mph.
"We really wanted to beat that beer car (Dixon's Miller Lite dragster)," co-crew chief Jim Oberhofer said. "Our Mac Tools dragster was certainly capable of taking them out, but we smoked the tires. I am sure we will face them again. We will be ready to change the outcome next time."
Kalitta's semifinal appearance helped him to move up three places in POWERade Top Fuel championship points. After two of 23 national events, Kalitta is sixth in points.
Doug Kalitta Power Points
Career event wins: 11 Last event win: 2002 O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Dallas Career final rounds: 24 Last final round: 2002 O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Dallas Career No. 1 qualifying: 9 Last No. 1 qualifying: 2003 Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, Phoenix Career best elapsed time: 4.482 seconds (2003 K&N Filters Winternationals) Career best speed: 332.18 mph (2003 K&N Filters Winternationals)