Phoenix: Doug Kalitta preview

NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta wants a return to winning ways in Phoenix Chandler, Ariz., (Feb. 20, 2007) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, is looking to relive his victorious visit to the Arizona desert in...

NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta wants a return to winning ways in Phoenix

Chandler, Ariz., (Feb. 20, 2007) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, is looking to relive his victorious visit to the Arizona desert in 2001 at this weekend's, Feb. 23-25, running of the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway just outside of Phoenix in Chandler, Ariz.

"Yeah, we had a great race at Firebird back in '01," Kalitta, a 42-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. "We didn't qualify all that well (10th), but we had a pretty good Sunday."

Kalitta defeated the late Darrell Russell in the final round at FIR six years ago (4.628 seconds, 309.84 mph to 7.416 sec., 111.94 mph).

"We'll just see what happens. Our car is running great so far this year, but this is only the second race. I feel confident we can go some [elimination] rounds on Sunday. Hopefully, we'll be able to get a good qualifying spot and then just go from there."

Since winning the NHRA's equivalent of Rookie of the Year, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Road to the Future Award, after the 1998 drag racing season, Kalitta has driven his dragster to 29 Top Fuel national event titles, which already ties him for sixth in career wins for the sport's quickest and fastest class. In the past four NHRA seasons, Kalitta has solidified his place among the best Top Fuel pilots of all-time. Last season was arguably the best of his straight-line career. He won a career-high five national events in 2006 and led the POWERade points for almost the entire second half of the season. After finishing just 14 points shy of his first NHRA championship, Kalitta garnered his third career runner-up points finish in 2006. He was also points runner-up in 2003 and 2004.

Kalitta's uncle, team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta will celebrate his 69th birthday Saturday, February 24. Doug's cousin and Kalitta Air Toyota Solara Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta celebrated his 45th birthday Monday, February 19.

The Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals begins Friday, Feb. 23, for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying session at 2:00 p.m. (MT), and then another qualifying session at 4:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

The Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals is the 2nd of 23 national events in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-credit: kr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Connie Kalitta