Phoenix: Doug Kalitta preview

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team determined to deter desert drought with a win in Phoenix PHOENIX, Ariz., (Feb. 20, 2008) -- It's been seven long years since Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000-horsepower "Big Red" Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster,...

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team determined to deter desert drought with a win in Phoenix

PHOENIX, Ariz., (Feb. 20, 2008) -- It's been seven long years since Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000-horsepower "Big Red" Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, drove his bright red rail into the winner's circle at Firebird Int'l Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. Kalitta and his team, led by crew chief Jon Oberhofer, are hoping that this weekend's, Feb. 22-24, annual running of the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals in the Grand Canyon State will see them once again take home the Phoenix title trophy for the sport's quickest and fastest class.

"I can definitely remember the win in Phoenix in '01," Kalitta, a 43-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. "We didn't qualify all that great and we had to run [Dave] Grubnic, who is now my teammate, in round one. We were able to get by him and had a very close race with [Larry] Dixon in the second round. [Kenny] Bernstein smoked the tires against us in the semis, and we were fortunate enough to get by the late Darrell Russell in the finals.

"As you can tell, we beat some really good drivers and teams that day, and our car ran in the 4.60s (seconds) all during eliminations. Hopefully we can get that consistency to happen again for us this weekend. It would be great to put our "Big Red" car in the winner's circle again at Firebird."

Kalitta was the event runner-up in 2004. He was the No. 1 qualifier at Firebird Int'l Raceway in 2003.

Kalitta's uncle, team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta will celebrate his 70th birthday this Sunday, Feb. 24.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta