Kalitta cousins hoping for family rivalry for championship as 2005 NHRA season begins
Pomona, Calif., Feb. 7, 2005 - Kalitta Motorsports teammates and cousins Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, and Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, finished the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series second and fourth in championship points respectively, As the 2005 racing season kicks off this weekend at famed Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif., at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 10-13, the two Top Fuel veterans are hoping for a chance to battle one another for the title this season.
In his eighth year in Top Fuel, Doug, 40, thinks he has an advantage over his older cousin. After all, Doug did become the NHRA's quickest (4.420 seconds) wheelman ever last season in Chicago and the fastest (335.57 mph) ever in Las Vegas.
"We're as good as any team out there," Doug said. "I'm as worried, if not more worried, about racing my teammates ("Aussie Dave" Grubnic drives Kalitta Motorsports' third Top Fueler) than anyone else. Connie (Kalitta, Doug's uncle, team owner and crew chief) has built a great operation here and anyone of our cars is capable of winning at any time. We're going to race each other hard though. All three teams are going to go for it wide open this year, but with Rahn (Tobler, co-crew chief) and my Mac Tools guys, I think we'll come out on top."
Scott, 42, who won his first event in seven years last season in Denver after returning to racing full-time in 2003 after a brief retirement, likes his chances for the championship trophy as well. After all, he is a two-time Top Fuel champion (1994-1995) and the son of his legendary crew chief and team owner Connie.
"I've been doing this all my life," Scott said. "I've been through a lot of highs and a lot of lows. My dad and I know how to win and how to win championships, but knowing and doing in this sport can sometimes be completely opposite. I like our chances this year. I am really comfortable in the car and my crew and Jim "O" (Oberhofer, co-crew chief) are the best in the business. It's going to be a fun year. It just may come down to a battle for the championship with one of my teammates. I guarantee you we will race them as hard as we can. We want to win it all, no matter who we beat."
Scott needs to win the first round of eliminations at the Winternationals to collect the 250th elimination round win of his 24-year career.
The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals begins Thursday for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying session. Another qualifying session follows on Friday, with two scheduled for Saturday. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations.
The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals is the first of 23 national events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is the only full-time three-car Top Fuel drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by now legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta drives the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian David Grubnic drives the third dragster under the banner of Zantrex-3.