Doug Kalitta heads to Pomona looking for more and less in the 2006 NHRA season Pomona, Calif., (Feb. 7, 2006) - Doug Kalitta, driver of the 7,000 horsepower, bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, hopes in some ways that history repeats itself...
Doug Kalitta heads to Pomona looking for more and less in the 2006 NHRA season
Pomona, Calif., (Feb. 7, 2006) - Doug Kalitta, driver of the 7,000 horsepower, bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, hopes in some ways that history repeats itself for him and his team in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. In other ways, he and the Mac Tools crew certainly hope that it does not make an encore performance.
In 2005, Kalitta, 41, won a career-high five national events and led the championship points race for only the second time in his drag racing career and did so for more than half of the season, but after some uncharacteristically poor performances in the last half of the season, Kalitta and his team finished in third place in points.
As the 2006 NHRA season gets rolling this weekend with the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 9-12, in Pomona, Calif., Kalitta, a resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., wants nothing less than to capture the top points spot again and secure it for the entire season.
"We started out great last year and stayed in the lead for a long time, but then we blew it," Kalitta said. "We had some problems with the performance of the car that we have now changed. It was not something that we could have easily solved or we would've done it last year, but we're in good shape now.
"We just finished testing and the car responded well to changes and made some great laps. I'm confident in our crew and Rahn (Tobler, crew chief). I really thought we had a shot at the championship last year and I, and everyone on my team for that matter, was very disappointed when it slipped away from us, but I think that it has just made us all even more determined to go get it this year."
Kalitta's Mac Tools dragster will again take to the NHRA's quarter-mile tracks across the United States in its familiar red metal skin, but the paint scheme for 2006 has a new, sleek design sans the black flames that have adorned the front of the Mac Tools rail for the past several seasons.
"The new paint looks cool," Kalitta said. "I knew that we were going to change it up a bit this year. I'm just glad it's still red. It's impossible to miss us when we go down the track."
Kalitta is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and a nine-year Top Fuel veteran. He has 24 NHRA national event victories. He also holds the time slip for the quickest run in NHRA history, 4.420 sec., Chicago 1 - 2004.
Kalitta was the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for NHRA rookie excellence, and he's a former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994).
The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals begins Thursday, Feb. 9, for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying session at 2:30 p.m. (PT). The next qualifying attempt will be made on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:00 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 CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals is the 1st of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car 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 Kalitta Air Funny Car. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship Top Fuel dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian Dave Grubnic drives the StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, while Hillary Will drives the Kalitta Motorsports-managed and Ken Black-owned Top Fuel dragster.
Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Hillary Will-driven dragster), Jon Oberhofer (StriVectin-SD dragster), Johnny West (Kalitta Air Funny Car) and Larry Meyer (Kalitta Air Funny Car co-crew chief).