Pomona II: Grubnic, Arend preview

Team DHL looks to finish the NHRA season with a double delight POMONA, Calif., (Nov. 11, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow, Nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Top Fuel dragster, and his DHL/Kalitta Motorsports...

Team DHL looks to finish the NHRA season with a double delight

POMONA, Calif., (Nov. 11, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow, Nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Top Fuel dragster, and his DHL/Kalitta Motorsports teammate and native Canadian Jeff Arend, driver of the Nitro-fueled DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, both go into this weekend's, Nov. 13-16, season-ending Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.), looking for their respective first wins of the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Grubnic, known to fans of the world's fastest motorsport as "Aussie Dave", is looking to make his first visit to the winner's circle since his victory at the famed Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in 2006, a total of 66 events.

"We certainly are due," Grubnic, a 46-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., said. "It's not for a lack of trying. Connie (Kalitta, team owner and crew chief) and James (Riola, assistant crew chief) and our whole DHL team bust their guts week in and week out. Top Fuel is extremely competitive and it gets more and more that way every race.

"I'm very thankful to be able to do what I do. Driving a Top Fuel car is my life's dream and to be able to do it and do it for Connie is absolutely the best. We go out there every show thinking we're going to win. As long as we know we can, we'll keep trying, and we will get some more wins. I'm sure of it. Hopefully, this weekend in Pomona will be ours and propel us into next year with a big shot of confidence."

Grubnic is in 10th place in POWERade points and in the NHRA Countdown to 1 postseason.

In early 2004, Grubnic was hired to drive for legendary team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta and Kalitta Motorsports. In the fall of '04, Grubnic won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt. Grubnic picked up an emotional first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy.

Arend, a 45-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., is also hoping to celebrate in Pomona's winner's circle with a breakthrough win in the DHL Funny Car. Arend and the DHL crew, led by crew chief Glenn Mikres, have made sizable strides in getting better performances out of their Nitro-fueled machine. A win in the Finals would certainly give the DHL team a tremendous lift going into the off season.

Arend noted, "Our DHL car continues to show us more improvements at every event. This team knows how to win, and we're getting closer and closer to that every time we go out there. It's going to happen soon.

"I can't wait to race in Pomona this weekend. Pomona is my home track and it's one of my favorite places on Earth. Pomona is very special. We're going to have a lot of family and friends out this weekend, too, so hopefully we can get the DHL car in that famous winner's circle for them and all of our fans and supporters."

Kalitta Motorsports team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta chose Arend to drive the DHL Toyota Solara mount in late July to help preserve the legacy of his legendary son, Scott Kalitta, who died as result of a high-speed Funny Car qualifying accident in Englishtown, N.J., June 21. Arend is a 13-year Funny Car veteran with one NHRA Funny Car national event win to his credit -- Reading, Pa., 1996.

Qualifying for the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals begins Thursday for the Nitro-fueled classes with one qualifying session at 2:30 p.m. (PT). Another qualifying session will follow on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions take place Saturday at noon and 3:30 p.m. The top 16 qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

-credit: km

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Kalitta , Jeff Arend , Connie Kalitta