Pomona II: Kalitta Motorsports preview

NHRA's Team Kalitta set to end 2005 Top Fuel campaign the right way on the left coast Pomona, Calif., (Nov. 1, 2005) - Like the way a 7,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster guzzles its nitromethane racing fuel, the 64 oz. bottle of POWERade that is...

NHRA's Team Kalitta set to end 2005 Top Fuel campaign the right way on the left coast

Pomona, Calif., (Nov. 1, 2005) - Like the way a 7,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster guzzles its nitromethane racing fuel, the 64 oz. bottle of POWERade that is the 2005 POWERade Drag Racing Series has been chugged by fans and participants alike, and now it's time to put a cap on the season that was with the 23rd and final event of the year - The Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway, Nov. 3-6.

With the season's championship points battle already seized and sealed by the Alan Johnson-tuned dragster, the three-car Top Fuel assault of Kalitta Motorsports will now focus their collective and solitary attacks on their other quarter-mile goals to finish the 2005 season in a bombastic, rather than a broodingly, fashion.

Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools flagship Top Fuel team have two listings without check marks beside them on their 2005 to-do list. The first is to keep the No. 2 on the outward facing spill plates of their race car's towering rear wing. Their second gotta-get-done-this-year entry is occupied by "Win the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship!"

Entering the season's final event, Doug sits in third place in POWERade championship points, just six points behind second place holder Larry Dixon. NHRA teams traditionally adopt and display their ranking in points from the previous season as their car number. Doug has been the championship points runner-up for the previous two seasons.

Next on the racing weekend's agenda for the Mac Tools team is the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship, a potential $25,000 paycheck awarded to the best crew in each of the NHRA's professional classes based on performance and consistency in qualifying attempts. As it stands now, Doug's Top Fuel crew, led by Rahn Tobler, leads the Full Throttle pack by 12 points.

"I really don't want to call the decal guy and order some 3's," Doug said. "I was hoping to get to call him to order some 1's, but that just didn't work out for us. Six points is not a lot. Hopefully we'll qualify well to wrap up the Full Throttle championship and then carry that over into Sunday with some rounds wins to wrap up second place. That's the plan anyway, but sometimes plans and drag racing go together like criminals and police. We'll just have to our best and hope that's enough."

Doug holds the track record at Pomona Raceway for speed set in Nov. 2003, at 333.25 mph.

Doug, 41, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 24 NHRA national event trophies. His wins so far in 2005 were in Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma and Brainerd. His five wins in 2005 is a career-best mark for the Ann Arbor, Mich., resident.

Team Kalitta pilot "Aussie Dave" Grubnic's new-look StriVectin-SD Top Fuel rail was adorned with the No. 5 this season because of his career-best points effort last season. Now with one event left this year, Grubnic and his team are looking to put forth a season-ending winning run to secure the No. 4 chair on stage at Monday's awards banquet for the affable fan-favorite.

"Besides winning the race of course, our goal is to hold on to fourth," Grubnic said. "Hopefully we can do both. In fact, if we win, we'll keep fourth, so we'll just say our goal is winning then.

"Seriously, we want to do well for our new sponsors StriVectin and all the great folks there who just do an awesome job with our program. Pomona is a historic place for us as racers. I would be thrilled to pick up my second Wally (trophy) for my team and my sponsors at Pomona Raceway."

The difference between fourth and seventh place in championship points is only 86.

Native Australian Grubnic, 43, made history May 29th in Topeka, Kans., by becoming the first non-North American to win an NHRA Top Fuel national event. The win in Topeka was Grubnic's first in his 11-year career. Grubnic resides in Ennis, Mont., and in Ypsilanti, Mich., the home of Kalitta Motorsports.

Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, drives the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster for Team Kalitta. He won the season-opening Winternationals event at Pomona Raceway in Feb., so now he wants to bookend the 2005 season with victories for him and his team.

"I want to go out with a bang and not a whimper," Scott, Doug's cousin, said. "It was great getting the win in Pomona at the beginning of the year. I was the first Kalitta to win in Pomona since my dad (team owner, crew chief and drag racing icon Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta) won the Winternationals in 1967, so it was certainly special.

"We've been running better lately, so I think we have a shot at getting another win. We've struggled quite a bit this year, so I'd like to get this one for my guys (crew) and end our season on the high side."

Scott also won the Top Fuel trophy in Joliet, Ill., in early June. He has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career. The Snead Island, Fla., resident is currently eighth in championship points.

The Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals begins Thursday, Nov. 3, for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying sessions at 3:00 p.m. (PT). The next qualifying attempts will be made on Friday at 3:00 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 Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals is the 23rd of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jesse James