Scott Kalitta wins NHRA season-opener in Pomona; Teammate Dave Grubnic reaches the semifinals. Pomona, Calif., 2/13/05 -- Six days away from his 43rd birthday, 24-year NHRA veteran Scott Kalitta got an early gift by winning the Top Fuel title at...
Scott Kalitta wins NHRA season-opener in Pomona; Teammate Dave Grubnic reaches the semifinals.
Pomona, Calif., 2/13/05 -- Six days away from his 43rd birthday, 24-year NHRA veteran Scott Kalitta got an early gift by winning the Top Fuel title at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pomona Raceway Sunday. It was the 17th NHRA national event win of the Kalitta's career in the quickest 16-car eliminations field in NHRA history.
With co-primary sponsor Jesse James (West Coast Choppers) looking on, Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James nitro hot rod, easily defeated tool company sponsor rival Doug Herbert in the Snap-On Tools dragster in the final round with a 4.487-second, 328.46-mph run to Herbert's losing 5.371-sec., 181.84-mph effort.
With great runs all day during Sunday's eliminations, Kalitta, the No. 3 qualifier for the event, set a career best elapsed time with his 4.455-sec. run in the semifinals against his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Dave Grubnic.
"What a great win for this team," Kalitta said. "We struggled last year with consistency, but with all four (elimination) rounds in the 4.40's (seconds), we got our year off to a great start by not just winning, but by running consistent numbers all day long.
"Having Jesse James here was awesome too. He's been to a few races, but we never do well when he is there, so it's great to get the win with him there watching from the starting line."
Kalitta is the first of his legendary namesake to win the Winternationals since his dad, Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta, team owner and chief tuner, won the event in 1967. It was the 34th career final of Scott's career.
Kalitta now leads NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship points with 116.
Kalitta's Kalitta Motorsports teammate "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, 42, finished a great weekend with a semi-final finish. In his new black and blue Zantrex-3 Top Fueler, the native Australian also set a career best elapsed time at the event with an incredible 4.448-sec., 331.45-mph pass in his opening round defeat of Rod Fuller.
"It's disappointing not to get the win," Grubnic said. "It's still a great way to start our year with our great new sponsor Zantrex-3. There were a lot of their people here this weekend, so I'm glad we go to go some rounds for them and all of our sponsors."
Grubnic, the No. 2 qualifier, leaves Pomona in third place in championship points with 77.
Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship Top Fuel dragster, lost in the first round in a heart-breaking holeshot loss to Clay Millican (4.474 sec., 328.86 mph to 4.532 sec., 326.16 mph). Doug entered eliminations from the No. 7 qualifying spot.
The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals is the 1st event of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.