Grubnic excited as ever over semi-final appearance in season-opening Pomona
Pomona, Calif., Feb. 29, 2004 -- Native Australian David Grubnic made his first appearance in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series nine years ago at the K&N Filters Winternationals. He dreamed of winning trophies and the respect of his Top Fuel driving peers.
The respect came quickly. Grubnic's winning personality and superb driving skills have made him a favorite with drivers and fans alike. All he needed was a chance to win NHRA national events to realize his ambitions.
In January, the journeyman Grubnic was tapped to drive a new third Top Fuel dragster from the Kalitta Motorsports stable. With team owner and crew chief Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta calling the shots with the help of co-crew chief Jon Oberhofer, Grubnic knew he would get his chance(s).
Grubnic came one step closer to his ultimate goal Sunday in final eliminations at the Winternationals.
After his opponent Scott Palmer failed to make the call for the first round, Grubnic advanced to the second round to face Darrell Russell. With legendary Connie Kalitta horsepower, Grubnic's Kalitta Air dragster posted a career-best elapsed time for the Aussie at 4.492 sec. (321.35 mph) to beat a very respectable 4.522-sec., 323.74-mph run by Russell.
In the semis, Grubnic faced one of his Kalitta Motorsports teammates, Doug Kalitta. Since Grubnic's racecar has been dubbed a research and development car, most likely thought that Grubnic would not be much of a challenge for the championship-contending Kalitta. It was not the case. The two ran a heads up race with Doug (4.511 sec., 284.33 mph) getting the win, but Grubnic (5.283 sec., 171.90 mph) getting even closer to his career dream.
"Wow, that was exciting," Grubnic said. "We almost made it. My Kalitta Air team is so awesome. What a great way to begin our year. I could get spoiled driving this car. Connie and Jon and all of our guys deserve all of the praise. I am just the lucky guy who gets to drive it!"
Doug advance to the final round. Grubnic's other teammate Scott Kalitta lost in round one.