Team DHL races to Reading quarterfinals READING, Pa. (August 23, 2009) -- Sunday's eliminations of the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., proved to be historic for Kalitta Motorsports' Jeff Arend, driver of ...
Team DHL races to Reading quarterfinals
READING, Pa. (August 23, 2009) -- Sunday's eliminations of the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., proved to be historic for Kalitta Motorsports' Jeff Arend, driver of the 8,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car.
Arend, the No. 16 qualifier got his first round-win since joining Kalitta Motorsports last season with a stunning turn of fortune in the opening round. On the 1,000-ft. race track, Arend and his opponent, No. 1 qualifier Ashley Force Hood, put on an outstanding side-by-side race for the fans at Maple Grove, 4.359 sec., 266.42 mph to 4.334 sec., 259.96 mph, with Force Hood crossing the finish line first. However, Force Hood's entry was disqualified after it failed to meet the minimum weight requirement in a post-race inspection giving Arend the upset victory.
Arend then raced Force Hood's father, John Force, in the quarterfinals. Like the previous round, the two flopper foes gave the fans a great show, but this time Force got the win, 4.395 sec., 260.41 mph to 4.291 sec., 287.11 mph.
"We'll take a round-win any way we can get it," Arend, a 46-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., said. "We got back to the pits after the first round and we were all kind of bummed out because we were so close to winning and then they (NHRA) came by and told us what happened. It was almost like we had won the event because everyone on our DHL team was so excited. Now that we've got that monkey off of our back, hopefully we can build some momentum and get a lot more."
Arend, a native Canadian, has 25 round-wins in his career. He is married to Windy, and they have a daughter, Jenna, 9.
Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the DHL-branded Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster, qualified his bright yellow rail in the No. 15 spot and like his teammate pulled off an upset win in the opening round of eliminations. Grubnic raced against No. 2 qualifier Morgan Lucas in the opener and defeated his substantially higher qualified opponent, 4.005 sec., 282.48 mph to 4.511 sec., 209.62 mph.
In the Top Fuel quarterfinals, Grubnic matched up against Shawn Langdon. Grubnic's nitro-fueled machine was charging hard to the finish line, but the big rear slicks on the car began to spin and smoke around the half-track markers and that let Langdon get the win, 4.905 sec., 149.66 mph to 4.000 sec., 253.14 mph.
Grubnic, a 46-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., has two NHRA national event wins in 14 final round appearances in his 14-year Top Fuel career. In May, 2005, he became the first racer born outside of North America to win an NHRA Top Fuel event.
The Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals was the 17th of 24 national events in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.