Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuelers race to uncharacteristic performances at NHRA's Reading event Reading, Penn., (Sept. 18, 2005) -- At the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals in Reading, Penn., Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta and Zantrex-3...
Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuelers race to uncharacteristic performances at NHRA's Reading event
Reading, Penn., (Sept. 18, 2005) -- At the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals in Reading, Penn., Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta and Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster driver "Aussie Dave" Grubnic both made quarter-final showings for Team Kalitta during final eliminations Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway. Their teammate Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fueler, suffered a first round loss at the 19th national event of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
In the opening stanza of Sunday's 16-car final eliminations, Grubnic, the No. 8 qualifier, paired with No. 9 qualifier David Baca to begin the day of quarter-mile racing in the Keystone State. Grubnic was away from the starting line first (.080 seconds to .119 sec.) and never trailed. Grubnic got the win light, 4.566 sec., 320.97 mph to 4.702 sec., 295.66 mph to advance to the quarterfinals.
Two-time Top Fuel points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug was also victorious in his crucial first round battle with Brandon Bernstein. From the No. 7 qualifying slot, Doug breezed past No. 10 qualifier Bernstein, 4.520 sec., 327.03 mph to 6.321 sec., 131.24 mph to move ahead to the second round.
Scott's 7,000 horsepower dragster had mechanical problems almost immediately after his race started with No. 6 qualifier Cory McClenathan causing Scott, the No. 11 qualifier, to surrender the round, 5.176 sec., 226.85 mph to 4.575 sec., 322.65 mph.
In round two, Doug rolled to the starting line to race always-formidable Larry Dixon. In a great race, Doug barely lost the duel between the two nitro titans, 4.560 sec., 322.65 mph to 4.552 sec., 323.97 mph. The margin of victory was only .0174 sec.
Doug entered final eliminations in second place in Top Fuel championship points. He was 45 points behind leader Tony Schumacher and 35 points ahead of third place holder Dixon when the day began, but with his second round loss, Dixon's final-round appearance and Schumacher's win in Reading, Doug leaves Pennsylvania in third place, 105 from Schumacher's lead. He is five points behind Dixon.
Grubnic raced Schumacher in the second round but only for a few of the 1,320 feet as Grubnic's dragster lost traction from its big Goodyear rear slicks almost immediately after the native Australian hit the throttle to give Schumacher the round, 13.938 sec., 81.15 mph to 4.510 sec., 324.44 mph.
Grubnic remains in fourth place in championship points. He is 311 off of the lead. Scott remains in ninth in points.
The Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals was the 19th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.