NHRA's Dave Grubnic grabs runner-up finish in Seattle; Top Fuel teammate Doug Kalitta pads his POWERade points lead and Scott Kalitta suffers first round loss KENT, Wash., (July 23, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the 8,000 ...
NHRA's Dave Grubnic grabs runner-up finish in Seattle; Top Fuel teammate Doug Kalitta pads his POWERade points lead and Scott Kalitta suffers first round loss
KENT, Wash., (July 23, 2006) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the 8,000 horsepower, pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, almost collected his second win of the 2006 POWERade Drag Racing Series Sunday at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., just outside of Seattle. Unfortunately for Grubnic and his StriVectin-SD Racing team, he was defeated in the final round of final eliminations by Tony Schumacher in a close quarter-mile drag race, 4.761 seconds, 316.75 mph to 4.690 sec., 321.96 mph.
"All in all it was a great weekend for me and my StriVectin-SD team," Grubnic said. "We qualified really well and had a great race car all weekend. We just came up a bit short. It was a great race in the final, but we just got outran. Congratulations to Tony and his team for a great race.
"We're really happy though. Our car has really started running great in the past couple of events and that certainly gives me and my team a lot of confidence going down the road toward the end of the season. We still believe we can get up there and run for the championship. If we keep going to finals, we'll definitely be there in the end."
Grubnic qualified for the 16-car final eliminations field in the No. 3 position (4.595 sec., 323.89 mph). He defeated Morgan Lucas in round one, 4.682 sec., 321.42 mph to 4.753 sec., 303.03 mph. In round two, Grubnic was able to get around his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Hillary Will, 4.742 sec., 307.23 mph to 4.920 sec., 272.56 mph, to reach the semifinals. Rod Fuller was the next opponent for the affable Aussie. Grubnic and his StriVectin-SD dragster pulled away from his opponent near the mid-point of the race to reach the finish line first, 4.808 sec., 305.63 mph to 5.151 sec., 259.26 mph, to race for the event win.
Grubnic's appearance in the money round was his third final-round appearance of 2006 (Gainesville, Fla., Las Vegas) and the 13th final round of his career.
Grubnic moves up one position in POWERade championship points from 6th to 5th place. He is now 206 points shy of the lead.
NHRA POWERade championship points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the "Big Red" Mac Tools flagship Top Fuel dragster, padded his points lead despite making an early second-round exit. Doug entered the event at Pacific Raceways with a 22-point lead, but second place-holder Melanie Troxel lost in round one to help Doug and his Mac Tools team, led by crew chief Rahn Tobler, leave the Great Northwest with a 40-point advantage.
In round one, Doug, the No. 7 qualifier (4.656 sec., 324.20 mph), raced another Top Fuel veteran in Larry Dixon. Doug used a 4.669-sec., 310.20-mph lap to defeat Dixon's 4.904-sec., 312.86-mph effort. Doug is now 21-22 against Dixon in his career. The two highly-skilled drivers have each raced each other more than any other Top Fuel driver active or inactive.
Doug then went on to race Fuller in the second round. In a close race (.1642-sec., margin of victory), Doug crossed the finish line just slightly behind Fuller to relinquish the win light, 5.068 sec., 154.76 mph to 4.900 sec., 229.90 mph. Doug's bright red rail lost traction and smoked the tires near half-track. He helped his dragster regain traction to try to catch Fuller, who had mechanical problems later in his run, but Doug ran out of race track on the paved quarter-mile.
Doug has won four of the previous eight NHRA national events (Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Topeka, Kans., and Chicago). Doug's four wins this season are the most by any driver in Top Fuel, drag racing's quickest and fastest racing class.
Scott Kalitta qualified his 7,000 horsepower, nitro-fueled Fischer Honda Funny Car in the No. 15 (4.988 sec., 304.39 mph) position for final eliminations in Funny Car. He faced off against Eric Medlen, the No. 2 qualifier (4.854 sec., 312.64 mph), in the opening round. Scott left the starting line slightly ahead of Medlen (.091 sec., to .112 sec.), but Scott's race car lost traction soon after the launch and that allowed Medlen to get the round win, 9.086 sec., 91.26 mph to 4.998 sec., 295.14 mph.
Scott's flopper entry was adorned with primary sponsorship for Fischer Honda for the event at Pacific Raceways.
Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 6 position. She was defeated by Grubnic in round two.
The Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals was the 14th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.