Sonoma: Dave Grubnic final report

Dave Grubnic, driver of the DHL Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 5 (3.844 seconds, 311.77 mph) advanced to round one Dave Grubnic and the DHL team upset by teammate in Sonoma opener SONOMA, Calif., (July 28, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave ...

Dave Grubnic, driver of the DHL Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 5 (3.844 seconds, 311.77 mph) advanced to round one
Dave Grubnic and the DHL team upset by teammate in Sonoma opener

SONOMA, Calif., (July 28, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow DHL Top Fuel dragster, had his dreams of winning in wine country dashed in the first round of eliminations Sunday at the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Grubnic, the No. 5 qualifier (3.844 seconds, 311.77 mph), rolled to the starting line Sunday morning to race against his Kalitta Motorsports teammate and No. 12 qualifier (3.898 seconds, 308.57 mph) Hillary Will, driver of the KB racing, LLC dragster. After the start of the race, Grubnic's DHL dart began suffering traction problems on the tricky drag strip at Infineon Raceway. Will had little or no problems with her run and sped away to get the win, 5.050 seconds, 144.97 mph to 3.885 seconds, 310.77 mph.

Grubnic will have to wait until the next event in Brainerd, Minn., to vie for a sesquicentennial milestone. His next elimination-round win will be the 150th of his 14-year Top Fuel career.

Grubnic is currently in 9th place in POWERade championship points.

Beginning with the 13th event in Denver, the NHRA instituted a new racing distance for the nitro-fueled classes of Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster to 1,000 ft., as opposed to the traditional distance of 1,320 ft., or a quarter of a mile, as a temporary safety solution to help the drivers of the world's quickest and fastest racing safely bring their cars to a stop more efficiently. The unprecedented action is in response to the tragic death of Kalitta Motorsports' Scott Kalitta, who died in a high-speed Funny Car qualifying accident in Englishtown, N.J., June 21.

Grubnic, unofficially, recorded the quickest 1,000-ft. elapsed time of the 2008 season, 3.783 sec., in Madison, Ill., in early May.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Kalitta , Hillary Will