Sonoma: Kalitta Motorsports Saturday summary

NHRA Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 5 in Sonoma; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 3 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 4 in Funny Car SONOMA, Calif., (July 29, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the ...

NHRA Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 5 in Sonoma; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 3 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 4 in Funny Car

SONOMA, Calif., (July 29, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000 horsepower "Big Red" Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, will begin Sunday's 16-car Top Fuel final eliminations from the No. 5 (4.582 seconds, 326.48 mph) qualifying position at the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Doug, the POWERade championship points leader in Top Fuel, goes into tomorrow's eliminations with a slim 42-point lead over second place Melanie Troxel.

Doug will race No. 12 qualifier David Baca (4.642 sec., 285.53 mph) in the first round of eliminations tomorrow.

Doug has won a Top Fuel-record five times at Infineon Raceway, including back-to-back wins in the previous two seasons.

Doug's four wins this season (Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Topeka, Kans., and Chicago) are the most by any driver in Top Fuel, drag racing's quickest and fastest racing class.

Doug, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He has 28 NHRA national event wins in 51 final-round appearances. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.

Doug's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic, driver of the 330-mph, pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, led the qualifying efforts of Kalitta Motorsports in Sonoma. He qualified for final eliminations in the lofty No. 3 spot (4.554 sec., 331.36 mph). He will race the No. 14 qualifier Cory McClenathan (4.700 sec., 319.07 mph) in the first round of eliminations. Grubnic's booming 331.36-mph blast in the final qualifying session sets a new track record at Infineon Speedway.

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy. He also won the prestigious Gatornationals Top Fuel title in March in Gainesville, Fla.

Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driving the specially painted Red Line Oil Nitro Funny Car, qualified No. 4 (4.806 sec., 319.14 mph), his highest qualifying position of 2006, for Sunday's eliminations. Scott, the son of team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, will race No. 13 qualifier Gary Scelzi (4.865 sec., 317.64 mph) in the first round of eliminations.

This weekend's event in Sonoma is the third and final event of the NHRA's Western Swing (Denver, Seattle, Sonoma) and the Kalitta Motorsports Associate Sponsor Appreciation Swing. Scott's flopper is adorned with primary sponsorship for Red Line Oil for the event at Infineon Raceway.

Scott, a 43-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., and 25-year drag racing veteran, made the switch from Top Fuel to Funny Car this season. Scott has one NHRA national event win in his career in nitro Funny Car and that was at the Houston event in 1989 while driving with a broken left foot. In Top Fuel, Scott scored two world championships (1994-1995) and 17 NHRA national event wins.

Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 7 position. She will race Troxel in round one.

Sunday's final eliminations at the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals begin at noon.

All times and dates subject to change.

The Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals is the 15th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Hillary Will , Ken Black