Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 2 in Sonoma; Teammates Scott Kalitta, "Aussie Dave" Grubnic and Ben Marshall qualify No. 7, No. 9 and No. 12 respectively Sonoma, Calif., July 30, 2005 -- At the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., in ...
Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 2 in Sonoma; Teammates Scott Kalitta, "Aussie Dave" Grubnic and Ben Marshall qualify No. 7, No. 9 and No. 12 respectively
Sonoma, Calif., July 30, 2005 -- At the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., in beautiful Northern California wine country, Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta led the four-car Team Kalitta Top Fuel qualifying efforts for Sunday's 16-car field of final eliminations at Infineon Raceway.
Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 40, took the No. 2 qualifying spot with a 4.549-second, 321.88-mph lap down the quarter-mile. He will race No. 15 qualifier Bobby Lagana Jr. in round one. Doug is 1-0 versus Lagana Jr. in his career. Doug and Lagana Jr. met for the first and only match-up of their careers earlier this season in Chicago.
Doug, currently in second place in championship points, trails leader Tony Schumacher by only 44 points going into Sunday's eliminations. Doug took over the points lead with his win in at the sixth event in Bristol, Tenn., in April and sustained the lead until he relinquished it to Schumacher at the 13th event in Denver. Only Doug, Schumacher and Doug's cousin and teammate Scott Kalitta have held the lead this year.
Doug is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 22 NHRA national event trophies. He has three wins so far in 2005 (Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta).
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 7 (4.573 sec., 323.19 mph). He will race No. 10 qualifier Melanie Troxel in round one of eliminations. This will be the first time ever for Scott to race against Troxel.
Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, in February, and again last month in Joliet, Ill., is currently seventh in championship points.
Scott has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career.
Driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster "Aussie Dave" Grubnic qualified No. 9 (4.584 sec., 320.97 mph). He will race No. 8 qualifier Brandon Bernstein in round one of eliminations. Grubnic is 1-1 versus Bernstein in his career. This will be the first race pairing of Grubnic and Bernstein in 2005.
Native Australian Grubnic, 42, the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, made history May 29th in Topeka, Kans., by becoming the first non-North American to win an NHRA Top Fuel national event. The win in Topeka was Grubnic's first in his 11-year career.
Grubnic is currently in fourth place in championship points, just 151 markers behind the leader.
Ben Marshall, driver of the Team Kalitta part-time fourth Top Fuel dragster, sponsored by StriVectin-SD, is making his third professional appearance this weekend. Marshall made his pro debut in Las Vegas earlier this year. His best qualifying effort in Sonoma of 4.666 sec., 316.15 mph lands him in the No. 12 qualifying position. He will race No. 5 qualifier Doug Herbert in round one. Marshall is looking to win his first career elimination round.
Marshall worked as a crewman for Kalitta Motorsports from 1998 to 2000 and now also serves as the team's marketing manager.
The Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals is the 15th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Sunday's final eliminations begin with the Top Fuel class at 11:00 a.m.