St. Louis: Doug Kalitta preview

NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta seeking return of Midwest magic in St. Louis MADISON, Ill., (May 2, 2007) -- The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has been racing down the quarter-mile drag strip at Gateway Int'l Raceway alongside the mighty ...

NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta seeking return of Midwest magic in St. Louis

MADISON, Ill., (May 2, 2007) -- The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has been racing down the quarter-mile drag strip at Gateway Int'l Raceway alongside the mighty Mississippi River since 1997. In that span of time, Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, has proven to be the king of the Top Fuelers with a class-leading three wins (2004, 2003, and 2001) at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals in Madison, Ill., just across the aforementioned "Big Muddy" from downtown St. Louis.

This weekend, May 4-6, Kalitta and his Mac Tools team return to one of their favorite racing venues seeking a solid performance and hopefully a victorious return trip into the winner's circle at GIR.

"St. Louis has definitely been good to us," Kalitta, a 42-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. "We really like racing at Gateway for the obvious reasons. Hopefully this year we'll continue our success there.

"This season has been tough for us so far. The Top Fuel class has gotten so competitive this year because there are a lot of really good cars running these days. The [eliminations] field in Atlanta (previous event) was the tightest I can remember (only .07 seconds separated qualifying times from No. 1 to No. 16). You have to be focused and on top of your game at all times. We've got a great team, so hopefully the driver can go out there and do his job, and we can get our Mac Tools dragster back in the hunt."

Kalitta and the Mac Tools team are currently in 12th place in POWERade points.

Kalitta holds the track record for speed at Gateway Int'l Raceway at 330.55 mph (2006).

Since winning the NHRA's equivalent of Rookie of the Year, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Road to the Future Award, after the 1998 drag racing season, Kalitta has driven his dragster to 29 Top Fuel national event titles, which already ties him for sixth in career wins for the sport's quickest and fastest class. In the past four NHRA seasons, Kalitta has solidified his place among the best Top Fuel pilots of all-time. Last season was arguably the best of his straight-line career. He won a career-high five national events in 2006 and led the POWERade points for almost the entire second half of the season. After finishing just 14 points shy of his first NHRA championship, Kalitta garnered his third career runner-up points finish in 2006. He was also points runner-up in 2003 and 2004.

The O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals begins Friday, May 4, for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying session at 5:00 p.m. (CT), and then another qualifying session at 7:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta