NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta looks to Topeka to get back on winning track TOPEKA, Kans., (May 23, 2006) -- Going into the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend, Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, ...
NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta looks to Topeka to get back on winning track
TOPEKA, Kans., (May 23, 2006) -- Going into the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend, Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 7,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, had won eight straight final elimination rounds which equated to two consecutive national event titles in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta and propelled him from 9th to 2nd in POWERade championship points. In Columbus, Kalitta's fortunes on the straight line quarter-mile took a turn for the worst as he was ousted in the first round of eliminations.
Now, as Kalitta and his Mac Tools team journey to America's heartland this weekend, May 25-28, for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kans., he is restless to get back to his winning ways and continue his ascent to the points peak.
"Ever since we lost that first round in Columbus, I've wanted to jump back in the car," Doug said. "It was a really close race with Larry [Dixon]. Our car did something it hasn't done all season -- spun the tires down track. If I would've tugged on the brake just a little down there, it probably would have helped, and we may have won, but that obviously didn't happen.
"I'm eager to get back in the car. Our car is still running great. I think Columbus was just a fluke. I know Rahn (Tobler, crew chief) and the guys are ready to get back out there and pick up where we left off in Atlanta."
Kalitta enters the Topeka event in 2nd place in points, 154 points away from the lead. He holds the track record for elapsed time at HPT, 4.487 seconds (May 2004), but has never won there.
Kalitta, 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 is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing and has 26 career Top Fuel victories in 49 final-round appearances. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Kalitta raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship. He is also the owner and president of Kalitta Charters, a charter airline service based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., alongside Kalitta Air, an airline freight service owned by his uncle, race team owner, and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta.