Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 4 in Houston; Teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic qualify No. 7 and No. 12 respectively Houston, Tex., April 9, 2005 -- Under beautiful blue and sometimes gusty skies in Baytown,...
Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 4 in Houston; Teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic qualify No. 7 and No. 12 respectively
Houston, Tex., April 9, 2005 -- Under beautiful blue and sometimes gusty skies in Baytown, Tex., just outside the Houston city limits, Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 4 for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals. He drove his bright red rail to a best qualifying effort of 4.512 sec. at 325.53 mph. He will face No. 13 qualifier T.J. Zizzo in the opening round. Doug, 40, and eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994), will be attempting to win the 21st NHRA national event of his career. He won the previous NHRA event, the Mac Tools Gatornationals, two weeks ago. He is currently fifth in championship points.
"We were one of the few, if not the only, cars to get down the track solidly in three of the four (qualifying) runs," Doug said. "So, I'm confident that we'll go some rounds tomorrow. You never know though because drag racing can be cruel sometimes. Just when things seem to be going your way, something bad happens, but hopefully nothing bad will happen to us tomorrow."
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 7 (4.566 sec., 327.59 mph) for the Houston event. He will race No. 10 qualifier Brandon Bernstein in round one. Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, is currently fourth in championship points. He has 16 (15 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories to his credit. The last match-up between Scott and Bernstein resulted in a loss for Scott in the second round of eliminations at Phoenix earlier this season.
"Well, if we take turns, then I guess it's our turn to beat them," Scott said. "That's a tough team. We have to go from A to B. It really doesn't matter who's in the other lane. We'll have to be ready for them and just see what happens. Tomorrow is a whole different ballgame."
Zantrex-3 Top Fuel pilot "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, the 2004 Budweiser Shootout special event winner, qualified in the No. 12 position (4.611 sec., 316.38 mph). He will race No. 5 qualifier Larry Dixon in the first round of Sunday's eliminations. Native Australian Grubnic, 42, will be vying for the first national event win of his 11-year career. He is currently in third place in Top Fuel championship points.
"Obviously, we would've liked to have done better," Grubnic said. "We're constantly trying to improve our race car, and we're testing some components this weekend that will hopefully benefit us in the future. We've got a great team and so do they. We'll have to race them sooner or later so why not now. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
The O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals is the fourth 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.