NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic grabs semi-final finish in Houston; Teammate Doug Kalitta suffers opening round defeat BAYTOWN, Texas, (April 1, 2007) -- At the rain-plagued O' Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas,...
NHRA Top Fueler Dave Grubnic grabs semi-final finish in Houston; Teammate Doug Kalitta suffers opening round defeat
BAYTOWN, Texas, (April 1, 2007) -- At the rain-plagued O' Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, just east of Houston, native Australian and fan-favorite "Aussie Dave" Grubnic made his second semi-final finish of the young 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season Sunday. Mother Nature wiped out all of Saturday's qualifying action and tried her best to rain on the Sunday parade of final eliminations, but after a three-hour, soggy delay, the racing on the HRP quarter-mile finally heated up.
Grubnic, the No. 13 qualifier and driver of the black and blue Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, easily vanquished Morgan Lucas in the first stanza of eliminations, 4.620 seconds, 317.42 to 10.135 sec., 93.56 mph. In the second round of competition, Grubnic and his opponent Brandon Bernstein gave the huge crowd of faithful NHRA fans a little extra added value for their tickets with a great side-by-side thriller. Grubnic's dragster lost traction near half-track and it looked as if Bernstein was going to cruise down the strip for an easy win, but after Bernstein's car also suffered problems, Grubnic was able to get his car to regain traction and then he blasted by Bernstein to cross the finish line first, 4.918 sec., 296.83 mph to 5.216 sec., 187.52 mph. Grubnic's opponent in the semifinals was Joe Hartley. The two wily nitro pilots again provided an exciting race, but this time it was side by side to the stripe with Hartley running his best lap of the weekend, 4.623 sec., 316.15 mp h, to take the win and deny Grubnic, 4.661 sec., 307.72 mph, his first trip to the final round in 2007. Grubnic also reached the semifinals at the season-opening NHRA national event in Pomona, Calif.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Team Kalitta Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster and the 2006 Top Fuel championship points runner-up, faced another venerable nitro veteran Larry Dixon in the opening round of Sunday's final eliminations. Doug, showing his prowess as one of drag racing's best drivers, did a masterfully quick "pedal job" after his 8,000-horsepower rail struggled to maintain traction soon after the start of the race. Doug, the No. 11 qualifier, and his bright red race car recovered and blazed down the quarter-mile, but they were too far back to beat Dixon to the finish line stripe, 4.748 sec., 295.27 mph to 4.626 sec., 309.06 mph.
Doug, a ten-year NHRA veteran is a 29-time NHRA national event winner, which ties him for 6th place in all-time Top Fuel wins.
Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driver of the Kalitta Air Toyota Solara Funny Car, failed to qualify for Sunday's final eliminations for the second time in the 2007 NHRA season.
Hillary Will, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned KB Racing LLC Top Fuel dragster, was defeated by Hartley in round one of eliminations.
The O' Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals was the 4th of 23 national events in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.