Brainerd: Kalitta Racing preview

Team DHL doubles its efforts to bring back bounty from Brainerd BRAINERD, Minn. (August 13, 2009) -- Jeff Arend, driver of the bright yellow, nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, is hoping that this weekend's, Aug. 14-16,...

Team DHL doubles its efforts to bring back bounty from Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 13, 2009) -- Jeff Arend, driver of the bright yellow, nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, is hoping that this weekend's, Aug. 14-16, annual running of the NHRA national event in Brainerd, Minn., at Brainerd Int'l Raceway will bring the breakthrough bonanza of round wins that he and his DHL team have fought so hard for so far in the 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

"We've made enough deposits in the luck bank so far this year, so it's time to starting making some withdraws," Arend, a 46-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., said. "Our DHL car's performances on the race track have steadily gotten better throughout the year, but we've had some bad luck in some close races. Hopefully this weekend in Brainerd will be the turnaround we've been looking for."

Arend, a native Canadian, has 24 round-wins in his career and one NHRA Funny Car national event win to his credit -- Reading, Pa., 1996. He is married to Windy, and they have a daughter, Jenna, 9.

Native Australian Dave Grubnic will return to racing action for Kalitta Motorsports this weekend in Brainerd behind the wheel of the DHL-branded Top Fuel dragster. Grubnic, 46, previously drove a Top Fueler for Kalitta Motorsports from 2004-2008, but he has been sidelined so far this season due to budget constraints. He has two NHRA national event wins in 14 final round appearances in his 14-year Top Fuel career. In May, 2005, he became the first racer born outside of North America to win an NHRA Top Fuel event.

"I'm really excited to get back to driving a race car," Grubnic, a resident of Ennis, Mont., said. "I've always considered it to be an honor to drive for Connie (Kalitta, team owner and drag racing legend) and I'm glad I can do it again."

Longtime Kalitta Motorsports mechanic James Riola will assist Kalitta as crew chief on Grubnic's race car. Grubnic's 8,000-horspower dragster will serve as a testing vehicle for the team, and will also participate in the two NHRA events following the event in Minn., Reading, Penn., and Indianapolis.

Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta scored one of his 10 career event victories in Brainerd in 1985 with the Top Fuel title. Connie is celebrating his 50th year of NHRA drag racing in 2009.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeff Arend