Kalitta Motorsports' Top Fuelers qualify No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 for NHRA event in Bristol Bristol, Tenn., April 30, 2005 -- After persistent rain cancelled Friday's two qualifying sessions for the quarter-mile competitors at the O'Reilly NHRA ...
Kalitta Motorsports' Top Fuelers qualify No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 for NHRA event in Bristol
Bristol, Tenn., April 30, 2005 -- After persistent rain cancelled Friday's two qualifying sessions for the quarter-mile competitors at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in scenic Bristol, Tenn., Kalitta Motorsports, the NHRA's only three-car Top Fuel dragster team, and the rest of their Top Fuel rivals were given only one shot at the track known as Thunder Valley to qualify their 7,000 + horsepower hot rods during Saturday's action. Like Friday, two qualifying sessions were planned for Saturday, but only one was completed as rain moved back into the Bristol area Saturday afternoon and abbreviated the racing schedule.
Zantrex-3 dragster driver "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, 42, the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, qualified No. 3 (4.619 seconds, 318.09 mph). He will race No. 14 qualifier and current championship points leader Tony Schumacher in round one. Schumacher struggled to get down the tricky race track in his lone qualifying attempt.
"I think it's great," Grubnic said. "They're obviously a tough team, but I have a lot of confidence in my guys. We have to race them sooner or later. It's early in the season, so, with Tony leading the points, it's good to see one of our Team Kalitta cars up there facing them in the early rounds with a chance to take them out. Now is the best time to get them. I'm sure it'll be a demanding race for both of us, but I'm really looking forward to it."
Native Australian Grubnic has made seven final-round appearances in his 11-year career but has not yet won an NHRA national event. He is currently in sixth place in Top Fuel championship points.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 4 (4.639 sec., 325.92 mph). He will race No. 13 qualifier John Smith in round one.
Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, is currently eighth in championship points. He has 17 (16 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories to his credit.
Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug Kalitta, 40, driver of the bright red Mac Tools dragster, qualified No. 6 (4.664 sec., 316.60 mph). He will race No. 11 qualifier Bruce Litton in round one.
Doug, 40, an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994), owns 20 NHRA national event trophies. He won the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March in Gainesville, Fla. He is currently second in championship points.
The O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals is the sixth of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Sunday's final eliminations begin with the Top Fuel class at noon.