Columbus: Doug Kalitta preview

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta heads "home" to Columbus after back-to-back NHRA victories Columbus, Ohio, May 17, 2005 - Ann Arbor, Mich., native Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red and black flame-decorated Mac Tools flagship Top ...

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta heads "home" to Columbus after back-to-back NHRA victories

Columbus, Ohio, May 17, 2005 - Ann Arbor, Mich., native Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red and black flame-decorated Mac Tools flagship Top Fuel dragster, took over the championship points lead for only the second time in his drag racing career with his visit to the winner's circle in Bristol, Tenn., May 1. Two weeks later, at the next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event in Atlanta, he again took the title trophy to earn consecutive event wins and lengthen his points lead over second place holder Tony Schumacher.

This weekend, May 19-22, at the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, the home of his sponsor Mac Tools' corporate headquarters, Doug and his red rocket rail plan to traverse the quarter-mile drag strip at National Trail Raceway four more round-winning times in an effort to win three straight NHRA national events.

"We're on quite a hot streak right now," Doug said. "It's a great feeling especially since now we're going into Columbus. We always get a great crowd of Mac Tools staff and distributors in the stands at Columbus. Their support is awesome for us everywhere, but especially there.

"We need to keep building on this momentum. Keeping the points lead is the main goal now. Getting by Tony (Schumacher) in the semis in Atlanta was huge. Winning the race was big, but beating the guy that's right behind you in points is what we have to keep doing to win the championship. Hopefully we can keep going rounds in Columbus and keep all of our competitors farther behind us."

With his win over Schumacher in Atlanta's semifinals and by virtue of his title trophy at that event, Doug extended his points lead to 60. Considering that Doug made first-round departures at the first two national events of 2005 (Pomona 1 and Phoenix) and dropped to ninth place in points, it is a remarkable accomplishment by the Mac Tools team that he is now atop the championship points standings.

Doug was low qualifier in Columbus in 2003. His best finishes at National Trail Raceway were semi-final round appearances in 2003 and 2004.

Doug has won three events (Gainesville, Bristol and Atlanta) so far in the first seven events of 2005. He has been in four of the last five final rounds (Gainesville, Las Vegas 1, Bristol and Atlanta). He has yet to win three consecutive NHRA events in his career. The only other time that he won back-to-back events was in 2002, Chicago 2 and Dallas. The only other time that he led in the championship points standings was entering the Denver event last season.

Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 40, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran with 22 career NHRA wins in 44 final-round appearances. He is a former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He holds the time slips for the quickest (4.420 sec., Chicago 1 - 2004) and the fastest (335.57 mph, Las Vegas 1 - 2004) runs in NHRA history. He won the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for NHRA rookie excellence.

Kalitta Motorsports, which includes Doug's teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, has made five final-round appearances in the first seven NHRA national events of 2005 with four wins (Doug - 3, Scott - 1).

The Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals begins Friday, May 20, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations.

The Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals is the eighth of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

About Kalitta Motorsports

Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is the only full-time three-car Top Fuel drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by now legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta drives the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian David Grubnic drives the third dragster under the banner of Zantrex-3.

Connie serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer (Zantrex-3 dragster).

Associate sponsors on all three race cars include Red Line Oil, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies and Fischer Honda.

-www.kalittaracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Jesse James