NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta seeks Dixie redemption in Atlanta COMMERCE, Ga., (April 24, 2007) -- At the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000-horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel...
NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta seeks Dixie redemption in Atlanta
COMMERCE, Ga., (April 24, 2007) -- At the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Doug Kalitta, driver of the 8,000-horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, failed to qualify for Sunday's race day for only the third time in his storied career. The disappointment that he and his team felt was certainly sour, but with this weekend's, April 26-29, annual running of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., a few miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, Kalitta and his Mac Tools team have three great reasons to expect a peachy rebound in the deep south.
Before the DNQ in Las Vegas, Kalitta's previous failure to qualify came at the Phoenix event in 2000. At the next event in Gainesville, Fla., Kalitta and his Kalitta Motorsports team went from zeros to heroes by taking the Gatornationals Top Fuel crown.
"Boy, that would be awesome if we could pull that off again," Kalitta, a 42-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. "That was really something back then. I remember we tested after Phoenix and we still were struggling, but when we got to Gainesville, everything got back in sync and we won it all.
"I'm not worried about our Mac Tools team. We have some great folks and great leadership, so I'm sure we'll be okay. We've had quite our fair share of turmoil this year so far, so hopefully now the luck will start swinging back in our favor."
Also for Kalitta and his team to look forward to this weekend is the fact that they are the two-time defending Top Fuel champs at Atlanta Dragway. The Mac Tools team won the trophy there in 2005 and again last year by defeating Melanie Troxel in the title round.
"Atlanta has been great to us lately," Kalitta continued. "I'm not sure what it is about that track, but we seem to always have a good handle on it. Hopefully that magic will continue this year. It would be an enormous boost for this team if we could make a strong showing in Atlanta again."
Finally, another reason for Kalitta Motorsports' Top End Team, so nicknamed because of their location at the end of the race shop in Ypsilanti, Mich., to look to Atlanta for redemption is that again they will run the special edition Chip Foose/Foose Design paint scheme that made its debut in Las Vegas two weeks ago. World-renowned custom hot rod builder and TV personality Foose will partner with Mac Tools and Team Kalitta in the Peach State for the first time.
Foose, Mac Tools and Kalitta initially teamed up in 2006 for special edition paint schemes at the spring Las Vegas NHRA event and again at the world's most prestigious drag racing event; the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mac Tools has introduced several Chip Foose themed products since the development of their partnership. Continuing the tradition on this first anniversary of the Chip Foose, Mac Tools and Kalitta Motorsports dragster partnership, Mac Tools is proud to introduce, simultaneously with this new Foose dragster, the coordinating new Chip Foose MB1350 1969 Chevy Camaro Toolbox. The triple palms, signature of Foose designs, are represented on both the dragster and the Tool Box while both sustain the classic Foose color scheme of orange, black and champagne.
Since winning the NHRA's equivalent of Rookie of the Year, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Road to the Future Award, after the 1998 drag racing season, Kalitta has driven his dragster to 29 Top Fuel national event titles, which already ties him for sixth in career wins for the sport's quickest and fastest class. In the past four NHRA seasons, Kalitta has solidified his place among the best Top Fuel pilots of all-time. Last season was arguably the best of his straight-line career. He won a career-high five national events in 2006 and led the POWERade points for almost the entire second half of the season. After finishing just 14 points shy of his first NHRA championship, Kalitta garnered his third career runner-up points finish in 2006. He was also points runner-up in 2003 and 2004.
The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals begins Friday, April 26, for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying session at 4:30 p.m. (ET), and then another qualifying session at 7:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.