KALITTA WINS SECOND STRAIGHT IN TOP FUEL, EXTENDS POINTS LEAD Force, Anderson and Tonglet complete winner's circle at NHRA Southern Nationals COMMERCE, Ga. -- Doug Kalitta extended his lead in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings with...
KALITTA WINS SECOND STRAIGHT IN TOP FUEL, EXTENDS POINTS LEAD
Force, Anderson and Tonglet complete winner's circle at NHRA Southern Nationals
COMMERCE, Ga. -- Doug Kalitta extended his lead in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings with his second straight win, defeating David Baca in the final round of the Summit Racing NHRA Southern Nationals Sunday at the Atlanta Dragway.
Kalitta flew down the track in 4.567 seconds at 325.69 mph in his Mac Tools Dragster to win the seventh of 23 events on the $50 million dollar NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"I'm a lucky dog today," Kalitta said. "To get by my two teammates (Scott Kalitta and David Grubnic) was tough and then that race against (second-place Tony) Schumacher (in the semifinals) was so close. There's a lot of racing to do and you can't go crazy counting points just yet but to run that team and beat them when they were running as strong as they were today is a big confidence booster."
Joining Kalitta in the winner's circle were John Force in Funny Car (4.772 at 202.61 to defeat Robert Hight), Greg Anderson in Pro Stock (6.781 at 202.61 to defeat Jason Line) and G.T. Tonglet in Pro Stock Motorcycle (7.106 at 186.30 to defeat Chris Rivas).
The win extended Force's NHRA record for career victories to 116 and it was his seventh at the Atlanta Dragway. He also claimed the lead in the Funny Car standings.
In the final, he drove his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang by his son-in-law and teammate Hight's Auto Club Ford Mustang to claim his second victory in two final rounds of 2005.
"My grandbaby is gonna be mad," Force said. "I beat her daddy. For both of us to get to the final was exciting. I didn't see him out there because to be honest it got so foggy and blurry down there I was doing everything I could to stay between the lights. I don't know how far I drove it. I might have been a mile past the finish line but I figured I wasn't gonna give up until she blew up, and she did."
For Anderson, meanwhile, it was just his first win of 2005 in his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am after finding his way to the winner's circle a record 15 times in 2004 when he was named Speed Channel's Driver of the Year.
And to make the return to the winner's circle even sweeter, he went through rival Warren Johnson, the man who employed him as his crew chief for many years, in the semifinals.
"I thought (racing Warren) was pretty darn neat and I bet they did too, at least until the finish line," Anderson said. "I'm sure they were as up for that round as we were. You try to treat everyone the same but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little extra special when he's in the other lane. Regardless of what's said, I have a lot of respect for that man and he's had my number all year. It was good to finally beat him."
Tonglet's win on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson was the first of 2005 and the second of his career and it moved him into first place in the Pro Stock Motorcycle standings.
"First time leading the points is awesome," Tonglet said. "First win on a Harley for me is awesome. I have the whole team to thank for getting me here, especially Matt Hines. He worked his butt off today and to put up that 7.08 in the semis was just phenomenal on this track.
"This hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe when I wake up in the morning it will," he said.