Kalitta, Burkart, Anderson and Gann Earn Wins at Mopar Mile-High Nationals MORRISON, Colo. - Scott Kalitta snapped a winless streak that lasted more than seven years Sunday by earning the Top Fuel victory at the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA...
Kalitta, Burkart, Anderson and Gann Earn Wins at Mopar Mile-High Nationals
MORRISON, Colo. - Scott Kalitta snapped a winless streak that lasted more than seven years Sunday by earning the Top Fuel victory at the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Phil Burkart (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Shawn Gann (Pro Stock Bike) also earned victories in their respective categories at the $1.8 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.
Kalitta beat Tony Schumacher in the Top Fuel final, posting a win for the first time since Topeka 1997. Kalitta drove his Jesse James/Mac Tools dragster to a 4.747-second run at 313.58 mph to beat Schumacher's 4.814 at 305.08 in his U.S. Army dragster.
"Consistency was key today and it's something we've been missing all season," Kalitta said. "I knew this crew was capable of getting it done, we just needed it to all fall into place."
Kalitta was in the opposite lane two weeks ago in St. Louis when Darrell Russell's dragster lost control and crashed. Russell died from the injuries.
"I had a friend riding with me today," Kalitta said as he pulled a photo of Russell out of his pocket. "For what we went through together, running against him in his last race and for the way I was getting to know Darrell and become his friend this year, I can't explain how I feel about this. It does mean a lot to me."
Burkart earned his second win of the season and the third of his career as he topped the Funny Car class. Burkart used a 5.338 pass at 289.69 in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevy Monte Carlo. He beat Larry Morgan's 7.199 at 192.06 in his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus.
Burkart beat Tim Wilkerson, Tony Pedregon and Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first three rounds respectively before the final.
"We had a couple of difficult rounds to start the day but we survived and were able to learn and improve," Burkart said. "By the time we got to the semis we were cruising. For not having a lot of data (on the new tire released before the weekend) our guys did a tremendous job.
"I couldn't be more impressed with this team. They did a heck of a job. For us, it's all about the team. There aren't any individuals; we all work together toward the goal. We earned this win as a team."
Anderson continued his domination of the Pro Stock category. He grabbed the win over Larry Morgan for his 10th victory of the season and 26th of his career. Anderson drove his newly sponsored Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am to a 7.194 run at 191.62 to top Morgan's 7.199 at 192.06 in his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus.
Anderson, the 2003 POWERade Pro Stock champion, earned a record 12 wins in 23 events last season en route to his first title.
"We're going after wins," Anderson said. "We're going after titles. We're going after history. You don't get a lot of chances (to win as many races) like this so you've got to get after it when you can. I've said several times you don't ever expect to do this in a class like Pro Stock. I don't' even really know why it's happened for us. We're way beyond our dreams."
With 10 races left on the schedule and 10 wins already in the books, Anderson will undoubtedly be forced to think about the possibilities of clinching the title early and re-writing his own records from 2003.
"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about history in the making or anything like that but it does jump in your head from time to time," Anderson said. "It's still very tough every round. No matter how easy it might look, it's not. I mean, they say I'm dominating and that means I have a hundredth or two on the field. That's nothing. You can lose that at the starting line every race. It's a struggle, but it's so much fun."
Gann earned his second victory of the season and the fourth of his career by beating Craig Treble in the Pro Stock Bike final. Gann used a 7.654 pass at 174.23 to earn the win on his Mac Tools/Gann Speed Suzuki over Treble's 7.715 at 172.21 on his Matco Tools Suzuki.
Treble's bike caught fire in the semifinal and he had problems getting back to the starting line for the final race.
"I told them I'd wait as long as it took for them to get ready," Gann said. "I mean, you can't do nothing about a fire. I heard they were thrashing to get done and I told (NHRA officials) they could put us at the back of the pack if they wanted. He'd do the same for me, I know it. But they got there in time. Then they had trouble at the line and just reached a point where I had to put it all out of my mind and just race."
Gann is second in the Pro Stock Bike point standings, behind Andrew Hines.
"We made up some ground on Andrew," Gann said. "I got a couple of rounds back. I'd rather take little chunks every week then try and get them all at one time."
The next NHRA POWERade series event is the 17th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, July 23-25.