Doug Kalitta makes second straight NHRA semi-final at Englishtown; Teammates David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta lose in round one and two respectively Englishtown, N.J., June 20, 2004 -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, flame-adorned Mac...
Doug Kalitta makes second straight NHRA semi-final at Englishtown; Teammates David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta lose in round one and two respectively
Englishtown, N.J., June 20, 2004 -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, flame-adorned Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, made his second consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series semi-final round appearance at the K&N Filters SuperNationals at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., on Father's Day Sunday. More importantly, he gained almost 40 ultra-valuable POWERade championship points on the two drivers ahead of him. Kalitta remains third in points, but now only 48 shy of leader Tony Schumacher and only ten behind second place Brandon Bernstein.
Schumacher and Bernstein both lost in huge opening round upsets to part-time competitors Rit Pustari and Bobby Lagana Jr. respectively.
Also for the second straight NHRA racing weekend, Doug's cousin and teammate Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top fuel hot rod, lost in round two while "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the third Team Kalitta entry -- the Kalitta Air dragster, had an early exit again in round one.
Scott, dad to sons Corey, 10 and Colin, 4, remains seventh in championship points. By virtue of his short Sunday, Grubnic drops from fifth to eighth.
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is Scott's dad and Doug's uncle. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer, dad to daughter Ashley, 9, (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer, dad to daughters Jessica, 5 and Julie, 3 (Kalitta Air dragster).
Doug, a 16-time NHRA national event winner and owner of the quickest (4.420 seconds -- Chicago 1, 2004) and fastest (335.57 mph -- Las Vegas 1, 2004) runs in NHRA history, easily defeated Mitch King (4.741 sec., 308.78 mph to 7.171 sec., 104.52 mph) in his first round duel setting up a second round match-up with Scott who beat Grubnic (5.017 sec., 271.46 mph to 5.372 sec., 256.41 mph).
"That was a tough deal for our team," said Scott, who is a 15-time NHRA winner and two-time (1994-1995) Top Fuel champion. "All three of our Kalitta Motorsports cars were on the same side of the [eliminations] ladder. Sometimes it just ends up that way and you do the best you can in the circumstances. Luckily for our Mac Tools/Jesse James team, we got the win, but it's tough having to beat your teammate in round one and then face the other teammate in the next round."
Doug, who has won one title trophy in four final-round showings this season, was vying for his fifth money round of 2004 when he rolled to the starting line against Cory McClenathan in the semis. Always a great leaver, Doug used his reaction time of .077 sec. to get his 7000+ horsepower Mac Tools rail out in front of McClenathan (.123 sec. R.T.) early. The greasy track conditions (130 degree track temperature) were just too much for Doug and his race car as McClenathan caught and then surpassed Doug at the quarter-mile finish line by an incredibly close margin of .0062 sec.
"That was a close one," said Doug, who is dad to son Mitchell, 3 and daughter Avery, 11 months. "I really wanted that one. We could have taken over second in the points with that one, but it just was not meant to be. Our Mac Tools team worked hard all weekend with tricky conditions, and we still managed to close in on the points lead, so we're relatively happy. We'll get 'em in St Louis (the next NHRA event, which Doug won last season)."
The K&N Filters SuperNationals was the 11th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Please visit www.kalittaracing.com for more information about Kalitta Motorsports.