Englishtown: Kalitta Motorsports Saturday summary

Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 4 in Englishtown; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 15 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 12 in Nitro Funny Car ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., (June 17, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of...

Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 4 in Englishtown; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 15 and Scott Kalitta qualifies No. 12 in Nitro Funny Car

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., (June 17, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of bright red, 8,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, will begin Sunday's 16-car Top Fuel final eliminations from the No. 4 (4.564 seconds, 329.91 mph) qualifying position at the K&N Filters SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

Doug will race No. 13 qualifier Morgan Lucas (4.636 sec., 313.66 mph) in the first round of eliminations tomorrow. Doug is 3-4 versus Lucas in his career in eliminations. In 2006, they have raced twice with Lucas winning in the first round in Phoenix and Doug winning in the semifinals in Topeka, Kans.

Doug has won four of the previous five NHRA national events (Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Topeka, and the previous event in Chicago), and he enters tomorrow's final eliminations in second place in POWERade championship points, now just 68 points behind Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel.

Doug has taken the Top Fuel title trophy twice before at famed Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, 2000 and 2003.

Doug, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He has 28 NHRA national event wins in 51 final-round appearances. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.

Doug's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic, driver of the 330-mph, pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, qualified for final eliminations in the No. 15 spot (4.641 sec., 325.14 mph). He will race the No. 2 qualifier in the Alan Johnson-tuned entry (4.561 sec., 324.59 mph) in the first round of eliminations.

Native Australian Grubnic enters tomorrow's final eliminations in fourth place in POWERade championship points. He is 249 points behind the leader.

Grubnic's StriVectin-SD team and sponsor relations representative and drag racing legend Shirley Muldowney won the historic Englishtown event in 1977 and celebrates her birthday Mon., June 19.

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy.

Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driving his new Kalitta Air Monte Carlo Funny Car flopper, qualified No. 12 (4.853 sec., 322.04 mph) for Sunday's eliminations. Scott, the son of team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, will race No. 5 qualifier Tony Pedregon (4.812 sec., 320.58 mph) in the first round of eliminations.

Scott, a 43-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., and 25-year drag racing veteran, made the switch from Top Fuel to Funny Car this season. Scott has one NHRA national event win in his career in nitro Funny Car and that was at the Houston event in 1989 while driving with a broken left foot. In Top Fuel, Scott scored two world championships (1994-1995) and 17 NHRA national event wins.

Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 14 position.

Sunday's final eliminations at the K&N Filters SuperNationals begin at 11:00 a.m.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Tony Pedregon , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Morgan Lucas , Connie Kalitta , Hillary Will , Ken Black