Gainesville: Dave Grubnic preview

NHRA's Dave Grubnic going to Gainesville to garner greater accolades Gainesville, Fla., (March 14, 2006) - Last year at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla., "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the black and...

NHRA's Dave Grubnic going to Gainesville to garner greater accolades

Gainesville, Fla., (March 14, 2006) - Last year at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla., "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the black and pink StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, rocketed his 7,000 horsepower nitro rail to the top of the qualifying ladder to set a new track record (E.T.) of 4.481 seconds and to claim his only low qualifier award of 2005. This fete was accomplished during the NHRA's inaugural running of a mandatory rev limiter in the nitro classes that is still in place today.

This weekend, March 16-19, at the Gatornationals, the 3rd of 23 national events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, native Australian Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., and his team will acclimate to another rule change intended to make NHRA racing even more exciting and, more importantly, safer with the requirement of all nitro teams to run only on the new model 2420 Goodyear rear tires. The new tires were introduced to all teams before pre-season testing this year but were not made mandatory until Gainesville. For the exception of two of 34 runs down the quarter-mile in 2006 (testing and national events), the StriVectin-SD dragster has been shod only in the new 2420 rubber.

"Well, first off, I would like to repeat our qualifying performance from last year and carry that through to race day for a win for my StriVectin-SD team," Grubnic said.

"Depending on the track conditions, the new tire may play a role in the consistency of some teams. I feel confident in my team as we have pretty much stuck with that tire and believe we are heading in the right direction.

"I understand the changes being made to our class by NHRA and the main focus is on safety, however I always feel safe in the racecar and that's a credit to my crew who always do a fantastic job preparing the car."

Crew chief Jon Oberhofer coyly elaborated further on the new 2420 Goodyear tire. "Well, without getting too specific, in the tune-up of the car we start some things a little earlier and finish some things a little later.

"On a good race track, the new tire is definitely better, but on a marginal or hot track, I think the (former) 1430 tire is a little better. It'll take some time to get used to the new tire, and then we'll all get a handle on it even on the not-so-good tracks."

In early 2004, Grubnic was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports. Since joining the Ypsilanti, Michigan-based multi-car nitro team, Grubnic 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 and long overdue 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.

Also, StriVectin-SD team sponsor relations representative, drag racing legend, and three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Shirley Muldowney will be inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Fla., Thursday, March 16.

On behalf of the entire Kalitta Motorsports team, congratulations to Shirley on a well-deserved honor.

The ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals begins Friday, March 17, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (ET). 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.

All times and dates subject to change.

The ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals is the 3rd of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney