Gainesville: Doug Kalitta preview

Doug Kalitta looks to defend Top Fuel title in Gainesville Gainesville, Fla., (March 15, 2006) - Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, began the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series in what can only be deemed as a...

Doug Kalitta looks to defend Top Fuel title in Gainesville

Gainesville, Fla., (March 15, 2006) - Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, began the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series in what can only be deemed as a miserable fashion by losing in the opening round of final eliminations at both of the first two national events. The Mac Tools team turned around their '05 season at the third event in Gainesville, Fla., by winning the famed Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, their first of five wins last year. In the five events after the "Gators", Kalitta posted two consecutive wins (Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta) and two runner-ups (Las Vegas, Columbus, Ohio).

This year at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, March 16-19, Kalitta and his team are seeking similar circumstances at one of the NHRA's most popular events. The Mac Tools team has one more round win going into this year's event than they had last season, but so far the '06 campaign has certainly been below the team's expectations, so a repeat of last year's reversal of fortune in Gainesville has Kalitta cautiously optimistic about getting back in the winner's circle.

"Everything changed at the Gators last year," Kalitta said. "We were really down after the first two races and then it all changed.

"We still have one of the best cars out there and after how we turned everything around last year, I'm confident in my guys that we can do the same thing this year. Gainesville is such a cool place to race anyway. The weather is almost always incredible and the fans are awesome. The bleachers are always packed."

Kalitta also won the 2000 running of the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals. He was No. 1 qualifier for the event in 2003.

Kalitta, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004). He has 24 NHRA national event victories. He also holds the time slip for the quickest run in NHRA history, 4.420 sec., Chicago 1 - 2004. In 1998, Kalitta was the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for NHRA rookie excellence, and he's a former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994).

Also, drag racing legend and three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Shirley Muldowney, the wife of Kalitta's crew chief Rahn Tobler, 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 Doug Kalitta