Doug Kalitta wins Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals; Kalitta teammates Dave Grubnic and Scott Kalitta take early exits Gainesville, Fla., Mar. 20, 2005 -- In front of a record-breaking crowd in Gainesville, Fla., Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta,...
Doug Kalitta wins Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals; Kalitta teammates Dave Grubnic and Scott Kalitta take early exits
Gainesville, Fla., Mar. 20, 2005 -- In front of a record-breaking crowd in Gainesville, Fla., Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta, driver of the specially painted Mac Tools/West Coast Customs Top Fuel dragster won the Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway Sunday. The win for Kalitta, 40, is the 20th NHRA national event win for the eight-year drag racing veteran. It is his first victory of 2005.
The crew from West Coast Customs (MTV's Pimp My Ride) was on hand to witness the victory for Kalitta in the wildly decorated one-off paint scheme. He defeated the tool rival dragster driven by Doug Herbert (Snap-On), who red lit, in the first round. In the second round, Kalitta won his race against Andrew Cowin. In the semifinals, Doug put Cory McClenathan on the trailer.
The final round for Doug, who qualified No. 2 for the event, was a pedaling contest with Larry Dixon. When the smoke cleared, Doug crossed the finish line first with a 5.182-sec., 296.24-mph lap ahead of Dixon's 5.925-sec., 169.81-mph effort.
"This win will be one I'll remember for a long time," Kalitta, who had not won an elimination round thus far in 2005 until today, said. "We were struggling. Once we got the monkey off our back and won the first round today, we just carried that momentum, and a little luck, through the rest of eliminations.
"To get the win here in Gainesville at our sponsor's event makes this win even more special. I can't think of any better way to break a slump."
The win for Doug is the second national event win of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series for Kalitta Motorsports out of the three events that have been contested. Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta won the opening event of the year in Pomona, Calif., in February.
Doug's teammate "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, the No. 1 qualifier in Gainesville for the second straight year and driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fueler, defeated his opening round opponent Bruce Litton but lost his second round match-up with Clay Millican when the engine in his 7000+ horsepower nitro rail soured.
Grubnic, the 2004 Budweiser Shootout special event winner and native Australian, will have to wait until the next national event in Houston to try for the first national event win of his 11-year career.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fueler, qualified No. 9 for the Gainesville event. He lost his first round race with Clay Millican by way of a disappointing holeshot (4.567 sec., 319.94 mph to 4.651 sec., 313.58 mph).
The Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals was the third of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.