Grubnic qualifies No. 1 in Gainesville; Kalitta Motorsports teammates Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta qualify No. 2 and No. 9 respectively Gainesville, Fla., Mar. 19, 2005 -- In front of a huge crowd in Gainesville, Fla., Kalitta Motorsports' ...
Grubnic qualifies No. 1 in Gainesville; Kalitta Motorsports teammates
Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta qualify No. 2 and No. 9 respectively
Gainesville, Fla., Mar. 19, 2005 -- In front of a huge crowd in Gainesville, Fla., Kalitta Motorsports' "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, 42, rocketed his Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster to the top of the qualifying ladder at the Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals to earn his first No. 1 qualifier of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, the seventh No. 1 qualifier of his career. Grubnic's best qualifying lap down the quarter-mile at famed Gainesville Raceway was 4.481 seconds at 331.85 mph. The elapsed time is a new Gainesville Raceway record for Top Fuel. Grubnic was low qualifier for last season's Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals as well.
"What a great effort from my Zantrex-3 team and our entire Kalitta Motorsports team," native Australian Grubnic said. "It's always a thrill to qualify No. 1. Hopefully we'll take our momentum into eliminations and go some rounds. We've made the semifinals in the first two races this season, so we're looking to keep that streak going and maybe get a little further."
Grubnic, the 2004 Budweiser Shootout special event winner, is currently in fourth place in Top Fuel championship points. He will race No. 16 qualifier Bruce Litton in the first round of Sunday's 16-car final eliminations. Grubnic will be vying for the first national event win of his 11-year career.
Doug Kalitta, 40, driver of the Mac Tools/West Coast Customs Top Fueler, qualified No. 2 for his sponsor's event. He drove his special, one-off painted West Coast Customs rail to a best qualifying effort of 4.488 sec. at 325.14 mph. He will face No. 15 qualifier Doug Herbert in the opening round of eliminations. Kalitta, and eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994), will be attempting to win the 20th NHRA national event of his career. He won the Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals in 2000. He is currently ninth in championship points and holds the time slip for the quickest run in NHRA history (4.420 sec., Chicago 1, 2004).
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fueler, qualified No. 9 (4.577 sec., 313.58 mph) for the Gainesville event. He will race No. 8 qualifier Clay Millican in round one. Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, is currently second in championship points. He has 16 (15 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories to his credit.
The Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals is the third of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Sunday's final eliminations begin with the Top Fuel class at 11:00 a.m.