Houston: Kalitta eying move up in points

BAYTOWN, Texas, Oct. 26, 2000 - It doesn't take Doug Kalitta long to think about his Top Fuel performances at Houston Raceway Park. "We've had pretty good luck there," he said, briefly summing up his five previous outings. "We are looking for...

BAYTOWN, Texas, Oct. 26, 2000 - It doesn't take Doug Kalitta long to think about his Top Fuel performances at Houston Raceway Park.

"We've had pretty good luck there," he said, briefly summing up his five previous outings. "We are looking for a good run there this weekend. We want to run well at the last three races to finish with a good season."

Also included in his goals is improving his position in the Winston Series standings. Kalitta is fifth with 1269 points. Just ahead is Joe Amato with 1281 while sixth-place Kenny Bernstein is 92 points behind Kalitta.

"We do have an opportunity to move up in the standings, but we could be fourth if things go well, or we could wind up sixth if they don't," Kalitta commented.

There is one thing certain, Kalitta and the MGM Grand team won't have long to contemplate the final events. The Matco Tools SuperNationals, Friday through Sunday at Houston Raceway Park, open a three-races-in-three-weeks schedule to put the closing touches on NHRA's 23-race campaign. Remaining on the docket are the rain-delayed O'Reilly Nationals, Nov. 3-4 at the Texas Motorplex at Ennis and the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 9-12 at Pomona, Calif.

Kalitta, who turned his attention to drag racing in 1998 after successful seasons driving midgets and sprint cars, was a semifinalist here in April, losing to eventual runner-up Tony Schumacher. Previously, he was a quarterfinalist twice in four races.

Kalitta, from Ypsilanti, Mich., already has claimed a spot in the special Big Bud Shootout, scheduled Nov. 11 at Pomona. The event, which Kalitta won in his rookie year, pays $100,000 to the champion. Eight Top Fuel drivers make the Shootout field based on points earned during qualifying at the season's first 22 races. Kalitta is seventh with 2700 points.

Kalitta, vice president and general manager of Kitty Hawk Charters, didn't make one qualifying attempt last weekend at Ennis due to the on-again off-again showers that eventually forced NHRA officials to reschedule the Fall Nationals. He used the down time - and there was plenty of it - to catch up on the work involved with his real job.

"I usually spend the down time at the races working on homework from work," said Kalitta. "It's a nice spot to work on office e-mail I download before I leave for the races. I can clean up a lot of things."

Cleaning up in the last three events would suit him just fine, too.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta