David slays Goliath; Baca takes out points leader INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4) -- Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel dragster pilot David Baca didn't win the 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals but he did provide the most dramatic moment of the weekend...
David slays Goliath; Baca takes out points leader
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4) -- Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel dragster pilot David Baca didn't win the 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals but he did provide the most dramatic moment of the weekend when he eliminated POWERade points leader Doug Kalitta in the first round by virtue of a .029-second holeshot.
Baca lined up as a decided underdog to the championship-contending Kalitta Motorsports operation but when the green light flashed he delivered a class-leading .042-second reaction time to Kalitta's solid, but slower, .071-second light. Kalitta then came charging as hard as he could and actually posted a quicker and faster 4.517-second, 323.12-mph quarter-mile clocking. But Baca's headstart and competitive 4.542 at 316.52 mph combined to give him the victory by four-thousandths of a second.
"It's our biggest win of the season, without question," Baca said. "And I say that knowing that we raced to the final in Pomona at the start of the year. Dougie has the best car in the class this year. That's why he's No. 1. We've had our shots at him and even outran him a time or two, but he always found a way to beat us. Today we got a measure of redemption and it feels great for this team."
Baca and crew almost missed the cut, waiting until the final session to qualify his Mach 1 Air Services car in the No. 14 position. But racing in the spirit of Bill and Joan Entzminger, the father and mother of Mach 1 CEO Mike Entzminger who both passed away in August, Baca and crew pulled together and made the quickest field ever. Then they took out Kalitta, shocking the drag racing world, before dropping a quarterfinal race against Cory McClenathan.
"This weekend went from 'I'm gonna be sick' to not-too-bad in the span of 12 hours," crew chief Rick Henkelman said. "We stayed within our gameplan and raced to the best of our abilities given the circumstances and I'm very proud of this group.
"Mike Entzminger has become a part of this team. He's such a positive influence when he gets a chance to join us at the races and the guys all love him. Naturally, we were sadden to hear he lost both of his parents in two weeks time and we wore these special crew shirts in remembrance of his folks to remind him that we care. Hopefully, our little bit of success today helps lift his spirits for a few moments during this difficult time."