NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta heads to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indy with a small lead and big expectations Clermont, Ind., (Aug. 29, 2005) - In its most simple terms, this Labor Day weekend's running of the 51st Mac Tools U.S.
NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta heads to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indy with a small lead and big expectations
Clermont, Ind., (Aug. 29, 2005) - In its most simple terms, this Labor Day weekend's running of the 51st Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Clermont, Ind., Aug. 31-Sept. 5, just outside of downtown Indianapolis, is merely the 18th event in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, but to racers, fans and everyone else involved, this weekend is "the" event of the year, as it is every year. It's known as the Big Go and Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship dragster, is going to Indianapolis Raceway Park with the eyes of the racing world upon him.
First of all, it's Doug's sponsor's, Mac Tools, event. The pressure to win any event on the NHRA's 23-national event trail is always greater when the name on your 7,000 horsepower nitro race car matches the name on the marquee and other copious amounts of signage scattered around the quarter-mile race track. Second, it's Indy. It is the race that every drag racer dreams of winning. To win at Indy defines a career because of its legendary history and its unrivaled level of competition in every racing class. Finally, the pressure to succeed in Indianapolis is even greater on Doug this season because he enters the famed event with a very slim four-point lead over second place Tony Schumacher in the battle for the 2005 POWERade championship with only six events remaining.
"Yeah, I feel the pressure for sure this year," Doug said. "I've never won at Indy. We came very close last year, but it wasn't meant to be. Maybe this will be our year.
"It's really hard to describe how big this race is for me and my Mac Tools team. There are so many reasons why we want to do well, but the main thing we all have to do is keep our focus and concentrate on qualifying and then hopefully winning one round at a time.
"At Indy especially, it's so easy to get ahead of yourself and start thinking "what if", but we can't let ourselves do that. We need to forget about the points and go racing. Of course, we want to increase our lead because the championship is our ultimate goal, but if we just go out there and do our jobs, the points will take care of themselves."
Doug was No. 1 qualifier for the Big Go last year (4.544 seconds, 320.51 mph), and he took a runner-up finish in the final round in 2004 to Schumacher. Doug holds the IRP track record for speed at 328.86 mph (2003).
Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 41, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 24 NHRA national event trophies. His wins so far in 2005 were in Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma, Calif., and Brainerd, Minn.
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals begins Friday, Sept. 2, for the Top Fuel class with one qualifying session. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday with two more chances to qualify on Sunday. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Monday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the 18th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.