KALITTA KNOWS THAT HE NEEDS TO DO WELL IN INDIANAPOLIS IN ORDER TO MAKE IT TO THE COUNTDOWN TO 1 INDIANAPOLIS - Mac Tools driver Doug Kalitta knows that he must do well at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals to maintain his position in the Top 10 of...
KALITTA KNOWS THAT HE NEEDS TO DO WELL IN INDIANAPOLIS IN ORDER TO MAKE IT TO THE COUNTDOWN TO 1
INDIANAPOLIS - Mac Tools driver Doug Kalitta knows that he must do well at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals to maintain his position in the Top 10 of the Countdown to the Championship. A win at his sponsor's race would be the icing on the cake.
Kalitta was on a high two years ago when he nearly won the POWERade Series world championship only to lose it to Tony Schumacher on the final run of the season. In 2007, Kalitta had a difficult season but 2008 seems to be a turnaround year. He is 10th in the points and looking to move on to the Countdown to 1.
"The determination by our crew, Jon Oberhofer, Nicky Boninfante, and our entire Kalitta Motorsports team to get our Mac Tools dragster running well this season is relentless," said Kalitta. "There are a lot of things riding on running our best in Indy...staying in the top 10, representing our sponsor the best we can at their race, and just the fact that it's Indy. It's the biggest race of the year and the Wally that drivers want on their mantle."
While Kalitta could be spotting Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher a nearly 110-point lead, he feels that this is not a mountain he can't climb.
"You can't discount everything that Alan Johnson has done with the U.S. Army dragster. They've had a remarkable year, but with the Countdown to 1 in place, it could be anyone's game," said Kalitta.
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the 18th of 24 events in the POWERade Drag Racing Series and the final event for drivers to earn their way into the NHRA playoffs, the Countdown to 1. It will be held from Aug. 27 to Labor Day, Sept. 1. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise more than 10 hours of racing.
Defending event winner and U.S. Army dragster driver Tony Schumacher has had his number one position in the Top Fuel category clinched since the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., but he knows that there are many other drivers looking for a win at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
Coming into the race Schumacher has 10 wins in 2008. He has won five of those races consecutively beginning in Denver. Both of these marks tie Top Fuel season records held by Schumacher. He is also only one win shy of tying Joe Amato's record of 52 Top Fuel wins.
In addition to doing well this season, Schumacher is looking for his third consecutive and seventh win in Indianapolis. The next closest person in wins at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis is U.S. Smokeless Tobacco driver, Larry Dixon, with three wins. His last win came in 2005.
With one race left in the regular season before the playoffs there are still some drivers that need to perform well to either stay in the Top 10 or to make their move into the Top 10. One driver whose fate rests in his own hands is Morgan Lucas, the driver of the Lucas Oil dragster. He is currently six points behind Kalitta, and 10 points behind the ninth place driver of the DHL dragster, Dave Grubnic.
Antron Brown, who drove a Pro Stock Motorcycle for the past 10 years, made the switch to Top Fuel this year and he has been hot. In the first part of the season he was the No. 1 qualifier at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals and earned wins in Houston and Atlanta.
Hillary Will, driver of the KB Racing dragster and one of three women to win this season, is quietly lurking in seventh place. She earned her first career win this season in Topeka, Kan. Will now has the weight lifted off her of getting that first win, but winning the championship would be a crowning moment.
SCHEDULE: The first of five pro qualifying sessions is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29. Qualifying continues at Noon and 5:05 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30 and concludes at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31. Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle eliminations are at 1:15 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30. U.S. Smokeless Showdown eliminations are at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 1.
TICKETS: Tickets are available for the 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) for ticket information, or check online at ticketmaster.com, nhra.com and oreillyracewaypark.com.
ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise more than 10 hours of coverage of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals beginning with a one-hour qualifying show on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 12:30 a.m. (ET). A two-hour and 30 minute qualifying show will be telecast by ESPN2HD at 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Aug. 31, along with a two-hour qualifying show at 5 p.m. (ET). On Monday, Sept. 1, ESPN2 will telecast two shows, with two hours of early eliminations coverage at noon (ET) followed by a three-hour final eliminations show starting at 7 p.m. (ET). NHRA Race Day, ESPN2's popular pre-race show, will feature one show live from ORP during the event at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Aug. 31.