NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta Wins in Chicago; Captures Fourth Event Title in Previous Five NHRA Events JOLIET, Ill., (June 11, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driving the specially painted Mac Card Ride to Remember Sweepstakes/Mac Tools Top...
NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta Wins in Chicago; Captures Fourth Event Title in Previous Five NHRA Events
JOLIET, Ill., (June 11, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driving the specially painted Mac Card Ride to Remember Sweepstakes/Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, won his second consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just south of downtown Chicago.
Kalitta, who won the previous event two weeks ago in Topeka, Kans., dominated the Top Fuel final eliminations ladder en route to his 28th career Top Fuel trophy with four consecutive laps down the quarter-mile over 330 mph. The win in Chicago is Kalitta's fourth win in the previous five NHRA national events and is the best five-race run of his drag racing career, which includes 51 final-round appearnces. He also won back-to-back events in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta. He leads Top Fuel, the NHRA's quickest and fastest racing class, with four wins so far in 2006.
Kalitta defeated Melanie Troxel in the final round of eliminations when her dragster lost traction and then crossed the centerline for an immediate disqualification. Kalitta blazed down the record-setting race track at Route 66 Raceway, 4.503 seconds, 330.23 mph, to seal the victory for his Mac Tools team.
"This is awesome," Kalitta said. "What a great job by Rahn (Tobler, crew chief) and all my Mac Tools guys. We're really on a roll now. It's so tough to win out here now with all the great competition, so we feel really fortunate to be able to have the streak we're having.
"It's great for us to do this with the Mac Card and the Ride to Remember Sweepstakes on board with us a weekend too. Chip Foose (custom car designer and TV personality) and Mac Tools are giving away a custom [Ford] Mustang in Indy (Indianapolis) at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Hopefully we helped them spread the word."
In round one of final eliminations, Kalitta, the No. 2 qualifier (4.496 sec., 326.71 mph), made the only 4.4-sec. lap of the opening stanza and the fastest lap down the quarter-mile of the weekend in an easy win over Joe Hartley, 4.498 sec., 332.18 mph to 5.016 sec., 215.31 mph. Kalitta had a closer race with Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the second round, but held on for the win, 4.507 sec., 331.53 mph to 4.565 sec., 326.71 mph, to reach the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Kalitta faced Cory McClenathan for the chance to go to the money round. Kalitta's Tobler-tuned nitro rocket was no match for McClenathan's entry as Kalitta cruised to the win light, 4.472 sec., 330.47 mph to 5.135 sec., 174.14 mph, and into the finals to race Troxel.
Kalitta remains in 2nd place in POWERade championship points (769), now only 71 points behind Top Fuel leader Troxel. Since the fourth event of the 2006 season in Houston, Kalitta has gained 97 points on Troxel and climbed from 9th to 2nd place.
Kalitta, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He now has 28 NHRA national event wins. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.
Doug's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, qualified for final eliminations in the No. 5 spot (4.507 sec., 315.42 mph). He raced No. 12 qualifier Troxel (4.555 sec., 308.50 mph) in the first round of eliminations. Grubnic's 8,000 horsepower rail lost traction early in the run and that was enough to relinquish the win to Troxel, 5.541 sec., 263.62 mph to 4.524 sec., 327.19 mph. Grubnic remains in 4th place in POWERade championship points (592).
Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 9 position. She was defeated by J.R. Todd in round one.